What is it about the turning of the clock that makes us want to change ourselves? Well, perhaps not “change,” but improve or enhance. I think it must be the feeling of “starting fresh.” Like all dieters tend to do by starting their diet on a Monday rather than, say, a Wednesday.
I am a failure at resolutions. I’m not being self-deprecating. This is a fact. I know this because I recorded my 2011 New Year’s Resolutions here on the blog. These resolutions weren’t even newly professed — they were things that I had committed to doing in 2010 already during the year and still hadn’t managed to succeed at. (This is certainly a downside of keeping a public weblog — your successes and failures are out in the open for all to read.)
At the risk of doing “an Oprah” and outing myself for losing weight only to gain it again, this is exactly what I did in 2012. In January 2012, I started recording my food using an online tool called My Fitness Pal. Two of my friends have had amazing success at losing weight and keeping it off and they use this tool on a daily basis — even when they’re on holiday. So I decided to give it a try. By June, I had lost almost 20 lbs. I let things slide in the summer and now, in January 2013, I sit back at the same weight I started from. As you can imagine, it makes me wonder why I bothered in the first place.
And yet, I still feel the compulsion to make resolutions for the year ahead. While they are not weight-specific, I do need to adopt — and keep — a more active lifestyle. I am far too sedentary, and it will slowly kill me. Research has found that those who sit all day have:
- 147% increase risk of heart attack or stroke;
- 112% increase in risk of developing diabetes; and a
- 49% greater risk of premature mortality.
Why do I say “need”? Because I need to do what I can to be there for my kids’ futures and I need to ensure that I am not taking my health for granted when people close to me have had theirs ripped out of their hands against their will. Hubby is feeling this exact same need. He leads an extremely active lifestyle, so his resolution is different than mine but it is related to preserving our health and not taking it for granted.
In reading this article today in the Harvard Business Review, I again questioned whether I should pronounce a specific goal. The author recommends instead that we should adopt “an area of focus.” So as example, a goal would be to run a marathon this year, whereas an area of focus would be to focus on dramatically increasing my level of cardio-fitness. In the first instance, I might meet the goal but to the detriment of knees because I am so focused on the specific task at hand.
And yet, despite the evidence that I do not succeed at meeting new year’s resolutions and the points raised in the HBR article, I still feel a compulsion to have a specific, tangible goal to strive for. Why, I’m not sure. But I’m going to do it anyhow and it is going to be just one goal.
2013 New Year’s Resolution Goal:
To take 8,000 – 10,000 steps each day
For sedentary adults like myself, it is sometimes recommended to increase your steps by 2,000 to 2,500 steps a day. That would mean that I would be striving for 5,000 to 6,500 steps a day. But other recommendations use the magic “10,000” number. Although I am sedentary, I am in good health and know that I can do 10,000 a day when I put attention towards it. So I think the 8 to 10k is a reasonable goal that can help me form a habit and will result in greater health.
In another post, I will go through the steps I’m taking to integrate this goal into my daily life. If you’d like to join me, I’ve love company!
Happy 2013 to each of you. May it be a year full of laughter and love — and great health!