Why did the Golden State Warriors win a NBA record 73 games last season? In addition to great shooting, defense, chemistry & coaching, they played small ball. You too just might want to think small as you approach 2017. Around 50% of Americans set new year's resolutions each year. Only 8% succeed in keeping their new year's resolutions. According to John Norcross, a researcher at the University of Scranton, 25% of the people who make yearly resolutions have raised the white flag after only 2 weeks. If you get to 6 months, you stand a much better chance of going the distance: 46% of the people in Norcross' study stayed resolute for six months or more.
Habits. Habits. Habits.
Big steps are great. Who wouldn't want to run a marathon, deadlift 500 pounds, learn how to play the guitar while surfing, etc.? As far as your health & fitness, it comes down to entrenched habits that you have worked hard to ingrain in your lifestyle. We're all guilty of wanting everything to be perfect. When things get off the rails a little, we deem the endeavor a failure. We don't need to be perfect. We need progress. We don't need statues erected glorifying the completion of our new year's resolutions. We need to take meaningful steps.
Has anyone ever told you how delicious low lying fruits taste?
Again you stand a much chance of standing on the Mt. Everest of setting resolutions if you think small. Sure going cold turkey on processed foods for entire year would be healthy. Be realistic. Start with one day a week. Eat nothing but whole unprocessed unrefined 1 ingredient foods one day a week. If you held a low plank for up to a minute every day possibly first thing in the morning, that would be a serious deposit in your fitness bank. How about 10 squats or up to 20 push ups first thing in the morning?
10,000 steps is not the magic number for everybody. Think about how you can get more steps within the context of your lifestyle. That might mean parking on the periphery, walking while you work, avoiding elevators, etc. Nothing allows you to enter your new day more relaxed than a minute or two of stretching or foam rolling. Set the tone for a great day & be kind to yourself first thing in the morning.
Resolve to eat better.
Many people resolve to eat better & lose weight. Calorie restriction over the long term works for very few people. I would focus on mindful eating first. One day a week keep track of how much protein & fiber you consume. I don't like to avoid carbs because carbs are your greatest source of fiber. It's hard to get enough fiber from fruits & vegetables. Make sure you're getting enough protein. Protein also makes you feel sated & keeps you on the right track to healthy eating. That brings us to health public enemy number one. You guessed it: sugar. All you need to do is look sugar in the eye & hold your ground one day a week.
You know what else is easy & sustainable? Drink your water.
This is your brain talking.
You can't control stress. You can contain it albeit temporarily. You wake up, take care of your business & take 10 deep breaths. Breathe in & out of your nose. Close your eyes or don't close your eyes. This is a good practice in which to begin your day. While a lot of people meditate for more than 10 breaths, 10 deep relaxed breaths is great for your mental health. You can work your way up the breath ladder if you find it beneficial. Here's a good guided meditation app that I've used & really enjoyed for a long time: www.insighttimer.com
Time to refill your tank.
I like the idea of a daily self imposed timeout of at least 1 minute. You would have to set the parameters. Perhaps you unplug from your electronic devices. A little bit of fresh air will reinvigorate you too. Maybe you reflect on 1 thing for which you're thankful. Gratitude refocuses you on what's important in your life & gives you a renewed sense of purpose. You could practice positive thinking including positive self talk. We all know that it's important to have fun. Why not watch a short funny video that gives you a serious case of the chuckles? Levity will lift you.
Thanks for reading. Enjoy 2017!