The plethora of January stories outlining the healthy habits everyone should adopt in 2012 remind us of what we should do. And we have excellent intentions. Then life happens.
Planning for potential pitfalls and creating an organized plan will help ensure that we follow through and reap the rewards of our healthy resolutions. “Especially when the new year comes, I try to have my clients locate what will get in the way of their goal, and then we can come up with ideas to plan against those things or come up with another option,” says Jeff Brockes, a certified fitness trainer and holistic lifestyle coach at Brockes BodyWorks. “I find that when we locate things that get in the way, we have much better success—as opposed to trying to suppress those things and just force a new habit.”
For example, Brockes works with women who are balancing work, family and personal time. By identifying specific situations when other obligations obstruct the ability to exercise, meditate or read, he and his client develop alternatives, such as hiring a babysitter or assigning the children chores to do while Mom takes a walk on the treadmill.
“We really try to break apart the schedule and find all the areas that are wasted time or could be more efficiently used,” Brockes says. He also emphasizes the importance of being very clear regarding one’s actual goal. Losing weight to look better can be deconstructed to a more specific set of parameters around what ‘looking better’ actually means and what the desired outcomes will be.
Even with all the planning, Brockes notes that there must be a real desire to change in order to motivate the action needed. “We all like the idea of changing our lives or, for instance, the idea of getting in shape,” he says. “But the work behind the idea is tremendous.” Therefore, honest self-assessment is crucial.
Coach Hammer, owner and president of HammerBodies Custom Fitness, guides his clients through an organizational process that involves consistency, attitude and balance. “The consistency involves working out with regularity on the days that work best for your body and staying with those days,” he says. “It involves eating your meals on time each day and staying with that schedule to attain maximum energy. Organization and consistency is a thread that runs through the lifestyle of people who are successful.”
Attitude is important to creating attainable goals and staying motivated. Hammer notes that changes in weight and body composition occur slowly and expecting immediate change is unrealistic. “It’s like an investment,” he says. “I’m investing in my future, and that attitude is very, very important because in the long run, this may prove to be a much healthier and longerlasting approach to health and fitness.”
Balance incorporates physical, social, intellectual, spiritual and emotional aspects of life, Hammer says. And each area can be explored for better overall life balance. For instance, in the physical realm, a balance of proper diet, physical training and rest are needed.
Hammer agrees with Brockes that an honest assessment of goals is important. “Stop worrying and really look at what you want. And based on that, forge out a plan—a little something toward your goal every day,” Hammer says. “Don’t try to accomplish everything in one day, week or month because that’s what makes people crazy and ultimately leads to failure.”
Remember, as the British said during World War II, “Keep calm and carry on.” An organized life is a healthy life, after all.