Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Do you have a New Year's Resolution?

This past Sunday, I had the pleasure of attending a charity yoga class instructed by a dear friend and talented yoga therapist in Calgary. At the beginning of the class, she asked us to set an intention and to think about what 2013 will bring. With my upcoming trip to Africa, I immediately settled upon a goal of maintaining my current fitness levels while abroad. I’m not concerned about the numbers on the scale,  but I don’t want to lose my strength and cardiovascular endurance while living in Kenya and Rwanda for the next three months!

There seems to be a love/hate relationship with New Year’s Resolutions, I am by no means against them, I think the biggest issue is that people make the WRONG resolutions. For example, a lot of people set a resolution to simply “lose weight”; they starve themselves for the first week in January, slave away on the Stairmaster and then subsequently give up one week later. By making vague or unrealistic resolutions (i.e. lose five pounds in one week) people are setting themselves up for failure. Instead, think about using these tips when setting New Year’s resolution for yourself

1.     Use the SMART approach- Slightly corny, but extremely effective, the smart principle can help you make a better goal for yourself. Here’s mine
Specific- maintain my current fitness level
Measurable- be able to lift the same amount of weights/run the same distance when I return to Canada in April
Attainable- incorporate plenty of walks, in room strength exercises, and calisthenics into my daily routine
Realistic- If I stick to my routine, maintenance shouldn’t be an issue
Timely- I will check in at three months when I get back
2.     Set both short term and long term goals- let’s say you’re trying to lose that 15 pounds of post-pregnancy weight, set short term goals (i.e. lose 1-2 pounds per week during January) that lead up to one big long term goal (lose all my baby weight). Achieving your short term goals in small increments can help you feel successful and stay on track for your long term goal.
3.     Don’t be a weekend warrior- I hate the first week in January because the gym is hot , crowded and sweaty. I see so many people decked out in brand new lulus and shiny sneakers using terrible form on the weight or cardio machines. If you’re new to working out, consider hiring a personal trainer for a couple of intro session, or beg one of your kinesiology friends to give you an free introduction to safe gym technique and some sample workouts.
4.     Consider a goal that isn’t related to weight- Many people (especially us females) are constantly complaining about their weight. Instead of making a goal about weight loss, consider setting a different health related goal such as: eating more fruits and veggies, walking to work instead of driving, joining a yoga studio, or reducing your intake of sugary drinks. By focusing on specific health goals, you will not only do your body good, but you will feel BETTER and have more energy because of it. New Years can mean a new you, and that goes beyond the numbers on the scale :)

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