Resolutions, Reasons and Reality

Resolutions, reasons, reality, renewal, refocusing — it’s the time of year when these R’s seem to rule our routines and can cause frustration and regret. If we realistically manage these R’s, we can really get results that rock!

Resolutions get a bad rap at times, considered by many as short-lived and a waste of time. And they often are. But can we make resolutions work for us? Absolutely. After all, a resolution can be a re-solution -- an attempt to accomplish a more effective solution towards meeting a goal we may have previously attempted.

So how do we succeed at setting and accomplishing our resolutions? We review.

What did we try to accomplish previously? What worked? What didn’t? If insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results, then what can we do differently this year to make happen what we want to happen? Take what you learn from this review and refine it down into SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound) goals to maximize your efforts. And make sure your main goal energizes and inspires you to take the action you need. If it doesn’t, it’s not the right goal for you.

We also reconsider our reasons.

Losing weight and getting healthier because a family member wants us to, because our doctor told us to, or because we think we’re supposed to...these are fine reasons, but they don’t resonate deeply with most of us and keep up our resolve when life gets in the way of our health and fitness goals. The one reason that matters to most of us is this: Does exercise and healthy eating make me feel better? Experience and hundreds of research studies shows that when you eat and exercise the right way, you have more energy, sleep better, handle stress better, and are generally in a better mood.

Maybe you’ve attempted this before but reality has put up some roadblocks. You start with good intentions but life comes charging in with setbacks, sidetracks, and sicknesses. It happens to all of us.

So what to do? Refocus immediately and renew your efforts. Healthy eating and consistent activity takes repetition, so think of ways to stay on track despite interruptions. Keep your workout clothes at your desk or in your car so they are convenient. Keep healthy snacks on hand to prevent you from overeating later in the day. Put your exercise time on your calendar so you won’t fill it with anything else. It may help to remember that anything you say “yes” to means you are saying “no” to something else. Know your priorities, and let your usage of that most valuable resource — time — reflect those priorities.

Think through the R’s above and recall these final tips as you put your plan together:

*Write it down. We have too many things vying for our attention to rely on memory alone. Put reminders in your calendar: “How am I doing?” or “How do I get back on track?”

*Respect your individual differences in tastes, priorities, body style, metabolism, etc. Stop trying to look like him or her. Be the best YOU possible.

*Reward yourself for what you have accomplished! New clothes, a mini-vacation — something you enjoy that won’t jeopardize what you’ve just accomplished. You worked hard for it!

Kevin Ready
Program Manager
Wellness Center

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