As another year passes, we can all reflect in different ways on how far we have come and where we are going in life. Sure we celebrate and have fun with our family and friends, but we also tend to come up with New Year’s Resolutions to change for the better. Many times these resolutions have to do with being healthier by eating better or exercising regularly. Whatever your New Year’s Resolution may be, by now you may have already come to one of the challenges that most of us are faced with about a month or so into the New Year. We seem to have high hopes of success in our resolution to change and we may even make it to the gym, but somehow we get too busy or overwhelmed to continue what we have started. And sometimes more often than not, we have not even started toward our goals.
I think one of the main reasons why many of us fail to keep our resolutions is that we have a tendency to take on more than we can handle and go for too much, too quickly. We are often quite ambitious with our New Year’s Resolution, “I’m going to workout 5 days a week for 1 hour and it is going to be great!” But after the first or second time we may get overly tired or sore and then decide to put off the workout until tomorrow. But again tomorrow comes and we find another excuse and before you know it we are sitting there feeling bad for ourselves for not doing what we set out to do. Even worse, this can lead to coping with our defeat by engaging in unhealthy habits such as emotional eating.
One solution I offer my patients and share with you during these first few challenging months of the New Year is to START LOW AND MOVE UP SLOW. With any lifestyle change, we should take small steps toward our goal to achieve small victories that will eventually snowball into complete success!
One simple way to look at this is to just START!
S TART IT
Start somewhere, start anywhere, but start low and go up slow. Rome was not built in a day and no can achieve success without starting from the lessons of failure in life. Remember nothing is too small to start, if you do not exercise, simply start by walking for 10 minutes one time and you will already be better off than you were 10 minutes ago.
T IME BOUND IT
Set the time for when and where you will start your path to a new life, be specific, e.g. “I am going to walk for 10 minutes at 4pm today”
A CHIEVE IT
Make it happen! Take the first step toward a better, healthier you, once you accomplish this goal, however small and insignificant it may seem, you will feel success and this will empower you to take the next step.
R EPEAT IT
Do it again! Reinforce your initial success and grow stronger as you realize you can change for the better and feel better.
T RY HARDER
Try adding another level, going the next step, and keep trying, sometimes that’s all you will have to do. Remember even if you are 1 % better every day you will be 360% better in a year! So keep going up slowly and try harder, no one has optimal health over night. It is a constant interplay and balancing act, we all have to stay flexible and keep moving forward, the best is ever the enemy of the good and no one can be perfect, so remember little by little day by day…
I hope this helps us all to START that first step closer to where we want to be as we strive to keep those New Year’s Resolutions! Remember to always consult with your physician or health care provider before starting any new therapy or exercise program or lifestyle change.
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