There’s nothing like the Earth reaching an arbitrary point along its way around the sun to make you want to improve your life drastically. Kick away the bad habits, and start all the good habits you wish you had.
New year’s resolutions are, as always, a hot topic right now. But they don’t really change much from year to year, and the majority fails.
I think one of the reasons why they fail is that people underestimate the effort it takes to change a habit. They don’t have a realistic view of the effort it will take, so when they fail, they give up completely. So instead of some the classic resolutions, I’ve come up with some alternatives that can help you start a healthy lifestyle – hopefully permanently.
“I WILL DO 100 SIT UPS A DAY”
Why it’s a bad idea: First of all, ab exercises doesn’t make you lose belly fat. Secondly, doing a 100 reps a day is far from optimal. Instead, do a few more challenging exercises for 10-20 reps 1-3 times a week.
Here’s a better resolution:
I will incorporate ab exercises and cardio into my workouts
“I WILL EXERCISE EVERY DAY”
Why it’s a bad idea: Becoming fit is not about exercising as much as possible, it’s about finding the optimal balance between work and rest. Exercising does not make you stronger or faster – it breaks your body down, makes you weaker. And it stimulates your body to make itself stronger during rest, so it will be a bit better the next time it’s challenged. If you’re constantly breaking your body down and not giving it time to recover, you will feel tired all the time and eventually get an injury.
Try this instead:
I will move every day
I will exercise 3-5 times a week
“I WILL DO THE PLANK/SQUAT CHALLENGE”
You know the one. It has probably already popped up in your facebook news feed a few times already. You start with 30 seconds and work your way up to 5 minutes or 100+ squats. See #1 for reasons and an alternative.
“I WILL STOP EATING UNHEALTHY FOOD”
Why it’s a bad idea: To start with, it’s impossible to divide food in healthy or unhealthy – what matter is your overall intake. Not to mention, completely restricting some food will make you more likely to fall in – and fall hard.
Try this instead:
I will eat a varied, balanced diet with room for treats in moderation
Notice the choice of the word treats over cheats. Cheats suggest you’re doing something wrong. You’re not!
Basically take some time to think about what you want to accomplish in the new year. Think about why. Do you want abs? Why? Do you think that will make you happy? It won’t, not inherently. Instead think about what you really want, deep down. If you do want to change your lifestyle, be realistic, and focus of finding a way to make the shift easy and your new lifestyle sustainable in the long run. And then take care of yourself.
What will your new year’s resolution be? Let me know in the comments!