In the New Year, many people start out with a bang and it explodes after 2 weeks! It’s better to start out with baby steps and things that are manageable, reasonable and sustainable. There’s no way you can completely change your lifestyle overnight, nor is it any fun. I tell my clients to lose their “all or nothing” mentality, think positively, set specific goals, think short term to achieve long term, and reward yourself along the way.
You don’t have to spend hours at the gym you don’t have to starve yourself. The goal is to start adding positive habits and reinforcements along the way. Always state the positive; “I will incorporate more fruits and vegetables in to my diet in 2014” instead of “I’m never eating candy again.” Chances are the more fruits and veggies you eat, the less room for junk food. “I love the way my body feels when I move more” as opposed to “I hate my fat thighs, I have to workout more”. Positive thinking will go along way in reaching and keeping your goals. If you realize it’s about incorporating small healthy steps, then you won’t have the tendency to swing to one extreme or the other.
Set goals that are super specific. When you make a grocery list for dinner, you have set items on your list. You don’t just say, “I’m going grocery shopping”. You make a list: I need to get tomato sauce, garlic, whole wheat pasta, broccoli rabe, olive oil and fresh turkey meatballs. If you set a goal it has to be that specific. I’m going to do 10 push ups on Monday first thing in the morning at 645am when my alarm goes off before my shower. I’m going to meet my friend Beth for a walk on Wednesday at 12 during my lunch break. I’m going to do yoga class at 10am at the Y on Sunday. The more clear each plan is, the more likely you will execute it.
Think short term not long term; but also look at the big picture. Short term–I’m going to focus on meditating for five minutes each day at four pm by setting my timer on my IPhone for the month of January. Each month I will increase my meditation time one minute; and by the end of the year, I will be able to sit for sixteen minutes of mediation every day. In five years I will have reduced my stress levels considerably, have better skin to show for it, lower cortisol levels, better sleep, a smarter mind and a calmer disposition.
Reward yourself along the way. Every week or two take account of what you are accomplishing. Post your little victories on Facebook or Twitter. Let your spouse, family or friends know what you’re doing so you have someone to share the good news with and to encourage you to keep going. Schedule a massage, manicure, healthy dinner out, movie or something you enjoy each week.
Always remind yourself you’re setting a lifestyle pattern that will keep you happy and healthy for the rest of your life. If one day you feel like you’ve fallen off the path, it’s only one day in the whole scheme of things. Chances are, the more you incorporate healthy habits, the more likely you are to stick with them. You’ll feel better, have more energy, look better, be happier and you’ll live up to your full potential each and every day.
Kristin McGee is a celebrity yoga and Pilates instructor in New York City. She is the star of over 100 videos, a contributing editor at Health Magazine and a spokeswoman for many brands and causes she believes in. Kristin also appears frequently on television. A proud mom to three, she sure keeps herself busy!
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