So long January – hello the rest of 2017.
So, how was it? January is now behind you, did you stick to your New Year resolutions?
Resolutions or goals are a good idea. Cutting down on the non-essentials in your life and focusing on a limited number of challenges or goals is a proven method to increase your success rate. But, did you bite off more than you could chew? Was your resolution too difficult or restrictive?
Resolutions like “Live a healthy life”, “Lose 50lb” and “Join a gym” have good intentions but need more work in terms of implementation, measurement and phases.
It is popular in the UK to embark on a “Dry January” (no alcohol during January) – but why? Is it to start a lifetime of no alcohol? unlikely. More likely a break for a month to prove that you can do it. It is a worthy goal to measure your commitment and determination. Maybe for the next 11 months you’ll be more selective with your choices – great and your overall weekly alcohol consumption is reduced from the previous year.
I successfully had a “Dry January” this year . I did it for a variety of reasons – to give myself a break after the over indulgences of the festive season, to show that I could do it but mainly to help me understand my clients better. It is easy as a personal trainer and coach to set goals and regimes for my clients, but not all clients are the same. I have a lifelong love of physical exercise and sport. Some say that I have an iron resolve and dedication by the truck load but it would be a mistake to assume that all people have the same drives and desires.
For me, attempting a “Dry January” reinforces some balance. If I asked a client to never eat cake it wouldn’t be fair or productive. If I asked a client to perform weights twice per week, cardio twice a week, walk every day and work on their mobility daily – I’d be setting them up for failure – life gets in the way, knowing how to handle these life hurdles is useful in maintain a balanced life.
A realistic approach –
My advice with these lifestyle type of resolutions is to break them down into realistic changes which can be implemented slowly over time as you adapt. Layer them up over the months as these changes become habits.
“Get fit” is a broad goal with many dimensions and it would be easy to get carried away and embark on a change in eating habits, start running, joining a gym and starting exercise classes. All good things but in my view too much of a radical change and unlikely to be achievable and maintainable.
A better way – start with one element of nutrition and one of exercise. I’d recommend reducing the amount of refined carbohydrates and increase daily movement with 2 x 20 minute walks each day. These 2 things alone can have great benefits if you’re starting from a low base. Give yourself time to adapt, try new recipes, alter your lunchtime eating routine (start having a packed lunch), change your shopping habits etc. Allow those changes to become habits for a month and then reassess.
Next you may choose to add in a once weekly whole body resistance class – great; start going, learn the moves, start making progress – do it for 6 weeks. You like it so much and you are starting to see and feel a difference in your body – then make it 3 times a fortnight, then after 3 months twice per week. I hope you get the picture.
As a personal trainer and coach with nutritional qualifications I can help you. I want to understand what is important to you – ensuring that the health related benefits of nutrition and exercise are at the foundation of your goals before embarking on any other sporting or aesthetic goals.