Good Habits for a Good Year
The trees are out by the curb, the lights are coming down, the presents are unwrapped (and being returned). Yes, it’s the end of the holidays, which means it’s the beginning of the New Year. Last year, I wrote about A New, New Year’s Resolution where I encouraged everyone to avoid the hype and make resolutions throughout the year rather than just in January. I followed my own advice and without having any agenda or resolutions to follow – here are some of my personal accomplishments (ranging from big to small):
- 2013 was the year I went to a personal trainer for six weeks in an attempt to vary my running workouts and learn how to lift weights (safely).
- 2013 was the year I started drinking almond milk vs. skim milk, an experiment that turned into a permanent habit (my favorite almond milk is Silk Unsweetened Vanilla, it’s seriously delicious).
- 2013 is the year I finally figured out the best way to cook tofu so that it’s actually edible (pan fry with olive oil on both sides for 7 minutes until golden brown).
- 2013 is the year I started varying my long-distance running workouts to include more sprints (specifically after reading this interesting article about how your body and metabolism can become so accustomed to it’s workouts, that it’s not burning as many calories, and therefore hindering overall improvement).
- 2013 is the year I adopted a kitten, who has brought me endless amusement and more love than I could imagine.
I consider 2013 a success. I feel healthy, happy and active. Making new resolutions throughout the year has kept my life in balance without being too hard to maintain. In my opinion, that’s the danger of putting so much emphasis on New Year’s Resolutions – people build up ideas about getting in shape and eating healthy starting January 1st , rather than setting smaller goals throughout the year. Hoards of people sign up for the gym or fitness classes, and either get burnt out or disappointed when they don’t see results right away. People start juice detoxes and feel famished (and grumpy) after not eating for 24 hours and then go right back into their regular dietary habits.
My main (non-professional) advice to everyone looking to stay healthy and active in 2014 is this:
- Set realistic goals. Aka don’t just say you want to lose 10 pounds, set goals that will help you get fit like cutting back on sweets and alcohol and incorporating more cardio into your every day routine.
- Find what works for you. Not all diets work for everyone. Paleo or detoxes may be effective for some people, but diets are not a one shoe fits all kind of deal. Assess your own eating habits and figure out where your weaknesses are.
- Make short-term and long-term goals. This will ensure you stay on track throughout the year without burning out by March. For example, try a new workout class in January in addition to signing up for a race in the Fall that will require training throughout the year.
- Find something you enjoy! If you are miserable running or hate going to the gym, you’re not going to stick with it. Instead, try a dance class or yoga. There are so many options – find one that you don’t consider a chore.
- Don’t forget mental health. Overall happiness is incredibly important in staying healthy and active. Whether it’s reading a new book, taking long walks outside, calling a friend to catch up, or playing with an animal; anything that makes you happy and relaxed. You may find this will increase your overall attitude about staying active and healthy.
From January 6 – 12, Columbus Underground is featuring our Health & Wellness Week series, brought to you by the YMCA of Central Ohio. Join the Y in January and pay $0 enrollment. At the Y, we’re not a health club, we’re a health movement – committed to youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. Follow us on Facebook at ymcacolumbusohio and on Twitter @YMCAColumbus. 12 locations, unlimited possibilities! The YMCA. Fit for All.