Hello, new you!
There’s nothing like a fresh start — a clean slate and a to-do list of healthy goals to get you energized and ready to take on 2017! Are you part of the one-third of the American population who will list “lose weight,” “exercise more,” or “get healthy” as your top New Year’s Resolution?
As someone who has been in the fitness industry for years, I’ve seen the fad workouts, diets, and theories come and go, but the most important factor to long-term health is almost always overlooked — happiness!
Happiness and health go hand-in-hand. When you’re happy, you’re more likely to exercise. When you exercise, your body releases endorphins, making you, that’s right, happy!
To me, it’s all about breaking bad habits, setting SMART goals, and applying my number one rule: the 80/20 rule. All of these will help you create your own “happy.”
A habit is just a combination or cues, routines, and rewards, so if the ultimate reward is a healthy, happy lifestyle, we need to shift our cues and routines. Put the Doritos away instead of mindlessly eating from the open bag. Or better yet, replace the chips with a delicious, nutritious alternative. Create cues that will inspire you to action, like setting your new gym clothes out the night before. Even small acts will increase the chances that you actually go workout.
Routines are sometimes harder to break. At 3pm you get a coffee and a cookie. You tell yourself it’s because you need a pick-me-up. Are you sure? Or is it boredom and inactivity? If you have a routine that needs to be broken, find a happy alternative. Take a walk, chat with a friend, or even make a quick note of your real goals — goals that will give you long-term joy.
“Lose some weight.”
“Eat more vegetables.”
These broad goals are a recipe for failure. You need to be SMART about your goal-setting:
So maybe your goals should look more like this:
“I will lose ten pounds of fat by June 2017 by exercising 30 – 60 minutes a day three times a week and applying the 80/20 rule to my eating habits. The extra energy I gain will help me play longer with my grandkids.”
Now that’s a goal you can achieve!
So what’s this 80/20 rule? It’s also known as the Pareto Principle, which roughly states that 80 percent of the effects come from 20 percent of the causes.
But to keep it simple, basically I’m good 80 percent of the time, and the other 20 percent I put bacon on my cupcakes. It’s all about balance, small changes, and the big picture.
Get reacquainted with what really matters to you, what really makes you happy in the long run. Find a fitness class you love! Reconnect with family and friends! Try something new! Putting it all into perspective will ensure that you lead a healthy — and above all, happy — 2017.