New Year, New Mindset
It was February by the time I abandoned my first New Year’s Resolution. I had made it a little more than 30 days and suddenly found myself discouraged, unmotivated, and frankly not enjoying the fact I had decided to quit sugar and coffee, while also simultaneously waking up before dawn to work out. My body hurt. My head hurt. And all I wanted was a chocolate bar, a cup of coffee, and a nap.
We’ve likely all experienced something like this. The New Year comes around, and fitness resolutions are in the air. Often, they are invigorating and provide new determination to be healthy and accomplish lofty goals. But by the time February and March roll around, we find ourselves in our pajamas, binge-watching Netflix, and struggling to care about the great resolutions we made a month ago.
Each year, a New Year’s resolution shows us what we really want and the person we’d like to be. We may like coffee and chocolate and Netflix too much to give them up, but that doesn’t change that somewhere deep inside us is a person who wants more than those small treats. Our New Year’s resolutions paint a specific, vivid picture of the person we want to be and where to head next on our health journey.
But we do well to think of it as that: a journey. Sure, we need goals for this week or this month. But how are we thinking about health in the long term? How might our approach to staying fit evolve as our bodies and lifestyles change over time?
The fitness goals we set in our 30s may vary from the goals we set in our 20s. The goals we set in our 60s may not look like those we set in our 40s. While our goals and resolutions may change through the years, one thread can stay the same: a commitment to healthy living, no matter the age.
If you’ve lived a few years, you know as well as I do that our bodies change over time. A few years ago, I didn’t get sore muscles after an intense run. Now I do. I have some choices about how I respond to that change. We all have choices. Do we resent change? Do we fear or deny it? Or do we respond to change by embracing it? This year, I’m choosing to embrace these changes as part of my health journey rather than allowing them to discourage and overwhelm me.
Accepting new realities can empower us toward better health over the long haul. Perhaps you’ve gotten married or given birth to a child. Maybe you’re caring for an aging parent or you’ve stepped into a more demanding role at work. New commitments, stresses, and physical changes affect our bodies. Your approach to staying healthy needs to evolve with these life and body changes.
In your fitness journey, it is okay—no, normal—if your destination changes over the years. It is far better to recognize that the journey toward health is worth celebrating in and of itself. The destination is not the goal. The journey is.
Each of our health journeys will look different. It’s easy to compare what you’re doing to the person next to you, but comparison sabotages progress. Keep your eyes on your goal and the path in front of you. Your goal may look like simply getting to the gym. It may be pushing your body to its limit. Regardless of where you start from, focus on your personal goals and move forward step-by-step.
Jim Rohn said, “Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.” Set a New Year’s resolution; use that motivation to get you started. Then build those habits piece by piece and watch as your fitness journey evolves. Stress, fatigue, and shifting priorities can choke out ideals. But habits will keep you coming back even when it isn’t exciting anymore.
Aristotle wrote, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” In choosing to walk toward health, you are carving out for yourself a life of excellence. You are choosing the life you want and making it a reality. That, truly, is an exceptional act.
This year, choose optimistically to make those lofty resolutions. But then when you fall off the bandwagon and find yourself binge-watching Netflix and eating chocolate, get up again and keep going. Because quitting sugar or working out daily or fill-in-the-blank isn’t why you created the resolution in the first place. Your resolutions just painted a picture of where you want to go. So keep walking. It’s okay if your goals change, or if your body limits you, or if you need to be patient with yourself in this new season of life.
What matters is that you don’t stop. Don’t quit. Don’t give up. Keep going.
It’s about the journey after all.
And all you have to do is keep moving forward.
Questions? Ideas? We’d love to hear from you! Write us at Magazine@lvac.com.
Editor-in-Chief / Director of Marketing