Tag - resolutions

How to keep your New Year’s fitness resolutions

If you’re one of the millions of Americans who will make a promise to improve yourself this New Year, there’s bad news: You’re 92 percent likely to fail in sticking to your resolutions, says a recent study from the University of Scranton’s Journal of Clinical Psychology.

About 45 percent of Americans make resolutions. Ranking at the top is losing weight, and staying fit and healthy ranks No. 5.

“Of course, those statistics represent the average – you don’t have to be average!” says Dr. Virender Sodhi, founder of the Ayurvedic and Naturopathic Medical Clinic, (ayurvedicscience.com), which provides complementary and alternative medicine.

“There are plenty of things individuals can do to improve their odds of success if they resolve to become healthier and fitter.”

Dr. Sodhi, author of the new guide, “Ayurvedic Herbs: The Comprehensive Resource for Ayurvedic Healing Solutions,” (www.ayush.com) believes we can move much closer to a world of disease-free societies by following the laws of Mother Nature. Individual commitment to health via New Year’s resolutions is one path to take us there. Dr. Sodhi offers five tips for staying true to your goals.

•  Get away from the instant-gratification mentality and avoid unrealistic goals. Don’t expect to go from zero to 60 – 60 being your ideal body image – in just a few months, especially if you have little background in training. Unfortunately, most who have resolutions like losing plenty of weight and quitting smoking are used to easy snack foods and quick rewards. Health is a long-term labor of love; commit to the love and wait for results.

•  Establish good habits! People make resolutions because they know they’re important, but they’re hard. With each passing week, more people drop their promises for self-improvement. You’ll want to set the right goals; if you want to lose 100 pounds, focus on the first 10, and then the next. Make sure to establish new and good habits – it takes about 28 days to stick. Once you train your mind with good habits, achieving your goals becomes much easier.

•  What you should expect from your “labor of love.” Frequency, intensity and time – these are the three investments you’ll need for losing weight or gaining muscle. As a general rule, exercise at least 30 minutes three to four times a week. Make sure to start with the appropriate intensity for your health; too little intensity and you’ll see little if any results, but too much and you’ll be prone to quit. Don’t think that it’s always better to exercise for a longer duration. What matters is quality. Increase time and intensity once you comfortably meet goals.

•  Solidify the gains with persistent positive reinforcement. Learn to reward yourself in a new way by paying attention to the gains in your body. Notice the improvement in stress levels, breathing, energy, sex life, mood and overall strength. While these improvements are wide-ranging and palpable, they increase over time and can be subtle. Don’t let these improvements occur without a personal recognition of your accomplishments.

•  Embrace supplemental support. Of course, all health efforts are connected to your overall well-being. When you make the investment to eat more vegetables, you’re reinforcing your commitment to exercise. Consider practices such as yoga and meditation, which will feed your health kick and provide unexpected benefits. Additionally, supplements such as kelp, green tea extract, Commiphora mukul (Guggul) and Bauhinia variegata (Kachnar) can yield even more health benefits. And, spices such as garlic, onion, black pepper, ginger, cinnamon, long pepper, and cayenne pepper all have important thermogenic properties, which stimulates metabolism.

About Virender Sodhi, M.D., N.D.

Dr. Virender Sodhi was the first Ayurvedic and Naturopathic physician in the United States. He is the author of “Ayurvedic Herbs: The Comprehensive Resource for Ayurvedic Healing Solutions,” (www.ayush.com) and founder of the Ayurvedic and Naturopathic Medical Clinic, (ayurvedicscience.com). Dr. Sodhi earned his M.D. (Ayurved) in 1980 from the Dayanand Ayurvedic Medical College in Jalandar, India. He served as a college professor in India until 1986, when the Indian government selected him to share Ayurveda with Western society as part of a cultural exchange program. He finished his fellowship in Integrative Oncology with Dr. Mark Rosenberg in 2012. Dr. Sodhi is a visiting professor at Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine in Scottsdale, Ariz., at the University of Washington School of Pharmacy, and at Des Moines University in Iowa.

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How to set resolutions you will actually keep

Everybody loves a new year. It’s a bright, shiny, fresh, clean slate. A vista unblemished by mistakes or regrets. A brand-new chance to make Those Changes and accomplish Those Things we’ve been meaning to do forever. Yet, undermining all this glorious potential is the hidden truth we’re aware of even as we proclaim that this time we’ll really lose 20 pounds or get out of debt or finally launch that long-dreamed-of business: New Year’s resolutions are nothing more than fairy tales we grown-ups tell ourselves.

That’s right. If you’re like 92 percent of Americans, you’re not going to keep those resolutions. What’s more, you know it. What you may not know, says Brian Moran, is why.

“The number one enemy of most New Year’s resolutions isn’t feasibility, a lack of know-how, or even a lack of motivation, though those things can come into play,” says Moran, coauthor along with Michael Lennington of the New York Times best seller The 12 Week Year: Get More Done in 12 Weeks Than Others Do in 12 Months (Wiley, 2013, ISBN: 978-1-1185092-3-4, $23.00, www.12weekyear.com). “The number one enemy of most resolutions is time.”

Think about it: It’s all too easy to procrastinate through January, February, March, and even longer. No problem, you think. I have over half a year left to do what I said I’d do. Even when July and August roll around, there are still enough months left in the year that you don’t feel a real sense of urgency. Next thing you know, the holidays are almost upon you. You’re still over your ideal weight, drinking too many sodas a day, working the same job, with less savings than you’d like. Too late to do anything now, you figure. I’ll try again next year.

“For many people, this depressing chain of events recycles on a yearly basis because far-away deadlines allow—even encourage—us to be slack on execution,” comments Moran. “Give yourself too much time and you will procrastinate. It’s just human nature.”

Ultimately, says Moran, effective execution happens daily and weekly and on a consistent basis. To perform at your best, you will need to get out of “annual mode” and stop thinking in terms of a 365 day year. That’s where the 12 Week Year comes in. It’s a system that works for businesses striving to meet their goals—and it will work for you, too.

“When you redefine the concept of a year, your life will change,” promises Moran. “A year is no longer 12 months; it is now only 12 weeks, followed by the next 12 Week Year, ad infinitum. Each 12 week period stands on its own.

“You no longer have the luxury of putting off critical activities, thinking there is ‘plenty of time’ left to meet your goals,” he adds. “When you have only 12 weeks, each week matters, each day matters, each moment matters. And the result is profound.”

Here, Moran offers eight ways to get yourself out of the annualized thinking trap—and into the much-more-productive 12 Week Year, where resolutions do come true:

Realize that success is created in the moment. According to Moran, most of us have a skewed definition of success. We see it as the end of the road: the completion of a project, the day you’re finally able to button your old pants, receive an award, etc. However, he argues, true success isn’t any of those things. It isn’t a list of all the clients you brought in over the course of a year, or the number you see when you stand on the scale on December 31. It isn’t something that happens only once at the end of a planning cycle.

“Success is all of the little things you do throughout the year to make your goals happen: reaching out to X number of prospects a day or getting up on cold mornings to run when you’d rather stay in bed,” he explains. “You just can’t reach your full potential if you put off critical activities. Success does not happen monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, or once a year; it happens daily, ultimately moment by moment. You succeed—or not—long before the results show it. When you adopt this definition of success, you’ll want to make the most of your time, not squander it. And the 12 Week Year can help.”

Redefine your relationship with deadlines. Most of us see deadlines (December 31st featuring prominently among them) as the bad guy. They’re always looming on the horizon, overshadowing our peace of mind and hassling us to work faster, or else. They make us nervous, resentful, or both. But what would happen if we thought of deadlines as good guys instead?

“Deadlines aren’t sinister in and of themselves—we only feel that way about them when we aren’t on track to meet them or when they’re unreasonable,” Moran asserts. “But realistic deadlines are actually great motivators. They are tools that can help you to hone your focus, increase your efficiency, and realize your full potential. When you think about deadlines this way, it makes sense to have more of them, not less! They can help you to create end-of-year energy, focus, and commitment throughout the year.”

Put a little less faith in your yearly planner. In other words, be realistic about your ability to plan ahead. Life—including what we want out of it—can (and often does) change in an instant. What you thought you wanted for yourself in January might not be what makes the most sense by the time July, or October, or December rolls around. Your circumstances and abilities may have changed. The truth is, even the most thoroughly thought-out annual plans are based on assumptions that are stacked upon earlier assumptions, which are stacked on even earlier assumptions—and a lot can (and often does) change from start to finish.

“Once you realize that there’s just not enough predictability to make annualized planning effective, the 12 Week Year begins to make a lot more sense,” Moran comments. “Personally and professionally, 12 weeks is about as far out as you can reliably plan. There’s a much stronger connection between the actions you take today and the results you want to achieve, because you don’t have to take as much of the future on faith. Who wants to waste time going partway down a certain path, only to realize that you were mistaken and should have taken a different turn?”

Keep score starting January 1st. As Moran has noted, it’s relatively easy to ignore or rationalize procrastination and low productivity when you have to look at the numbers only once a year. But when you start measuring your productivity, progress, and performance on a more frequent basis, you can’t hide behind the illusion that the present moment isn’t important. Measurement drives the execution process because it creates productive tension, or the uncomfortable feeling you get when you know you’re not doing the things you need to do.

“As the CEO of your own life, you need to have the courage to measure your performance in the areas that matter,” Moran says. “That’s much easier when your goals and tasks are broken down into 12 week increments. Effective scorekeeping prevents you from rationalizing lackluster results and forces you to confront the reality of your situation, even when it’s uncomfortable. While this can be difficult, the sooner you confront reality, the sooner you can shift your actions toward producing more desirable results.”

Be honest about your track record. How many promises and commitments do you welsh on in the course of 12 months? Probably more than you’d like to admit to. The fact is, at the beginning of the year, it’s all too easy to make promises and commitments. “Sure, honey, we can remodel the kitchen this year.” “Of course our department will reduce its operating costs by 15 percent this year.” Frequently, though, we fall short of our personal and professional commitments because over the course of 12 months, we encounter unforeseen obstacles, our priorities change, or our interest wanes.

“If you don’t want to be seen as someone who breaks commitments, drops the ball, and flakes, it makes sense to ditch annualized thinking,” Moran comments. “It’s much easier to say you’re going to do something—and then do it—within a 12 week time frame. As I have already pointed out, you can more accurately plan ahead, so you’ll make fewer mistakes, save time, and remain more focused. With these working habits, your results are not left up to chance. They are high in quality, and they are consistent.”

Stop saying “have to” and start saying “choose to.” As you pursue a long-term goal, it’s all too easy for your daily tactics to turn into daily have-tos. “I have to go to the gym.” “I have to spend an extra half-hour working on this project for my boss.” “I have to use that money to pay down my credit card, even if it means skipping a night out with my friends.” That’s a problem, because have-tos quickly turn into things we loathe—and if you loathe the things you need to do to accomplish a goal, you’re less likely to reach the finish line.

“There are no have-tos in life,” Moran asserts. “Everything we do in life is a choice. And when you look at tactics as choose-tos instead of have-tos, you’ll notice a big change in your attitude and motivation. Instead of feeling burdened and put-upon, you’ll feel empowered. Admit it: saying, ‘I choose to attend night classes so I can rise in my field’ feels a lot better than saying, ‘I have to attend night classes so I won’t be stuck in this job forever.’”

Be proactive, not reactive. Sure, modern life is hectic, and it’s easy to feel like there just aren’t enough minutes in the day to get everything done. But the truth is most of us don’t make the most of our time because we engage each day reactively instead of proactively. We are driven by input triggers—the phone rings, the email dings, a new task appears, someone knocks on your door, and off you go to solve the problem du jour. When you live reactively, it’s difficult, if not impossible, to stay focused on high-value activities.

“Even though annualized thinking gives us lots of time in which to procrastinate, we still feel overwhelmed because we use the ‘extra’ time on things that are low-value,” Moran explains. “That’s why 12 week planning is so beneficial. With an action-based plan, you don’t have to rely on input triggers to initiate your actions; instead, your plan triggers your actions. You can live with clear intention, organizing your life around your priorities and consciously choosing activities that align with your goals and vision.

“I’ll warn you: Making the reactive-to-proactive switch won’t be easy,” he adds. “You’ll have to become more comfortable with saying no, and you’ll have to crack down on procrastination. But in the end, you’ll get more of the right things done each day, and ultimately reach your goals faster and with greater impact.”

Celebrate your 12 week wins. Companies often throw end-of-year parties and receptions to celebrate growth, acknowledge outstanding achievements, bestow awards and bonuses, etc. On a personal level, you may promise yourself a reward if you keep your New Year’s resolutions. It’s very gratifying to be recognized for achieved goals. And, the promise of celebration—especially when you allow yourself to celebrate at the end of each 12 week period—gives us something to look forward to, motivating us to keep our noses to the grindstone when the going gets tough.

“Especially for goal-driven people, it’s tempting to always look at what lies ahead and not fully appreciate the ground that has already been covered,” notes Moran. “The 12 Week Year presents, at a minimum, four times as many opportunities to recognize and celebrate your progress and accomplishments. It might be a three day weekend or a weeklong vacation; the important thing is that you take time out to reflect, regroup, and reenergize.”

One more great thing about switching to a 12 Week Year: Because there’s a built-in reset every few months, you can switch gears when you realize something isn’t going to work.

“We all know how demoralizing it is to realize that a year-end goal is just not going to happen,” says Moran. “By July, it’s already clear that you’re not going to be able to sock away as much into your retirement account as you wanted to. Or in September, you have to admit that you’re not going to be able to lose the 30 pounds you pegged for your resolution. And because annualized thinking is so ingrained in your worldview, you automatically assume that you’ll just have to wait months to try again.

“It’s not uncommon for individuals and even entire organizations to have mentally given up on their goals before October,” he concludes. “With the 12 Week Year, that will never happen again. Every 12 weeks you get a fresh start—a new year! So if you’ve had a tough 12 Week Year, you can just shake it off, regroup, and start again. If you’ve had a strong 12 Week Year, you can build on that momentum. Either way, you can more quickly transition into something new instead of spending weeks or months waiting for a chance to start fresh.”

About the Authors:
Brian P. Moran is founder and CEO of The Execution Company, an organization committed to improving the performance and enhancing the quality of life for leaders and entrepreneurs. He has served in management and executive positions with UPS, PepsiCo, and Northern Automotive and consults with dozens of world-class companies each year. As an entrepreneur, he has led successful businesses and been instrumental in the growth and success of many others. In addition to his books, Brian has been published in many of the leading business journals and magazines. He is a sought-after speaker, educating and inspiring thousands each year. Brian lives in Michigan with his wife, Judy, and their two daughters.

Michael Lennington is vice president of The Execution Company. He is a consultant, coach, and leadership trainer, and is an expert in implementing lasting change in organizations. He works with clients in the U.S., Europe, Asia, and the Middle East to help them implement corporate initiatives that drive sales, service, and profitability. Michael holds a BS from Michigan State University and an MBA from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. He lives with his wife, Kristin, and their children in northern Michigan.

About the Book:
The 12 Week Year: Get More Done in 12 Weeks Than Others Do in 12 Months (Wiley, 2013, ISBN: 978-1-1185092-3-4, $23.00, www.12weekyear.com) is available at bookstores nationwide, from major online booksellers, and direct from The 12 Week Year at www.12weekyear.com.

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Use Spirituality to Keep Resolutions, Doctor Advises

Job deadlines – or job searching – has begun anew, and the stresses of bills, kids in school again, and the sometimes endless treadmill of daily life can make us forget those New Year’s resolutions we made not so very long ago.

Physician and healer Amnon Goldstein, who has earned an international reputation for his practice of both Western and Eastern medicines, says it’s time to slow down and re-evaluate.

“You’ve heard it said before and you know it in your heart, but it’s the external pressures that leave us feeling stressed, depressed, disappointed and overwhelmed,” says Goldstein. “Add to that the lingering economic troubles, families in flux and all of us working harder just to maintain our standard of living and it’s easy to forget the most person to take care of first is – you.”

Those resolutions to exercise more, eat healthier foods, meditate or otherwise tend to spiritual needs, they should be priorities, Goldstein says. They will ensure you’re stronger, happier, and better able to manage the external pressures, maybe even with a smile.

Quiet contemplation and a focus on spiritual growth – no matter one’s religion or beliefs – will lead to a clearer vision of how to accomplish the goals set for this year, Goldstein advises.

“Spirituality is no longer linked only to religion,” says Goldstein, the author of the recently released book Screwed: The Path of a Healer (www.iuniverse.com), a title that reflects the twisting nature of his global journeys as a healer and his own experiences with depression, divorce and illness.

“More and more people understand that they must nurture both body and spirit, which is why they make the sorts of resolutions they do. No matter how difficult your life, it will become easier and more joyful if you keep to those goals.”

Israeli-born Goldstein has practiced medicine around the world using conventional Western, traditional Eastern and less-familiar spiritual and mystical methods. In Screwed, he chronicles the path to wellness, understanding and enlightenment, a journey that takes the traveler to unexpected places.

Goldstein has known the horrors of war, witnessed the birth of new nations and experienced the mysterious healing powers of unconventional medicine. As a physician he has explored unconventional approaches to age-old physical and mental health challenges, embracing an over-arching philosophy that a life well-lived is not one which follows a straight or uncomplicated path.

Goldstein advocates proper nutrition as the basis for good health (no overeating, no dairy, no sugar), and exercise and meditation as the foundation of healthy living.

“We can live healthier and more fulfilled lives by looking inward,” Goldstein says. “Most of us will find that we have everything we need to celebrate the holidays in one form or another – either a healthy family, a warm home or some aspect of our lives that brings meaning. Expectation of perfection at this time of the year is toxic to our minds and spirits. Every healing is self-healing, but we need to take the time in the midst of our busy lives to take care of ourselves.”

About Amnon Goldstein, M.D.

Amnon Goldstein is a physician with more than 40 years of experience in conventional Western medicine and holistic and Eastern medicine. He has specialized in trauma care, vascular surgery and hypnosis, and has done in-depth study into the evolution of HIV and cancer research and treatments. A resident of Florida, Dr. Goldstein retired from medicine but continues to travel the world, learning, teaching and sharing with others the healing powers within each person. He is the father of three grown children.

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Use Spirituality to Help Keep Resolutions

It’s Not Too Late to Make Good on those Resolutions!

Let Your Spirituality Be Your Guide, Says Noted Doctor

The new year is already well under way. Job deadlines – or job searching – has begun anew, and the stresses of bills, kids in school again, and the sometimes endless treadmill of daily life can make us forget those New Year’s resolutions we made not so very long ago.

Physician and healer Amnon Goldstein, who has earned an international reputation for his practice of both Western and Eastern medicines, says it’s time to slow down and re-evaluate.

“You’ve heard it said before and you know it in your heart, but it’s the external pressures that leave us feeling stressed, depressed, disappointed and overwhelmed,” says Goldstein. “Add to that the lingering economic troubles, families in flux and all of us working harder just to maintain our standard of living and it’s easy to forget the most person to take care of first is – you.”

Those resolutions to exercise more, eat healthier foods, meditate or otherwise tend to spiritual needs, they should be priorities, Goldstein says. They will ensure you’re stronger, happier, and better able to manage the external pressures, maybe even with a smile.

Quiet contemplation and a focus on spiritual growth – no matter one’s religion or beliefs – will lead to a clearer vision of how to accomplish the goals set for this year, Goldstein advises.

“Spirituality is no longer linked only to religion,” says Goldstein, the author of the recently released book Screwed: The Path of a Healer (www.iuniverse.com), a title that reflects the twisting nature of his global journeys as a healer and his own experiences with depression, divorce and illness.

“More and more people understand that they must nurture both body and spirit, which is why they make the sorts of resolutions they do. No matter how difficult your life, it will become easier and more joyful if you keep to those goals.”

Israeli-born Goldstein has practiced medicine around the world using conventional Western, traditional Eastern and less-familiar spiritual and mystical methods. In Screwed, he chronicles the path to wellness, understanding and enlightenment, a journey that takes the traveler to unexpected places.

Goldstein has known the horrors of war, witnessed the birth of new nations and experienced the mysterious healing powers of unconventional medicine. As a physician he has explored unconventional approaches to age-old physical and mental health challenges, embracing an over-arching philosophy that a life well-lived is not one which follows a straight or uncomplicated path.

Goldstein advocates proper nutrition as the basis for good health (no overeating, no dairy, no sugar), and exercise and meditation as the foundation of healthy living.

“We can live healthier and more fulfilled lives by looking inward,” Goldstein says. “Most of us will find that we have everything we need to celebrate the holidays in one form or another – either a healthy family, a warm home or some aspect of our lives that brings meaning. Expectation of perfection at this time of the year is toxic to our minds and spirits. Every healing is self-healing, but we need to take the time in the midst of our busy lives to take care of ourselves.”

About Amnon Goldstein, M.D.

Amnon Goldstein is a physician with more than 40 years of experience in conventional Western medicine and holistic and Eastern medicine. He has specialized in trauma care, vascular surgery and hypnosis, and has done in-depth study into the evolution of HIV and cancer research and treatments. A resident of Florida, Dr. Goldstein retired from medicine but continues to travel the world, learning, teaching and sharing with others the healing powers within each person. He is the father of three grown children.

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