New Year’s Resolutions are fairly black and white for most people; you either believe in them, or you don’t. As with many things, I’m happier in the gray area.
There is a reason commercial gyms are swamped in January and cleared out for the regulars by mid-February at the latest. Hopefully there are a few new regulars in the pack, but they are the lovely exception. For too many, fitness resolutions lie in to the band aid category.
After weeks of holiday over-indulging, now is the time we resolve to “hit the gym” and “eat healthy.” Neither of those statements are sustainable goals likely to shape someone’s life for the better.
If you have made a snap resolution, it can provide a check-in on your emotional health. Spend some additional time thinking about why that particular resolution came up and you’ll likely find yourself in one of two categories: good lifestyle changes or band aids.
When you spend time thinking about your priorities and goals, resolutions can be a way to implement important changes to your life and lifestyle. These are the type of resolutions most likely to help you improve your well being over the long run.
The resolution is just a band aid if you have no intention of thinking through your real needs, goals and setting appropriate steps to implement them. Those ungrounded resolutions may be a temporary emotional salve, but will eventually leave you with a new reason to feel beaten when you inevitably fail. You would be better off to start writing a journal or seeing a counselor and begin clearing out your heart and head.
While an astrophysicist may know otherwise, I don’t believe anything good happens in a vacuum. If you are joining a gym because your pants don’t fit, but you haven’t really thought about your budget, your childcare, or set realistic expectations about your current fitness levels and how (and how slowly) to implement them, means you will be one of those counted in the missing come February. The regulars will be glad you are gone.
So how do you make a resolution that will help you make a real lifestyle change? Mindfulness. Be realistic about your priorities in life; what comes first? If your career, then family, then volunteer work all come before health and fitness, you are better off focusing your effort on nutrition and everyday movement rather than embarking on a big workout goal.
If you realize you have reached a point where you can’t take care of your family, you are missing too much work and aren’t enjoying your life, then NOW is the time to seriously consider the steps to begin taking care of yourself. That may be a counselor or therapist, making nutrition changes and finding a GOOD trainer who understands you, your goals and your needs.
Priorities set goals, not vice versa and a thoughtful resolution can support each of them. Thinking first about how you really live and the things that are important to you now, will help you implement the right changes to find a happier you.