Make Resolutions All Year Long
New Year's Eve gets all the attention when people are looking to make changes in their life. Big pronouncements are made and for a short time, people seem to actually care about their health. But as the weeks and months go by, we tend to forget about those promises we made to ourselves and slip back into old habits. For many people, that chance to improve won't return for another year.
That's why I'm proposing something different. I call it, “Seasonal Resolutions.” At the beginning of every season, you put together a new list of resolutions. That gives you a chance to look at what you've achieved over the previous three months, and decide what might work best for the next three.
The meteorological seasons are broken down like this.
- Spring is March, April and May.
- Summer is June, July and August.
- Autumn (Fall) is September, October and November.
- Winter is December, January and February.
Start by setting up regular reminders on your phone, computer or calendar. On the first day of each season, you're going to review and make resolutions. Set it up for the first of the month, regardless of what day it falls on. Then set a second reminder, once a week, to look at and remind yourself of those resolutions. By repeatedly looking at the promises you made to yourself, you're more likely to keep working to achieve them.
To help you get started, here are some of the resolutions I'd like many of my clients to make.
“For five nights a week, I'm going to make sure at least three-fourths of my dinner plate is covered in vegetables.” By making this simple visual promise, you achieve several things. You don't have to stop eating meat, just replace a few of the extra calories with vegetables your body craves. You don't have to weigh or calculate anything, just fill up a plate. You're not depriving yourself of anything, your plate is still full. Finally, the reason I say only five nights a week, is to give yourself a couple cheat nights when you might want to indulge a little.
“I'm going to engage in at least two thirty-minute sessions of intense exercise a week.” You might already be working out, but many people don't push themselves that hard. If you exercise enough right now, this resolution just commits you to making two of those thirty-minute sessions intense. If you don't workout, this commitment is to make sure the times you do exercise, you're getting the most benefit from it. It's up to you to decide if the exercise you want to engage in is cardio or weight training.
“I'm going to spend at least 30 minutes cooking something in the kitchen, twice a week.” One of the simplest things we can do for better health is to cook more. Highly processed foods may be convenient, but they tend to be higher in calories, fat, salt and sugar. You don't have to be a chef, or even really know anything about cooking. Just check out the recipes on our website at WeCookFit.com. Read through the recipe first so you know if you have the kitchen utensils and ingredients you need. Then start exploring. Home-cooked meals tend to have half the calories that take-out meals have, and they cost less too.
“I'm signing up for a physical event, race or run.” Give yourself at least eight weeks to prep for a 5K run/walk. Four months for anything longer. The anticipation is half the fun, and few things are more motivating to exercise than watching a race deadline approach. After the race there's the excitement and pride when you finish, taking home a t-shirt or medal to remember your accomplishment.
For anyone in Key West, there are a lot of 5K runs and walks listed on ThemeRuns.com. You can search nationally by city, state or event type at RunSignup.com. Don't wait, start making your seasonal resolutions right now.
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CAUTION: Check with your doctor before
beginning any diet or exercise program.