The Acupuncture Turning Point collaborates with Nicole and Len, owners of Breathe Fitness, to help our clients be at their best.
by Nicole Lark BHK, PTS, TSCC-3
It seems inevitable that the week between Christmas and New Year’s people start asking me the all too familiar question: “have you made your New Year’s Resolution yet?”
The Globe and Mail had over 1500 readers respond to a personal online survey regarding the past year and what they were predicting for 2014.
– 24% of the respondents listed ‘improving cardio’
– 41% answered ‘shedding pounds’ for their biggest health concern
– 60% felt ‘improving fitness & losing weight’ would be the resolution they will most likely stick to in the upcoming year.
Somehow the holidays often get to the best of us where any form of physical activity goes to the wayside and gluttony and indulgence is all too prevalent. It only seems natural that we are then motivated toward the best intentions of making positive resolutions geared toward being healthier and improving our overall health come January 01st, whether it be through exercise, a more conscientious diet, or maybe a combination of both.
To be honest, I used to dislike all of the New Year’s resolutions where people planned to get fit and active for the upcoming year. As a consistent public gym user, I would get annoyed with the gym being crowded and not having the equipment readily available to me. But, as January progressed the numbers would start to dwindle and by the middle of February I was glad to see the gym was returning back to ‘normal’ with only the ‘regulars’ in attendance. In January, we often have good intentions but due to a myriad of factors such as work, school, or children we often have a hard time changing our day-to-day behaviour to form healthier habits on a long-term basis.
Nowadays as someone in the business of helping other’s find their way to improving their health, I am more forgiving with New Year’s Resolutions. In our sedentary world, I encourage people to become more active in any way they can. I think it is better to see people try and fail than to not try at all. Similar to quitting smoking, it may take multiple attempts before regular physical activity becomes a regular part of a person’s daily routine.
Even though we are already two weeks into January, it is not too late to start! (I always think January 01st is an arbitrary date – why did we not pick winter solstice as the New Year, or the first day of spring?). Here are a few tips if you want to build more activity into your daily routine:
1) Follow the SMART acronym to design your goal.
Specific – target a specific area for improvement
Measurable –quantify or at least suggest an indictor of progress.
Action-Oriented – specify who will do it.
Realistic – state which results can be realistically be achieved, given available resources.
Time-based – specify when the result can be achieved.
1) Define your goals clearly! You will be more apt to set yourself up for failure if you do not state what you are specifically aiming to achieve. Rather than saying, “I want to be more active”narrow in on exactly what you really want in a way that is measurable. “I want to become more active by walking at least 30 minutes a day, 5 days per week”, for instance, is a statement that clearly defines the type of activity, the duration, the intensity and the volume of work. Here it is easy to measure whether or not you have achieved your goal on a weekly basis.
2) Create short-term objective goals. It is helpful to have short-term goals that will allow you to track your progress, keep you focused, and to have small successes to keep you motivated as you work toward you medium and long-term goals. You may need to change your goals from time to time based on your ability to achieve them or your capacity to improve.
3) View activity and healthy living as a life-long pursuit – rather than having a static goal such as losing a specific amount of body fat, for instance, focus instead on the implementation and maintenance of lifestyle and activity changes. As these changes will remain in flux and never be ‘completed’ at a particular moment, they will remain fresh and relevant as they are sustained and modified on an on-going basis. Also, there may be times when we cannot be as active or as healthy as we wish; however, do not use one ‘bad week’ as an excuse to continue unhealthy behaviour. Instead, learn to recognize these short-term setbacks for what they are and immediately come back strong with a healthier approach.
I received a text message from a client on Friday saying how she might start her New Year’s Resolution of going back to the gym after the weekend and I sent back asking her “Why not start today?”