Resolve to Ignore the Calendar

31 Dec

A new year is upon us and thousands of people are making their new year’s resolutions. A vast majority of those resolutions focus on losing weight and getting healthy. TV and radio are flooded with ads for fitness equipment and diet programs. The local gyms are going to be insanely crowded for the next three weeks or so. Then, like clockwork, they will empty out dramatically and resume their normal flow. Most people have abandoned their resolutions and life goes on.

I think there’s a lot of pressure put on new years, especially with losing weight and improving fitness. People try to take on too much in too short of time and they are doomed to fail. You see everyone in the gym in their brand new clothes attempting to run at 8 mph and conking out after a few minutes. Discouraged they leave and many don’t come back. You see grocery carts full of foods so healthy that even many of us health freaks haven’t seen them before. The following week you see the same people stocking up on Cheetohs and ice cream.

So I propose this new years, you ignore the calendar. Don’t make a resolution. Don’t go out and buy a whole new workout wardrobe and a grocery cart full of tofu and kale. Don’t mark the calendar and plot out an unrealistic gym schedule. Instead, starting today, put on an old tee shirt, some comfy jeans and a pair of sneakers and head out for a walk. Don’t worry about your pace or timing yourself. Just go for a walk and enjoy it. Try to do it again every other day this week.

When you go to the grocery store, buy what you normally buy, but add a few things that are healthy. Do you normally snack on chips all day at the office? Buy your chips, but instead of snacking on them all day, throw in a few apple breaks instead. Or buy some low-sodium almonds or peanuts to enjoy. Instead of buying the regular ground beef you get, get the 93% lean. Buy chicken breasts instead of thighs. Small changes and still buy the things you love.

Try jotting down what you eat everyday. Don’t worry about recording calories and fat yet. Just take a plain, old notebook and keep track of what you consume. Get in this habit and if you can stick to it for a few weeks, then try moving to an online source like sparkpeople.com, livestrong.com or my-calorie-counter.com and really start to record your calories.

If you’ve kept up these small habits over a month, then try joining a gym. Set a small, but realistic goal for yourself like entering a 5K race, even if you just walk the whole thing. Try to cut your dinner portion by a fourth and then half. Go gradual.

The key to changing your life is to make small changes with easily attainable goals. When reaching these goals, you’ll be happy and motivated to keep going. Change your life because you are ready and want to, not because the calendar says you have to.

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