Tonight is New Year’s Eve, so resolutions are a hot topic today! But did anyone really achieve their 2012 resolutions, or can you even remember what they were? For help with setting realistic resolutions and how to attain them, I asked performance coach Matt Nichol for his insights. Matt owns Paragenix Systems that deals primarily with professional and Olympic athletes. Matt was also the long-time trainer for the Toronto Maple Leafs hockey team, and here’s what he had to say…
1. FOCUS ON THE PROCESS, NOT THE OUTCOME
Many experts say “focus on specific and measurable goals”. While goal setting is important, what is more important is to focus on habits and practices in order to make those goals a reality.
Example 1: “I want to lose weight”… This goal is too vague. It has no specificity, no measurability, no timeline for completion, and thus, very limited chance of real success.
Example 2: “I want to lose 10lbs of bodyfat by March 1st”… This is an outcome goal that is measurable and with a date of completion – but is missing a critical element – How are you going to make this happen? A better method is to focus on process goals, such as…
Example 3: “To lose 10lbs by March 1st, I need to”… If you achieve the below goals, you will reduce body fat and improve your health – without focusing on the outcome specifically.
- Get to sleep 30min earlier every night
- Get out of bed 30min earlier every morning
- Exercise intensely for 30-45min every day
- Plan meals in advance and bring a healthy lunch to work each day
- Eliminate the junk in my diet (juice, soda, desserts, friend foods)
- Replace with nutritious foods (green vegetables, lean protein, water)
2. SLEEP BETTER
Generally speaking, an optimal sleep schedule would see you sound asleep for a minimum of eight hours per night, ideally between 10:30pm and 6:30am. This may not be achievable, but everyone can do a little better! Simple tips to enjoy more restful and restorative sleep include:
- Do not consume caffeinated beverages within 6 hours of bedtime.
- Enjoy 30 minutes “wind-down” time before bed (ie – no computer, phone, TV, etc).
- Try a warm bath or shower followed by light stretching or restorative yoga postures.
- Keep your i-phone or blackberry far away from your head while sleeping.
- Make sure your room is pitch black.
- Try reading something enjoyable before bed! This is one of my personal resolutions!
3. EAT AND DRINK BETTER
You are what you eat!!! While most people know to limit the quantity of calories, I focus on maximizing the QUALITY of nutrition that my clients are consuming. I have yet to meet someone who got fat because they ate too many organic vegetables, wild fish or organic/free range meats!
Addition before Subtraction… “Why French Women Don’t Get Fat” author Mireille Guiliano says, “French women think about good things to eat… American women worry about bad things to eat.” Before you worry about which macro nutrients to eliminate (Low-Carb or Low-Fat diets) analyze areas where you can increase your intake of healthy nutritional foods. Eating more green vegetables is a good place to start for most people.
No More Juice… Replacing calorie containing beverages (juice, soda, etc) with water is an easy way to significantly reduce calorie and refined sugar consumption.
Eliminate Wheat… Read why eliminate wheat, and consider getting tested for gluten tolerance.
Eat Fat to Get Lean… Fatty acids are the building blocks of every cell in the human body and are essential to proper brain and nervous system health. Some dietary fats (Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Mono-Unsaturated Fats) actually enhance fat loss when used properly. Healthy fats that you should include in your diet are: Coconut Oil, Avacados, Flax Seed, Fatty Cold-Water Fish.
Plan Ahead… Avoid Emotional Eating! Many overweight or underweight people suffer more from time-management problems than nutritional problems. Planning meals in advance reduces eating poorly due to stress, boredom, depression, etc.
To read more from Matt Nichol, he has a Paragenix Systems blog and e-newsletter. Matt’s also on twitter as @M_Nichol
Good luck everyone with your New Year’s resolutions!!
Image Sources: fashion gone rogue, the preppy time tumblr, google images