Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Of All Things, Don't Stress Over Yoga

By now you're probably back in the swing of things and are readjusting after the season's holidays.  Returning to work and your daily responsibilities may have you losing wind on your new year's resolutions.

I know that I am personally losing gusto on my list of things to accomplish for 2011 and it's only the second week of the new year.  The important thing is to not let goals in achieving a healthy lifestyle add more stress to your day.

Trying to squeeze in an hour work out six days a week, especially if you work full time and have to maintain a house hold, may leave you frustrated and eventually lead to abandoning your goals to a better you.  Take a little time this week to reevaluate and refine your goals.  When we are trying to gain a healthier lifestyle it is important to focus less on the end result and more on building new healthier habits.

5 Tips I Use to Achieve Goals:

  1. Think small: Take baby steps, for example, instead of thinking I want to lose 10 pounds in one monthsay "I am going to lose 2-3 pounds a week."  These small goals are more manageable and are met more quickly.  You will find that by reaching these small goals you will become more confident in your progress, and that the bigger picture is achieved with little to no thought.  Just by changing the semantics of virtually the same goal tricks our subconscious mind into being more open and accepting of change.  In developing our balanced self it is important that we build a strong foundation that will hold us and our new habits up for many years to come.
  2. Forgive Yourself: So you missed a day of your new work out routine, or cheated on your diet, breath, it's going to be okay.  When we regress into our old habits we often throw our hands up, and say I guess I failed.  This is not true old habits die hard.  Take a breather accept that all good things take time and jump back on the horse tomorrow.  Do not allow yourself to accept failure and start back from square one, after all, this is how our brain trains itself.  Think of when you learned to walk every time you fell down you didn't just stay down and accept defeat you took a deep breath and started over again, and surprisingly one day you could walk with ease.  This is exactly what we should expect when we are working towards our goals.  It's acceptable even expected to fall into old patterns as long as you pick yourself up, and try again.
  3. Reward your achievements the right way:Like many of us, I catch myself thinking: "I did so good on my diet (vitamin regimen, cardio routine, etc. etc.) I deserve some chocolate (pizza, a day off, soda, etc. etc.)"  I indulge in my "reward" and the next thing I know all my hard work has been in vain.  Once again look at your early years of development, rewards were given to us when we did something good.  As adults we still associate "I did good" with "candy, greasy food, or whatever your vise is."  Rewards are very important in our success, but skip the chocolate and treat yourself to a student massage (an inexpensive luxery), new bubble bath scent, new exercise outfit, anything that gets you excited about your new healthy lifestyle.
  4. Step up: This one is a lot like step number one, but it's worth the #4 slot anyways. Don't just jump into your new routine.  Work your way toward your goal.  Let me rephrase, ease yourself into your routine to help reach your goal.  If you want to exercise more: do not throw yourself into a daily hour long routine, once again this only leads to stress.  Instead do start with 15 minutes a day, and there is a lot you can do in 15 minutes; jog on your lunch break, do crunches in the morning.  The next week try doing 15 minutes 3 days a week and 30 minutes the other 3 days.  Keep working up the steps till you reach you desired length of time.  Same with dieting, for example, week one cut out unhealthy snacks and replace with a healthy one, week two replace a fast food dinner with something more balanced, and so on and so forth.
  5. Stay positive: I always tell my friends, "Self deprecation is not sexy." Learn to let go of all the things you aren't doing right or good enough, and celebrate all your achievements no matter how small they may be.  Remember our goals are to be healthier, and that includes a healthier self confidence, and body image.

I know that making changes, especially when it's for better health, is challenging, but I also know that all of us can be successful with these small reminders and of course a desire to live well.  Let me know how you do on your journey to wellness, and feel free to add any tips you may have to being successful.

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