AS 2014 COMES to an end, now is the time you begin to think about your 2015 resolutions, right? Naturally, you want a better life, more money in your pockets, and to finally shed whatever baggage you may be carrying.
But the ugly truth is, when it comes to resolutions most of us overpromise and under-deliver. Not because we want to fail, but it's just profoundly and incredibly hard to change our behaviors.
So, with that in mind, I say get rid of the guilt and start with small, quantifiable goals, and when life throws you the inevitable curveball, instead of giving up, resolve to get back on your game. In short, never give up and keep making progress, even when it seems infinitesimally small.
Don't scoff at losing "only a half a pound" - take it in stride and realize that small achievements add up to big ones. Don't have time for an hour workout? Use the 10, 20 or 30 minutes you do have - it's all good, and slow and steady wins the race.
To help you keep it in perspective and keep it moving, here are my 2015 resolutions:
Get personal. Before you begin your resolutions, be sure to take a personal inventory. Write down, with as much detail as possible, the vision, values, motivations and goals you have for your life. Why not unleash the laws of expectations in your favor? So, get out the old journal and nudge the universe in your direction.
Pay it forward with fitness. The new year is finally the time to get in shape, as well as get involved with your favorite health charity. Helping others will help you, too. Go ahead, sign up for the 3K walk or the 5K run. Here are a few causes to get you started: komenrace.com, aidswalks.org, americanheart.org, diabetes.org, avonwalk.org and walkamerica.org.
Eat the elephant - one bite at a time. Take small, manageable steps to reach your goals. Many people fail to realize their objectives because of unrealistic expectations. For example, don't expect to lose 60 pounds in 6 weeks. Not only is this type of thinking foolish, it's down right dangerous. Shoot for a half-pound to a pound per week.
Avoid toxic people. This is a tough one, but, as much as you can, surround yourself with positive people, friends and family who support your lifestyle and goals. Ignore or avoid toxic people who will deliberately or unconsciously attempt to sabotage or undo all of your valiant efforts.
Search and destroy. For successful weight loss you will have to consciously choose your foods. Go on a kitchen "search-and-destroy mission." Get rid of all your personal binge favorites, like ice cream, alcohol, chips etc. Make it inconvenient. For example, if you want ice cream, don't keep a half-gallon in the freezer - instead, make a vow to buy and eat it only at an ice-cream parlor. If alcohol is your weakness, don't maintain a well-stocked wine cellar; have an occasional glass only when dining out. Out of sight equals out of mind.
Make personal fitness your No. 1 daily priority. Schedule your workout the same way you would schedule an important meeting. Probably best to schedule before you go to work, because after 5 p.m. your energy starts to wane. Make your workouts your personal sanctuary for renewal, stress reduction and relaxation. The bonus is, you'll feel better, and may even shed a few pounds.
Put your heart into it. Cardiovascular exercise is the superpower for improving the heart, your (HDL) cholesterol, and for burning fat. Want to see what your heart is doing? Strap on a heart-rate monitor and see how you measure up against the recommended heart rate for your age and gender.
Become an Iron Lady or Man! Get some iron in your life, three to four times a week. Strength training decreases fat, increases your lean tissue and improves your metabolic rate. What's not to love? So, go ahead and reshape your body with bodyweight exercises, dumbbells, barbells and strength machines.
Maintain flexibility and balance. While often neglected, equally important is maintaining flexibility and balance. As we age we lose both. To avoid this, incorporate flexibility and balance exercises a minimum of three times a week.
Expect success. With few exceptions, life is a self-fulfilling prophecy. You normally get what you expect. Henry Ford said it best: "Whether you think you can, or you think you can't-you're right!"
Reward and celebrate: As you accomplish your goals, both big and small, applaud and celebrate your achievements with new workout gear, new sneakers, an inspirational book or a fresh bouquet of flowers.