Instead of coming up with some vague New Years resolution this year that I’d stick to for all of three weeks, I decided instead to set two goals per month in an effort to develop healthy habits. My goals for the month of January were to exercise for 210 minutes per week and to cut out fast food.
I can’t say I stuck to either goal perfectly. Not that I’m expecting perfection. In fact, “good enough” is good enough for me. But I didn’t get in 210 minutes of exercise for two of the four past weeks. This is unacceptable, since it is a completely reachable goal.
The fast food ban was a little easier to adhere to. I grabbed a burger and fries only a handful of times in the last month. But when I did, I refrained to ordering the giant-size calorie bomb with a side of bacon and opted instead for a more modest order of a small burger, which I ate with only the bottom half of the bun, and small fries.
Even so, I’d be forced to declare the month a total wash if I was measuring it on formal goals alone. But I also made some other strides, specifically in joining Weight Watchers after admitting to myself that “trying to avoid most carb-laden junk food” as a diet plan wasn’t really working. And despite the struggles I had in sticking to the WW plan last week, I’m not ready to give up on WW altogether.
My New Years resolution plan all along was to build on, instead of replace, each month’s goals. So I’ll continue to strive to getting in 210 minutes of exercise each week and to avoid fast food restaurants. I’m adding two goals for February: Eating meals mindfully and getting some exercise outside of the gym at least once a week.
One of my biggest bad habits is eating meals and snacks in front of the television, while curled up with a book, on the computer or while driving. I think some of this is psychological: I don’t feel I deserve to enjoy my food, or if I’m not concentrating on eating “bad food,” it doesn’t count. It’s also situational: I’m often pretty busy and it saves time to eat lunch at my desk while answering e-mails or in my car while driving to a meeting.
But it also makes food less satisfying and causes me to eat more than I need to to feel satisfied. By really focusing on the taste and texture of what I’m eating, I’ll likely feel more full. It will also force me to think twice before shoving junk food in my mouth.
Getting out and trying new forms exercise — whether it’s enjoying a walk outside, trying a Zumba class or finding an indoor tennis court — will help me continue to enjoy working out instead of seeing it as a chore. Going along with this goal is a plan to start asking friends to meet up for a hike or an aerobics class instead of for lunch or dinner. I socialize a lot with friends over food, which is bad for my diet and my wallet.
Despite the setbacks and failures I’ve had over the past month, I have to say that I feel hopeful about making the changes I know I need to make. I have a long journey ahead of me, but I feel like I can continue walking down the path. Thanks to everyone who has visited this blog over the past month. I’ve had more than 500 views in the past 30 days, and I’m so happy to have a group of readers who are supportive and understanding.
Let’s make it a great February!
Your turn: What’s your goal for February? What are your strategies to accomplish it?