Resolutions are not the Solution
Here we go. The month of creating a long to-do list is just around the bend. In the first few weeks of January up to the start of the second quarter of the year, gyms will be packed not only by its regular members but mostly by the so-called New Year’s Resolutioners. This is a very common sight in the gyms when everyone’s guilt-tripping for bingeing during the Holidays as well as preparing to have 6-pack abs to show off at the beach in Summer.
Yes, you’ve got the enthusiastic intention of fulfilling every single item on your list but it usually ends where the short-term results begin. Usually, once you see the results you like, you’d rejoice, head over to the beach, and forget about your resolutions until the next New Year. This makes your resolutions merely short-term solutions.
As a fitness professional, I get excited when more prospects approach me at the beginning of the year. That means more business for me. However, as a Personal Trainer, it disappoints me that most everyone’s New Year’s Resolution lists consist of short-term goals such as ‘lose weight for summer’, ‘get washboard abs by summer’, ‘burn calories gained during the Christmas break’, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. When you’re an advocate of healthy living like me, you will find yourself lecturing (nagging, sometimes) everyone just so they understand the importance of always having long-term solutions to their health and fitness challenges.
So, why don’t you make long-term solutions instead? Understandably, no one really likes going the long-term route because it becomes too difficult to track. What to do? Find Solutions that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-bound.
Here is an example of how to convert goals into SMART Solutions:
Don’t simply say “I want to lose weight”
SPECIFIC “I want to lose 15 pounds by hiring a Personal Trainer and going to the gym at least 3x a week”
MEASURABLE “I want to lose 15 pounds to fit in my size 10 clothes by hiring a Personal Trainer and going to the gym at least 3x a week”
ATTAINABLE “I want to lose 15 pounds in 2 months to fit in my size 10 Clothes by hiring a Personal Trainer and going to the gym at least 3x a week”
REALISTIC “I want to lose 15 pounds in 2 months by losing 2 pounds a week, so that I can fit in my size 10 clothes by hiring a Personal Trainer and going to the gym at least 3x a week”
TIME-BOUND “I want to lose 15 pounds in 2 months by losing 2 pounds a week, so that I can fit in my size 10 clothes by summer. I can achieve this by hiring a Personal Trainer and going to the gym at least 3x a week”
Yes, having just SMART solutions might not cut it still. Any solution you think of must also have an effect on your future for it to solve your predicaments. Using the example above, you can think of how losing weight and maintaining it can have a positive effect on your health in the long run. If you suffer from Hypertension, you can instead say, “I want to lose 15 pounds in 2 months by losing 2 pounds a week. I will maintain that weight so that I will manage my Hypertension. I can achieve this by hiring a Personal Trainer, going to the gym at least 3x a week, and visiting my Physician for regular check-ups.”
Again, when planning your SMART solutions, remember to have Specific actions in mind to help you with your objectives. How do you get to that solution? What specific activities should you do to fit back into your skinny jeans? What do you eat to help reverse your Hypertension? Here are 5 tips I usually give to anyone who would seek my advice on how to stay healthy and fit all year round:
1. Sign up for Gym Membership
Find a gym near your office building or near your house. There are a thousand (or more) gyms with different training programs or classes to choose from. It is said that exercising regularly for 4 to 5 weeks makes you develop the habit. (Source)
2. Hire a Personal Fitness Trainer
If you can afford it, why not? It’s important to have someone guide you through your fitness goals (especially at the start), and bug you about not missing any workout sessions. Work with your Fitness Trainer until working out becomes a habit.
3. Eat more vegetables
Yes, yes, you hate broccoli. But you will have to learn to love them if only for its health benefits (vitamins A, B1, B6, C, K, & E). Vegetables are excellent sources of dietary fiber, which aids in maintaining a healthy weight and helps lower bad cholesterol levels.
4. Drink more water
Drown yourself in clear, natural water so that your thirst is quenched before you can even crave for sugary drinks. If you notice, every time you get thirsty you look for an ice-cold bottle of soda or juice drink. Then you end up drinking more than what your body needs. Sugary drinks = countless calories.
Bring a water bottle with you anywhere you go. There is always a water fountain or dispenser in the office or canteen or food court. Refill, refill, refill. Never run on empty, or risk collecting empty sugar calories.
5. Don’t deprive yourself
Watch what you eat but not to the point of depriving yourself. Some clients ask me if they can have their cheat day on the weekend. I’d say yes but it’s just one cheat meal and not all meals in one day. Again, don’t deprive yourself but don’t overeat as well. That cheat day can pack you around 2,500 to 4,000 calories if you’re not careful.
I’d always suggest to schedule the cheat meal at lunchtime so that there’s the whole day ahead to burn whatever was devoured during the meal.
At the end of the day, you are answerable only to yourself –your health, your body, your mind. Before planning that list for New Year 2017, remember that your solutions are not only meant for showing off at the beach. Keep in mind that you are doing everything for a longer, healthier, more fulfilling life.
Happy New Year! And Cheers to a New You!