Monday, November 23, 2015

Reinvented Resolution: How to Bring Real Change in the New Year

Thanksgiving, even Halloween, marks the start of the holiday marathon. Each mile along the way, we attend holiday parties, indulge in sweet treats, devour delicious foods and sip on tasty drinks. With each indulgence through the Christmas season, a promise is made to jumpstart the new year with a New Year's Resolution to eat less, eat healthily and most of all, get in shape. By Jan. 1, we cross the finish line, ready to kick this resolution into high

And that's great! It's fun to make a New Year's resolution and there's no better time than at the start of the year to make a healthy change. Yet, resolutions have a reputation for dissipating — only to disappear and re-emerge in 10 months. Sound familiar? If you want to begin a fitness renovation, here are tips to help ensure its permanence.

The Gym Isn't Your Resolution One Day at a Time

Empower your resolution by resolving to practice commitment and accountability, rather than "going to the gym six days a week." Your goal is to stay committed to an idea and hold yourself accountable. It's easy to excuse yourself from your gym responsibilities because of work stress, family obligations or lack of time. But can you accept that you dropped the ball on personal commitment and accountability? These are your New Year's resolutions — to live with commitment and hold yourself responsible. Embrace and follow through with these positive qualities. Your health and fitness will only improve as a side effect.

Track your feelings

Change is a struggle. It's natural to default to old habits, feel uncomfortable and want to give up. Don't expect a change to be fluid progress. There will be moments of defeat and feelings of discouragement that could lead you to want to abandon it all. Take it one day at a time. You may actually have to "start over" every single day. You may have a good week and then a bad two weeks. Your third week is a fresh start to begin again. The goal is the journey itself because living a healthy and active lifestyle is supposed to be never-ending.
Many experts recommend keeping a food journal as a way to track what and how much you're eating. Rather than using guilt and shame as a way to eat better, keep track about how eating better or working out makes you feel. You can do this with a journal, by noting a thumbs up or smiley face (or frown...) on your calendar, posting on facebook, or even by giving yourself a gold star for each time you do something for your health that leaves you feeling good. Find a way to keep track that fits with your personality. 

Exercise and increasing your heart rate releases endorphins that in the long run, after you get used to your routine, leaves you feeling good. Regularly working out also boosts serotonin levels, which can energize and create clearer thinking. Although you may feel great after a workout on day, you may forget about that high during work the next day when you're tired and feeling stressed.  By keeping track, you can remind yourself of the positive end result. Why wouldn't you want to feel that way again? The sweat and burn of an intense cycle class in the morning begins the day with an endorphin high. Completing a three-mile run after work leaves you proud with accomplishment. Keep track of your feelings after you exercise and use your data on you as inspiration for doing it again.
Fitness doesn't have to be an arduous, lonely task that's just part of your daily grind.  One of the most beneficial ways to work out is to take a 20 - 40 minute walk every day. Walking is something you can do at most any age.

Social Exercise

Another way to enhance your exercise routine by turning it into an event to experience
with your family or friends. For example, the idea of running 13.1 miles may not sound like a vacation. But what if you signed up to complete a half marathon in a beach town or city you've always wanted to visit? The challenge becomes more fun and something to look forward to. Invite your friends and family to be a part of your exercise, or they can support you along the way and join you at the finish line to celebrate.
-- Guest post by Social Monsters