The days of partying all night on New Year’s Eve are, for me, long gone. In fact, truth to be told, we rarely stay up late enough to watch the ball drop, so we celebrate New Year’s with the four kiddos at midnight French time (my husband is French), which means by 3:15 pm in California, we could call it a day if we were so inclined. In the evening of New Year’s Eve, after the kids are tucked in, my husband and I now have a tradition of revisiting our mission statement and our goals, both individually and as a family.
Supporting my health is always at the top of my list, and for 2013, these are my health-related goals. I want to:
- Act (and measure) without judgement
If you are a brand new runner, for instance, don’t worry if you can only run a quarter mile. Do it anyway, and do it again tomorrow. Breezily note the mileage, but resist the urge to judge it. It is non-partisan feedback; merely a metric that will actually be motivating soon enough. Stop giving all the power to the end result, and start celebrating your participation in the process. Half the battle is just suiting up and showing up, and sometimes winning even half the battle is enough to keep me motivated in the fight. And like an unwatched pot, before you know it, your numbers will creep on you, and you’ll be running one mile, then two, then a 5K. But it happens so much more pleasantly if you can dodge the judgment bullet.
- Root my decisions in self-love
I once heard that the best diet is self love. Corny, perhaps. But actually quite true. If I truly want to eat for better health, or lose weight, then I must ask myself before I indulge in, say a piece of chocolate cheesecake, “is this truly a loving choice?” Note that the answer might be yes! If I am celebrating my ten year anniversary with my husband and we had cheesecake on our first date (just an example; we had sea bass), then probably bending my normal rules this one time is the loving thing to do. Often, framing my choices in the “what is truly most loving to myself” framework keeps me on track in terms of diet and exercise goals. And, it allows me to work out in celebration of my body, not in punishment. I find joy in feeling stronger, not just in “getting skinnier.”
- Focus on consistency
I try to exercise about an hour every weekday, and work it into my schedule, no matter how busy I am. Sometimes, that means only a 20 minute workout. Instead of beating myself up, I celebrate having done the workout at all. I find that small consistent steps count far more than sporadic big ones. On crazy-busy days, I even give myself complete permission to do a 10-minute workout, and it’s just enough to get me to do it (I have a hard time making the argument that I can’t find ten minutes in even the busiest of days!). Just starting usually creates enough traction that I somehow manage at least 20 minutes (and if not, that’s OK, too).
- Do truly my best and then, let it go
We can be so hard on ourselves. I want to honor myself by letting myself off the hook once I have done my best. If a ten minute workout is all I can truly do without sacrificing my well-being (which comes from being well-rested, spending time with family, etc), then I accept that as my best and move on. No guilt allowed. The flip side to this freedom from guilt: Getting honest with myself about whether I am making excuses, or if I am just being loving to who I am and the schedule I sometimes need to keep. The more I practice self-love, the more discerning I become about knowing the difference between cutting myself some loving slack (good) and slacking off (not so good).
- Eat raw fruit or vegetables at every meal
Simply put, this easy action makes a huge difference in how I feel (and how much I weigh). I’m a veggie smoothie fanatic; it’s a great way to start the day!
- Get a mammogram.
I’m 44, so it’s on my list.
What are YOUR health goals for 2013?
Happy New Year!
Catch Melissa on the new season of Drop 5 Lbs With Good Housekeeping, premiering January 19th at 10:30am ET. Mom of four, television host and cookbook author Melissa d’Arabian (www.MelissadArabian.net) embodies family home cooking at its finest. With a lifelong passion for cooking and varied life experiences, Melissa naturally connects with today’s diverse families as she shares empowering food and lifestyle solutions that are part of a bigger story about how to eat well, be a responsible consumer and spend with purpose — all while putting satisfying family meals on the table every day. Follow Melissa on Twitter and Facebook.