12/31/09

31 days, 21 changes

According to John Norcross, a Professor of Psychology and Distinguished University Fellow at the University of Scranton, a clinical psychologist in part-time practice, and editor of the Journal of Clinical Psychology: In Session, 40-46% of people will be successful with New Year Resolutions after 6 months. Having studied New Year resolutions for the past 2 years, Norcross feels that 71% of people will keep resolutions for 2 weeks but that percentage drops to 64% after a month.
As you can see, there is hope for at least half of the population who is setting a New Year resolution. However, for everyone else, it is likely that you will not make it through the year (let alone a month) with the resolution that you are planning to start, tomorrow.
I have faith in you. I know you will succeed. I know you believe you can succeed. I know your resolution is realistic, practical and doable. I know your resolution is going to make your 2010 better than 2009. I know you will have up and down days, but as long as you don't give up, I know success is on your side.
The whole point of mkaing changes is for you to recognize that there are many ways to live a healthier life. A balanced life involves making small changes that will last a lifetime. Whereas you may feel that not drinking soda is the best New Year resolution for you because you don't need those extra calories, what happens when you go 2 weeks without drinking soda and then you "give-in" for 1 soda? Are you a failure? Do you suddenly go back to your old habits? What happens if that was your only change for the New Year and you find it hard to stick to that one change because once you gave in for 1 soda, you felt as though it just wasn't worth it anymore?
I can see the practicality of only making one change and trying to find ways to make that change last. If you make too many changes, your life can get very overwhelming.
However, the all or nothing approach to your changes may also seem overwhelming.
If you tell yourself that you are going to be a vegetarian or are going to stop eating ice cream until you lose weight, what happens when you go out to eat and you aren't feeling a salad at a steakhouse? What happens after a 3 hour workout and your kids ask if you want to go out for ice cream? Are you rational enough to say that "all is not lost in one meal/day" or do you say "Screw it, my resolution is ruined".

I realize that not everyone is going to make a resolution. As I wrote about in a previous post, you will find more joy in the new year by setting short and long term goals and working towards that goal with a deadline in mind.
In order to help everyone reach both New Year resolutions and Short/Long term goals, I am going to provide my health, nutrition and fitness tips over the next 31 days.
I will post a blog every day of the week, Mon through Friday, for the next 31 days. That is 21 healthy tips, one for each day of the week (Except Sat and Sun). I will post a blog and you will try the tip the following day.
I understand that I have a diverse group of blog followers so my tips will be both practical and useful no matter what background you come from. If you think about, we can always improve on the way that we live our life, especially when it comes to nutrition, health and fitness.
Some of the changes may be new to you. For example, not going into meals starving, drinking water instead of a sport drink for 60 min or less workouts or having a smoothie for quality protein. For some people, my tips may be old and you may have incorporated my tip into your life a long time ago. For example, eating vegetarian, having fruit instead of processed food for a snack or strength training. So, for the day(s) that you read a change that you are already using, I'd love to hear how that change has made a difference in your life. Please leave a comment and let me know if you have anything else to add to the change of the day. If you don't feel like leaving a comment, I ask for you to tell a friend about my change for the day and how you can help your friend implement that change into his/her life for a better 2010.

As far as the changes go, you can choose to implement the changes into your current lifestyle or just feel proud that you went a full day with a new change. And of course, please use your best judgment when making changes. I don't foresee any of my changes being dangerous but in the case of a diet or exercise change, it is always good to consult a doctor before starting anything new, specifically, if you feel in any way that you are an at-risk individual. My changes are not intended to treat, cure or prevent any disease. My only goal with my changes is for you to enjoy a new way (or a new day) of living life.

So, to bring you into the New Year, here is my last New Year resolution tip from the Iron Girl e-blasts. Don't forget that today is the day when you can register for any of the Iron Girl 2010 events. Don't miss out!

Registration is open.


New Year's Tip

from Marni Sumbal, M.S., CISSN, USAT level-1 coach, ADA Adult Weight management certification and Iron Girl Sports Nutritionist

Exercise is good for the mind, body and soul. Although many people associate exercise with weight loss or a specific body composition, there are countless additional benefits of daily exercise. And remember, physical activity is one form of exercise. You don't need a high heart rate and sweaty clothes to receive one (or more) of the many benefits of keeping your body active.

Benefits of Daily Exercise:
1. Improves mood, balance, coordination and self-esteem.
2. Improves productivity, memory and time management skills.
3. Prevention of chronic diseases and life threatening conditions - blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, coronary heart disease, arthritis, osteoporosis and cancer.
4. Weight loss and weight maintenance.
5. Strengthens the heart, lungs and muscles.
6. Better sleep and more fulfilling sex life.
7. Reduces the need for medications and prescription drugs.
8. Improved immune system (less sick days).
9. More energy and improved mental health.
10. Better quality of life.
11. Improved insurance ratings for individuals and companies.