It's that time of year when we all start thinking about making a clean start, setting goals and resolutions, planning for the year to come. I don't know about anyone else, but I'm not really very good with this process, so every year it seems like I'm making exactly the same resolutions, because I didn't stick to them the year before. The goals that I've set throughout the year often remain unmet. Goal setting is an important part of many weight loss programs, so I've read a lot about the proper way to set a goal, focusing on making them achievable and measurable and all of that, but it doesn't really seem to stick. I start out strong, but quickly run out of steam. I always thought there was something wrong with me that I couldn't manage something as simple as setting a goal and following through on it (and maybe there is, maybe I'm the only one in the world who can't do this) but after a lot of thought, I think I'm going to try something different. Part of this is inspired by this article a friend shared on Facebook the other day, it made me think of things a little differently.
This year, I'm going to pay less attention to the goal setting and work on putting in place systems that help get me to where I want to be. So where do I want to be at the end of 2014? The biggest one is that I want to be healthier than I am now, and continuously working to be as healthy as I can be. I'm not even going to try to set a weight loss goal, it's just too hard to know how fast or slow I will lose weight, and I don't really want to stress over a number on the scale. Instead, I'll pay attention to how I feel/look (currently, my skin isn't looking so hot -- dry patches and acne, I'm tired, my nose is stuffy, and some pants that were fitting well are a little snug again). I will weigh myself once a month, just to see how it's going, but I don't want that number to be THE measurement of how my life is going. I have some other goals, but right now, this is the one I want to focus on, because it's the easiest one to make a plan for.
So what systems can I use to make this happen? For a start -- the best I've felt in a long time is when I was doing the Whole30 a few months ago, so I'm going to do another one starting tomorrow. (After the last Whole30, I stuck to mostly eating that way for a while, but lately I've gotten way off track with it, which explains the stuff above about how I feel.) I'm going to blog every meal I eat throughout the 30 days and probably even after that. After the 30 days are up, I plan to continue eating that way most of the time, doing strict Whole30s as needed to clean up my eating when I get off track, aiming for a balance where I can still enjoy going out to eat occasionally or having my favorite foods sometimes, but staying mostly on track and feeling good most of the time.
I also plan to add exercise to my routine -- nothing fancy, probably walking most of the time, maybe trying some exercise videos to change things up. I'd also like to incorporate some stretching or yoga, just because I remember feeling better when I used to do it. I know I need to add strength training but I find it a little intimidating, so I'll probably add that later. Right now, since I'm mostly sedentary, anything I do is going to be an improvement, but I know that over time, I'll have to make it more challenging. I'll revisit this when I get there. For now, 20 minutes, five times a week seems like a good place to start.
I'm also going to work on trying to get eight hours of sleep a night. I know it probably won't always happen, but I'm going to work on it. This means figuring out what time I need to get up in the morning and going to bed in time to get eight hours of sleep. It also means turning off the tv, computer, and phone at least an hour before bedtime. (I think the recommendation is two hours before, but I'm pretty sure that's not going to happen most nights.)
These three things -- food, exercise, and sleep -- seem to me to be the most important part of being healthy. There are other factors -- socializing, stress reduction -- but I think trying to address them too may be too much right now.
So, these are the things I intend to work on throughout the year. I'm sure everyone reading this has their own plans and dreams. I hope for all of us that a year from now, when we look back, we find that we've made some improvements in our lives, that we've had some good times, and that whatever troubles may find us in 2014 serve only to make us stronger rather than defeating us.