I’m a terrible New Year’s resolution maker, but I’m not alone. Only 8 per cent of people succeed with their resolutions. I’m not even very good at trying to think of one. “Lose weight.” Sounds too much like punishment. “Eat better.” Aren’t I already trying to do that? “Live life to the fullest.” I just need a bit more money to do that properly. I did make a New Year’s resolution two years ago, and it was a pretty passive one: Don’t say no to a workout. This time of year I’m supposed to be writing positive stories about resolutions, motivating readers to make their lives better and healthier. So I asked Dai Manuel, a lifestyle mentor and coach, and author of the Whole Life Fitness Manifesto, to help me change my attitude. Here are his tips.
Forget resolutions: Think solutions
Resolution is too large a word for folks like me, suggests Manuel. “Make small daily tweaks that fit into your already busy lifestyle,” he says. “You aren’t reinventing the wheel here, just upgrading the rims. Once you start to have little wins, they will continue to motivate you for the big wins. And eventually you won’t be thinking ‘I should’ or ‘I have to,’ but ‘I want to.'”
We spend too much time quantifying our goals—it should be more about behaviour, says Manuel. Forget the sets and reps and number of times you hit the gym. “Life does happen, and we have to roll with that. If we start to think about health and fitness as ‘moving with purpose’ each day, which could include getting a short, brisk walk in, striving to hit 10k steps or doing a 15-minute body-weight workout in your living room, that’s doable. That’s sustainable. And at the end of the day, a body in motion likes to stay in motion.”
Detoxes don’t work
This is also the time of year when we’re supposed to be doing detoxes and cleanses. I always fail at them, and can’t seem to complete even the shortest ones. “It’s a Band-Aid, short-term solution to a much bigger problem,” says Manuel. “You can try all you want to make it work, but eventually your mind says enough is enough.” Suddenly I don’t feel like such a failure.
Instead, Manuel suggests that I ask myself why I want to do a detox: Is it to lose weight? Get back on track? Get rid of toxins? Answer that and find your “solution.” Don’t worry about eliminating foods (ahem, sugar!) or nutrients (why is it so hard to say goodbye to carbs?). “If there’s one thing I can’t recommend enough, it’s instead of focusing on the numbers, focus on the nutrients.”
Now that my attitude is better, I’ve got to think of a New Year’s resolution that I will stick with. Happy 2017.