Tagged goals

Resolutions that roll with the punches

If you’re anything like me, you’ll scoff at the idea of making a New Year’s resolution. A lifetime of experience tells you that they never stick and they only come back to haunt you when Christmas rolls around again.

And experts tend to agree. According to many, New Year’s Resolutions are so last decade. Apparently it is the worst time to declare lifestyle changes and there’s a very slim chance that you’ll be high fiving yourself come December 31st. The New Year is amidst celebrations, frivolity and for us here in Australia, weather that calls for beach side holidays, alcoholic drinks, BBQ gatherings and icecream. It’s hardly a breeding ground for spectacular transformations.

But despite all of this, as I flip the crisp new page of the carefully chosen calendar, I find it hard not to reflect on the past 12 months and contemplate what might be possible in the year to come. Is it ingrained in us, or is there something in the cosmos that makes us want to seek out personal improvements when a new year clicks over?

What’s possibly the limiting factor in New Year’s Resolutions is they are generally a statement of declaration: “I’m going to lose weight!” “I’m going to be more organised!” “I am going to give up alcohol!” “I am going to start running!” There’s plenty of enthusiasm, but very little planning bolstering up our resolutions.

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Despite a worthy protest, if you feel the gravitational pull towards implementing some new year changes, there are some things you can do to make your success a little more likely.

1. BE SMART ABOUT IT. SMART goals are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and have a time frame. Replace “I am going to lose weight” with “I am going to lose 5kg by September.” Replace “I am going to start running” to “I am going to run in a 10km event in August”. You can even make us your own system of scale, for example “At the moment, on a scale of 1-10 on how healthy I feel, I am a 5. By the end of June this year, I am going to be at 8.”

2. CHANGE YOUR FOCUS FROM WHAT YOU WANT, TO WHAT YOU NEED TO BE DOING. Once you have your SMART goal, it’s time to carefully consider what actions you will need to be doing consistently to achieve that goal. The person that says “I am going to run a half marathon in June” may need to invest in some new runners, start going to bed earlier to make early morning training possible and set aside some time to run 3-4 times a week. Change is the result of a series of new behaviours done consistently, so make your behaviour the focus, rather than the overall goal.

3. GO AS BIG OR AS SMALL AS YOU CAN MANAGE. It’s an old cliché, but Rome wasn’t built in a day. Take one step at a time and appreciate that each of those steps are entirely customised to you; what fits your lifestyle and what you can physically, mentally and emotionally manage. If your SMART goal is to lose weight, and the changes you need to be doing consistently involve reducing portion sizes, it might start with simply reducing the size of one meal, one day a week. Once you feel that you are doing that fairly effortlessly you might move to two meals, two days of the week. Don’t let this step be dictated by impatience or pressure. It’s vital to long term success that each step is integrated gradually and easily into your lifestyle. The downfall of most New Year’s Resolutions is that people go too hard too soon!

4. OBSERVE, DON’T JUDGE. As Thomas Edison said “I have not failed, I have just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” If one week doesn’t go to plan – you miss a run, you overeat, you relax on a Monday night with a scotch, just make an observation about what lead you to that point. Rather than throw your hands up in the air (like you just don’t care) and rubber stamp it failure all over it, simply think about how you can adjust your ultimate goal, your behaviours or your environment to make it work. Like Thomas Edison, it could take thousands of attempts and you’ll learn a little bit about yourself each time.

5. KEEP YOUR RESOLUTIONS ROLLING WITH THE PUNCHES. Life happens. We get busy. We get thrown curve balls. We lose our way. Our priorities change. Revisiting your goal and being willing to adjust it (and the required behaviours) if it no longer fits within the realms of realistic or achievable, is totally ok. It’s far better to keep moulding it around life, than sidelining it altogether.

Whether it is habit or something in the universe that pulls us towards change around January – make your resolutions SMART, support them with small changes in your behaviour and when things don’t go to plan, adjust the plan; and I expect there will be high fives rather than haunts by the time December arrives again.

Why being lazy (and watching the Bachelor) is ok. For now.

It’s the second day of spring. The sun is shining and for the first time in what feels like eternity I don’t have to dress like an eskimo to leave the house. I’m pretty sure we have been in the double-digits-of-degrees every day this week. Yippie-yi-yay, am I right?

I took my group training session this morning and the gals were on fire. Everyone looked like they had pocketed the early signs of spring and popped it in their step. They did jumping lunges and sprints, squat jumps and push ups like they were gearing up for Tokyo 2020.

Despite their infectious energy and enthusiasm, when I got home I slipped into my trackiest of trackies and ate lunch (which started off with tofu and finished with chocolate), while propped on the couch (I never eat on the couch!). I watched 2 episodes of The Bachelor and one episode of Offspring. I sorted some washing and did some ironing, and for that I feel like a hero.

Laziness has me in her grasp, and has for a week or two.

 

 

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My fitness professional brain says “just do something – a light walk, a gentle ride, a short run, swim a few laps….”

My laziness-possessed brain says “nah stuff it.”

I’ll go to bed tonight, like I have every night this week, declaring to get up early, spend some time on my wind trainer, do a light weights session and/or test out my injury-riddled body with a short run. But I’ll wake up tomorrow, like I have every “tomorrow” of the last fortnight, with a blanket of slight depression wrapped around me, untempted by the carrot of the fresh morning air, the endorphins buzzing through my body, the potential feeling of wellness and clear-headedness and the knowing that energy breeds energy and it will set me up in good stead for the day.

It’s not fitness instructory of me to admit to this laziness.

But it is human. I’m sure it has happened to anyone reading this post at some point.

There are a whole bunch of reasons that this could be happening. And there’s a bunch of reasons I’m kind of ok with it.

 

1) I’m vitamin D deprived: For someone who usually feels the cold, I handled the Winter of 2016 pretty well. The first 8 weeks of it anyway. I felt like I shivered my way to the Winter finish line. So now I’m tired, lethargic and I’m overeating. From a Chinese medicine perspective this is a thing. Our bodies can get too much of one element and cause disease or illness and/or; our bodies can’t cope with an abrupt change in weather. Either way, forcing myself to do some gruelling fitness session may not be the answer right now. To get back on track, I’m thinking it may be as simple as soaking some of this welcome-back sunshine into my skin.

2) I’m keeping a virus hostage: For this I bear no medical knowledge, other than knowing my body pretty well. Touchwood, I’ve been super lucky this Winter. Many friends, clients and acquaintances of mine have been struck down with some pretty horrid lugies. Thankfully, in my household our Kleenex supply-demand ratio has stayed pretty consistent with any other time of the year. But with this lack of energy and a sore throat that crops up every couple of weeks, I can’t help but think that a bug set up camp in my innards and is just waiting for the right time to pounce. If my suspicions are correct, it’s probably all the more important to not push myself too hard physically and instead focus on getting plenty of sleep, water and good nutrients into me.

3) I’m adjusting my sails: I’m a goal setter. And it takes a fair bit for me to swallow my pride and back out of those goals. I often respond with shock, awe, admiration and jealousy when people say, of their once set goals (particularly of the physical variety): “No I’m not doing it now…” or “…I just changed my mind.”

It drains me mentally, emotionally and physically to readjust my goal posts.

Anyone who knows me well, knows that I run the Melbourne marathon every year. And in recent times I have declared that if I run it every year for the next 4, I will become a “Spartan” (someone who has run 10 Melbourne marathons) in the same year that I turn 40. But after being diagnosed with a disc bulge in my neck earlier in the year, the long training runs mean putting extra time and energy into the pain management of that. I’m actually handling that side of things pretty well (and in fact, have been running the best I have in years) but two weeks ago my hip started giving me grief. I just don’t think I can handle having another thing to ice, anti-inflam, stretch, heat, massage or needle! I’m starting to weigh up if that Spartan goal is as significant as it once was and if there might be something as equally as fulfilling, but less taxing on my body. This soul searching and decision making apparently needs to take place on the couch. In front of D grade reality drama television shows.

4) I’m gathering stones: The Byrds sang it: “To every season … turn turn turn… a time to plant, a time to reap, a time to kill, a time to heal…” Unless I start digging up past series’ of the Bachelor – Australian and American – and my trackies become my “Sunday best”, I’m thinking this is just a little time for me to heal. I’m taking it as an opportunity to re-evaluate, reenergise and re-motivate myself with new goals and new routines. “… a time to build up…a time to cast stones..  a time to gather stones together…”

With the combo of all of that, it’s little wonder I can’t get my butt of the couch (that, and I just can’t pick if Richie will choose Alex, Faith or Nikki). In any case, I know it’s not long term. I’m confident that some time in the coming week when my laziness-possessed brain suggests that I stay in bed, my rested body will answer “Nah stuff it. Let’s go!”

 

(But if you don’t see me around… please send in some help for an intervention).