I personally feel like almost everyone I know makes some sort of resolution. While the studies are not clear about the number of Americans making resolutions, they all agree that as time goes on through out the year you are more likely to forget these resolutions.
Whether is it to get more organized, lower your cholesterol, quit smoking, or to get back down to your “fighting weight,” these simple steps can be applicable to your journey. We all have room to improve on something.
I started the “new me” journey several years ago with a New Year’s resolution… and this time I meant it! When I found myself at almost 240 pounds on a 5-foot-9 inch frame, I knew that if I wanted to continue to be me that something had to change. I needed to change the way I lived from day to day. I am here to say that if I can do it, so can you. Below are my personal tips on reinventing yourself that I used to successfully make a lifestyle change. Am I perfect? No (just ask my wife). But with these simple tips you too can become a better person. My journey was one of being healthier so my comments are based on that, but you can plug in your own personal mission within my tips.
Baseline — Start with a resolution and goal
1. There is nothing wrong with a New Year’s resolution: Make it meaningful and goal oriented. This is about a lifestyle change and that takes time, planning and habit. You are never too old to reinvent yourself. We can all be better, healthier, and stronger to live a little longer and better life. Remember, that it is great to be you! Set a resolution and then set a goal for April. Making your resolution to something that can be measured is important. Maybe it is to run/walk a 5k; maybe it is to run farther or faster; maybe it is lose a pound a week. The only proven way to do that successfully over time is to move more and eat less.
Implementation: The Plan
2. Accountability: Get help when you need it. Personally, I am always committed when I pay for something. With a new gym membership, a new bike, a personal trainer, a registered dietician, or a coach, you have a commitment to stick to it. If money is tight, get a good friend with a
similar goal to help keep you accountable, or a good book that focuses on a smart fitness-oriented plan to keep you accountable. I went it alone the first time and it was really hard to stay focused. Maybe it is a new gadget to help keep you accountable: a Garmin training watch or Nike Plus also work great to showing your progress when it syncs to the computer. You have to start somewhere. You could start a blog to help mark your achievement publically. Who knows? Somebody might be inspired by your journey. (http://www.thetrailjogger.com/ and http://www.weightinvain.com/ )
3. Make it a routine: Don’t stray, but when you do, don’t beat yourself up get back on that horse. We are all busy, but if you schedule something you will probably do it. If
you schedule something in the morning, studies show that you are even more likely to do it. This is about making a smart habit. You making a habitual routine here; thus we set the April goal to give you time to adjust.
4. Allow yourself some time to achieve your goal: We see shows like “The Biggest Loser” and think that radical change can happen overnight. It won’t happen immediately, and that’s okay. Keep moving forward to your goal. It is four months out. This is about forming a new habit and habits aren’t formed overnight.
5. Be positive: You are making a lifestyle change. It will be frustrating at times. You will have a great week and step on the scale to find it has inched up. Find encouragement where you can. You can place quotes where you will see them daily. You can find a power song or anything that keeps you moving forward. Don’t look down or to the past; you are looking forward to that goal and you are determined.
6. Reward yourself at landmarks (but not with pie): You can make it fitness-oriented reward. Buy some new shoes or a new watch or maybe get a coach now. Just something that is not food related. Maybe
it is a nice weekend trip or a sports massage to knock out the kinks in those newly sore muscles. As the clothes begin to look a little baggy, pack them up and donate them to a local charity. You will appreciate the write off at the end of the year and you will have to keep up being the new you because you can’t afford to go back. So maybe it is time to replace that suit.
7. You made it to April: You are awesome! So now what? It is time to set a new one farther out and a little harder. If you failed and you tried your best, mom and dad were right; you have to keep on pushing. Your mind is incredibly powerful. It can work in both directions, positive and negative. We aren’t looking back the old you, and, as my son’s teacher tells him, “We are making good decisions today.” You are stronger than you ever thought that you are. Just pick a new goal 3 or 4 months out. Be smart and work towards the new goal. If you failed and picked it back up, think about what your shortfalls were and work on those for your next goal.
Reflections, pay it forward, and on down the road
8. Be there to help a friend, as hopefully someone was there to help you: Friends that run or exercise together stick together. Know that you might be that inspiration that they need to make a difference in their life.
9. Be proud: You did something incredible. Be proud of what you have accomplished and keep setting new goals. As adversities get in your way (and they will), touch back to that mental toughness you developed and come back stronger. This work is very rewarding over the long haul. It just takes time.
10. Have a bigger goal: little goals can add up to a bigger goal. So you can start small, but know that you will need to keep challenging yourself to make that new you. When I started running I NEVER thought that I would run or want to run a marathon. I thought those people were silly. Not only did I run my first marathon that same year, but I also ran much farther a few years after completing my first 50-mile race. Now I know this is really silly (read: crazy), but it is what I needed to keep challenging myself. It is what I needed to take it to the next level. You know what that level is for you. I can’t set it, but you have the power in you keep you moving forward.
I don’t know you, but let me know what your goal is. Seriously, let’s work on tracking your progress together. Email me your resolution and your goal. I will do what I can to help you get to that next step and hold you accountable. How’s that for making a difference in Mississippi? I am not an expert, but I know plenty of people that are. If I can’t help you, I will plug you in with the people that can help you make a real difference in your life. Let’s work together to make Mississippi the healthier state that we know it can be.
Jeff Seabold is the principal architect at Seabold Architectural Studio in Jackson. The other hat, err, visor he wears is the head coach for the Distance Training Programs at Fleet Feet Sports in Ridgeland. He can be reached at Jeff@seabold-studio.com for more information about these programs or you can check out Fleet Feet’s website at www.fleetfeetjackson.com.