The New Year is now in full swing. It’s that time when New Year’s resolutions are beginning to taper off and be relegated to the back of your mind. Gyms were packed the first two weeks of January, but as we near the close the month there is a noticeable slimming of the crowd (no pun intended!). Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) values the connection between the body, mind, and spirit. TCM holds the belief that exercise and an active lifestyle is imperative to feel and operate at your best. So why do most of us lose focus on a goal we were so excited about a mere few weeks ago? What can we do to stay the course? And perhaps most importantly, should we? Maybe the goal itself was part of a larger thought pattern that needs some working out.
Now, before you begin excusing yourself from all the goals you set for 2013, don’t mistake the value of goal making. Goals are empowering. They are also the kick-in-the-pants and form of self discipline that get many of us to where we want to be in life: from careers to relationships to health, goals are good. But they must be realistic.
For example, if you started 2013 off with “Get in better shape” as your goal—that’s great! And vague. If a goal is too broad, it can spread so thin that it disappears from your schedule. Instead of “Get in better shape”, try creating something more specific like “Lose 10 pounds by March 15th.” This is sets a goal and a date to accomplish it by, holding you more accountable. You can’t avoid going to the gym for three weeks in a row if you want to make that March deadline.
Allow yourself to make slip-ups or challenges positive. If you realize you can’t keep eating your health shakes for dinner because you cook for your kids and you want to eat with them, that doesn’t have to mean you have to throw out your goal. It just needs to be reworked. Notice when you’re slipping and reevaluate your course of action.
Perfectionism can actually work against you here. We tend to create elaborate fitness plans for ourselves and then if we can’t stick to them exactly as planned, there is an urge to toss out the entire plan. John Lennon famously said, “Life is what happens when you’re busy making plans.” Fitness can be that way too. Make your goals specific. Work your plan into your lifestyle. Got kids? Make your workout for the day involve them. Persevere but don’t be a perfectionist. Technology is one way to customize your fitness to your lifestyle. Using technology you already use every day and are familiar with can help you get active about your action plan. We’ve put together a list of some awesome apps and products that are affordable and accessible.
This handy app tracks your heart-rate variability, which measures the time in between each heartbeat while you’re resting. This will prevent you from overtraining, and will enable you to get the max benefits out of each workout. Plus, it includes awesome facts about your heart. Did you know that your heart speeds up when you inhale but slows down as you exhale?
Fitness Pal is a FREE online calorie counter and diet plan. You can plug in each meal and each workout and this site will calculate how many calories you have left in the day, as well as the amount you’d need to burn to lose your goal weight. It’s entirely personalized and specific to your body weight, height, age, lifestyle, and fitness goals.
Smart Coaching offers a variety of fitness programs for athletes. Programs include nutrition guidance, endurance preparation for competitions and marathons, and help creating workout strategies and training programs. Smart Coaching programs are completely online and can be mobile. This is a great option for athletes looking to get back in top shape or who are interested in multiples sports.
Fitocracy is an online fitness community. It’s a social network that is (ironically) designed to get you off your computer and operating at your most active. Fitocracy aims to get people “addicted” to fitness, just like a video game. Get the support and inspiration you need by connecting with others.
The Couch to 5K website offers a running plan for a beginner. This training schedule will get you up from the couch and running 5K regularly within just two months. This is perfect for when you feel overwhelmed by a lofty goal—Couch to 5K breaks down every step of the process, making running a more accessible hobby than ever.
The Nutrition Diva is an app available on iTunes that is designed to “serve up simple, painless ways to upgrade your eating habits.” Find recipes, shopping, and preparation tips for eating your way to a healthier you! Our favorite episode of the Nutrition Diva is about foods that fight inflammation.
The Body Bugg is a small, portable calorie management system that has proven to be successful in helping people reach weight loss goals. This little device keeps an accurate daily record of calories consumed vs. burned, making it easy to stay informed on which decisions throughout your day lead to the best results for dropping pounds.
Whatever your goal is, and whichever path you choose, know that you don’t have to do it alone. There is an online community of people just like you on a similar journey. Whether you want to join an online forum to hold yourself accountable and swap tips, or you want to use an app to help you get the most out of your workouts or create a meal plan, we think there’s a modern day marvel out there that can help!