Wednesday, January 8, 2014

New Year, New You

"New Year, New You" — chances are you've both seen and heard this exact phrase more than ever before. The popular slogan, leveraged by major advertisers and retailers alike, acts as a cheap, yet effective ploy to lure like-minded people into spending money in order to better themselves at least for now. Although there isn't anything quite like the notion of a "new beginning" or clean slate, even the greatest intentions can easily submit to the wayside. After all, the unfavorable statistics prove bleak: only 8% of people remain faithful to their New Year's resolutions while the rest of the population tend to abandon them after as little as one week. 

If you're serious about bettering your overall health, wellness, or anything in between, there is no better opportunity than the present to turn it all around. Rather than burden yourself with false promises, now is as good as ever to reflect on your goals, fine-tune them, and put them into action. Here's how:

1. Reflect: Are there things that could make you happier, more efficient, healthier, or more compassionate? Do it! A resolution should be an idea that has resonated for some time, not a fleeting thought mid-bubbly an hour before the clock strikes twelve. If you aren't prepared to make any lifestyle changes or haven't given it enough thought, don't sweat it. Wait until you are sure of what it is you want to accomplish in the new year. After all, resolutions don't have time stamps — you can initiate positive lifestyle changes any time of the year.

2. Avoid Abstractions: You'll often hear resolutions along the lines of "eat healthier" or "exercise more." These common themes, though optimistic, aren't necessarily going to guarantee results. By avoiding vagueness, you will not only identify what your goal is, but you'll also define how you will achieve it. For example, "I will exercise three times a week, before my conference call." In essence, the more specific the goal, the more likely you are to achieve it. 

3. Be Realistic: If you have a desk job and in the past year lost sight of your workout routine altogether, don't set your goals that require a 180 degree lifestyle shift. Exercising 5 days a week when you're accustomed to 0 will almost surely leave you feeling overwhelmed, discouraged, or downright despondent. Instead, work your way up, which leads us to the next point.

4. Set Small Goals, Often: Rather than draft some grandiose life change that turns your life upside down, start small and grow from there. Like previously mentioned, you can make resolutions all through the year, at any point in time. You don't need to wait till next New Years to make positive lifestyle changes. 

5. Be Accountable: One of the several reasons resolutions tend to fail is due to one's lack of accountability. After all, no one knows about that time you snuck away from your desk for a brownie or slept in too late to hit the gym this morning. After all, it's easy to lie to yourself. However, not so much to others. You need to define your goals and be liable to them. If that means using the "buddy system" by carpooling to the gym, then do it! When others depend on your follow through you are much more likely to succeed. Other ways to maintain responsibility of your goals is by using the various mobile applications tailored toward maximizing your goals. By using apps like Lose It, MyFitnessPal, or joining the Up community by utilizing the Up fitness band by Jawbone. Logging your progress and joining with friends are optimal ways to confront your goals face first. 

6. Be Positive: Resolutions should be lifestyle changes to better yourself. Don't think of your health regimen as a "diet" or some kind of punishment. In actuality, it's a step toward caring for yourself, making healthy habits, and finding overall happiness.

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