All posts tagged: goals

First Week

Like many people, I took advantage of a lot of opportunities to indulge over the holidays. Nearly every event was centered around food. The wine, beer and cocktails runneth over. My rambunctious brother was visiting and stayed at our house for a week. So yeah.

I think we all “give ourselves a break” during the holidays. Normal lives may be filled with order, boundaries, regime. Especially if your routine changes, like you are off work for a week, you are kind of vacationing from reality. You feel entitled to freedom, freedom from standard “proper” actions and freedom from guilt in your own mind. Like I said, I did it. Celebratorily. Gladly.

For the first week in January though, I came up with some “get back on track” rules for myself. (I know this could sound silly to some, but creating these rules on a weekly or monthly basis have been truly crucial to my personal health and fitness, the key to goal-setting.)

The rules for January 1-7 were simple:

  • No candy
  • No soda
  • No fried foods
  • No alcohol

One could certainly set stricter rules, and in the past I have. But in this case, I only wanted a solid week off from the top four offenders in my diet. These were the specific foods and drinks I noted I was consuming too much of in weeks prior. I had to cleanse!

Tuesday, January 2, I came home from work after a hazardous day. Here was my thought process…

  • Gosh, today was tough, and I’m exhausted.
  • I wish I could treat myself, to feel better, as consolation.
  • I really want two mini Milky Way bars that I got in my stocking.
  • I had a good day by the rules, did not have soda, fried food or alcohol.
  • Maybe that’s what I should do instead – just allow myself one thing from the No list each day.
  • Cool! I will have the candies.
  • Chomp. Chomp.

A minute later, I felt terrible. I had just set these rules for my First Week, and I broke one immediately. I thought, what the heck is wrong with me? I realized I wanted to write a blog post about this experience right then. I wanted to document my own journey and failure. If this happens to a health and fitness expert, then it most definitely happens to those unpracticed and unaware. My problem was talking myself into that candy. I rationalized why I could have it, why I deserved it. This thinking was not in line with my goal. The person who lost here was me.

This is what my clients go through every day when trying to be active and eat healthy. They set goals. They make themselves promises. They welch on the deal. Because behavior change is not instant. It takes having “I want the candy” moments followed by “I ate the candy,” “I know eating the candy does not get me to my goal,” and “I resolve to not do that next time” moments.

We are all learning more, all the time. The better we recognize and analyze our behavior, the more likely we will change it and make positive, healthy lifestyle decisions.

< As written for Doctor for Life >
AarikaFirst Week
Read More

Resolve to Succeed

It’s that time again. We can’t believe it’s December. Christmas is almost here. We recap our year, taking stock of the best times and worst times. We evaluate, how did 2017 go? We think about a new year and a new beginning. It means something to us, somehow.

Self-improvement is a shared hobby. It is estimated that greater than 40% of Americans make New Year’s Resolutions. But only about 8% achieve them.

People have good intentions. The problem lies in goal-setting. Say the first thought is “I want to lose weight.” A person may decide on a goal of losing 30 pounds.

“Losing 30 pounds” is an Outcome Goal. It’s what you accomplish after a series of steps. You have to work to get there. Instead, a person should focus on Behavior Goals – what, when and how you are going to do something in order to lose that 30 pounds.

I found a Forbes article that breaks down how to be successful with New Year’s Resolutions nicely, that is worth re-reading every year. Borrowing the sections…

Keep It Simple

We tend to set a huge goal or create a long list for ourselves. We are daunted from the start, which can lead to failing to launch at all or getting overwhelmed early. Instead, set small, attainable goals… “I am going to walk in my neighborhood.”

Make It Tangible

The more vague your resolution, the more vague your results. We have to be specific with our goals, and we have to measure the method. “I am going to walk in my neighborhood every Sunday for 30 minutes.”

Make It Obvious

Track, track, track! The pure idea that you have to document what you do (and don’t do) will affect your choices. It becomes real then. You have to admit it. Another great tactic is sharing your goals with other people – family, friends, social media. You are then accountable to more than just yourself.

Keep Believing You Can Do It

Simply setting a goal increases your chances of actually achieving something by 10 times (according to Statistic Brain). Yet average people get discouraged easily after a couple weeks or months. They feel defeated and at fault. Yet confidence is key. You have as much willpower as you think you have. So boost that willpower supply with some self-love and positive influences.

< As written for Doctor for Life >
AarikaResolve to Succeed
Read More

Coughing in the New Year

I’m fairly miserable at the moment. I have combination sinus and respiratory infections. I have all the symptoms of the flu, except the added facial pressure and wheezing. It is not the flu though, the nurse practitioner said, because my fever hasn’t been high enough. Go figure.

I’ve been taking every care to recover – visiting the doctor, resting, taking doses of pain reliever, anti-inflammatory, antihistamine, cough suppressant, breathing treatment, vitamins and more. I’ve had high-nutrient items – homemade bone broth, fruit and vegetable smoothies, lean protein, herbal tea with ginger, tons of water and more.

My first priority is to get well and not be a lump. My second priority is to return to work. They desperately need me. I’m at the turn of a revolution in the Wellness Department, and I am M.I.A. for the moment, and I feel terribly guilty.

I start to think about progress and plans for a New Year. Even if it is an arbitrary new beginning, I do like to make a resolution. As I sit sickly reflecting on my last 12 months, what I hope to focus on in 2017 comes easily.

I have pondered often the irony of me “being the most unwell I’ve been in a very long time since taking the job as a Wellness Director.” I have been in the position for nearly five months. The role is demanding. Yet I cop to a good deal of fault for the way in which I have done the job – to my own personal sacrifice.

Technically, this was the first full-time year of my health and fitness career. The larger irony is that I believe I have discovered that all H+F professionals are forced to self-sacrifice. Namely, I find pros running themselves ragged to serve others and make enough money.

They most likely…

  • Work random hours – supremely early mornings and late nights
  • Go through physical toll – repeated instruction and demonstration
  • Juggle employment at multiple places – for financial stability

For me, this has led to…

  • Unpredictability of schedule – little rest and non-routine sleep
  • Chronic cervical spine issue – with neural tension and back, shoulder and arm residuals
  • Lack of time and energy for my own exercise

Which leads to…

  • Discomfort
  • Sour mood
  • Frustration

But all of that is overshadowed for them and for me by one resounding truth… Loving what you do, or more so, why you are doing it

Herein lies my resolution. Not changing the what or the why. Changing the how. For 2017, I will change how I operate. I will keep some health and fitness for me.

I must. Because without being healthy and happy, I cannot expect to spread “healthy and happy.”

This means…

  1. Identifying boundaries and upholding them
  2. Engaging in new physical challenges to keep my own activity fresh and interesting.
  3. Meditating, being quiet and seeking serenity.
AarikaCoughing in the New Year
Read More