New Year, New Me. Keeping your 2018 Resolutions
I usually push aside any thoughts of New Year’s Resolutions. It’s not that I’m worried about breaking my resolutions, I just tend not to make them because I see no reason to wait for the new year to make a change. While I don’t have a list of New Year’s resolutions for 2018, I have made some changes in the past year that I plan to continue with.
My guess is that the number one New Year’s resolutions is to exercise more. Before my children were born I had a very physically demanding job. My metabolism was good and because of my job, I really didn’t feel the need to take time out of my day to exercise. I had my daughter and about a month after returning to work from maternity leave, I changed to a job where I was no longer getting the physical activity at work that I was accustomed to. A year after my son was born I wasn’t surprised when the extra weight from having a child wasn’t coming off with little effort. It was then that I started making a conscious effort to either exercise or engage in some sort of physical activity most days of the week. I’m happy to say I’ve kept that up for the last five years. I don’t always love working out. Some days it’s a mental battle to get it done, but I’ve never regretted a workout and I love feeling strong and energized as a result of my commitment to taking care of my body.
When exercise became part of my weekly routine, I used to workout at night when my kids were in bed. Having three little ones to look after while trying to exercise turned half hour workouts into hour long ones. For me, it was just easier to complete it later without the added distraction. The biggest drawback to evening workouts was that I was spent by the end of the day and it was easy to put it off until suddenly there was no more time left in the day. But I hated to miss a workout and for the most part, this arrangement worked for me. Recently, I’ve made a switch and have started waking up before anyone else to get my workout done first thing. Most mornings I am able to finish and shower before the kids are awake. I was finding evenings were getting busier, especially with the kids getting older, more things to do and later bedtimes. My evenings felt shorter and the workouts were happening later (sometimes as late as 10:30pm). I often worked out in the mornings on weekends and I really liked having the whole evening to do what needed to get done or just relax. This change has worked well for me and it’s something I plan to continue into the new year and beyond.
Many resolutions are related to better nutrition. Have you ever heard the terms, “You can’t outrun a bad diet” or “Abs are made in the kitchen”? I used to hear these and tell myself, “At least I’m working out.” I didn’t feel a need to change my diet, nor did I want to. But after a couple years of working out, I stopped seeing any changes or progression. I had plateaued. Since I was already working out, I knew that the only thing left to change was my diet. Looking back, my diet wasn’t horrible, but I was a “carb queen”. I loved anything crackers, bread, cookies, cereal and I still do. I didn’t go on a diet. I didn’t count calories. I didn’t restrict myself from eating the things I enjoyed. I was able to make this final change through simple portion control. I eat a variety of vegetables, fruit, protein, carbs and healthy fats. While I used to consume carbs anywhere from 6 to 8 times a day, I’m now down to 2 or 3. Instead I eat more fruit, veggies and protein and I’m actually eating more food than I used to. The biggest difference now is that I’m eating the proper portions and I’m fueling my body with healthier options. I didn’t have much weight to lose; it was one of those “last 10 pounds” sort of deal, but I am finally over the plateau. This is a change that I have been able and happy to maintain because I can still enjoy the foods I love.
While contemplating the changes I hope to continue in 2018, I started to think if there were some other changes I could make and a pretty important one popped in my head. In fact, I’m surprised I hadn’t thought of sooner until it was literally staring me in the face.
My to-do lists are usually pretty long. Once the kids are in bed I take full advantage to try and get as much done as possible, whether it’s doing chores, shopping or doing something for myself. The only drawback is that I tend to do too much in one evening and find myself staying up too late. No big deal if you can sleep in, but now I wake up early to squeeze in exercise and a shower before anyone else is awake. Being able to do this without interruption is pure bliss and to me is worth waking up before 6am. But last night after putting final touches on some teacher gifts, I set the alarm on my phone for an early wake-up call and taken aback when I saw “5 hours and 20 min until alarm”...What?! How did it get so late? Really, this is nothing new. I stay up late and get up early and it works for me because I can function quite normally on very little sleep. But I know sleep is important and everyone needs time to allow their bodies to refresh. So I decided that one change I could make in the season of New Year’s Resolutions is plain and simple: Get more sleep! Honestly I know this is going to be hard. There’s a certain amount of things I like to get done and having a Type A personality, it bothers me if I don’t accomplish these tasks. But if I’m going to make this change, something has got to give. For me that might mean having less tasks on my nightly to-do list or leaving the less important things undone. I also think that in order to accomplish this I need to give myself a set time to be in bed, otherwise I will lose track of time, as per usual.
Are you the type to make New Year’s Resolutions? Change is a good thing and if the new year ahead is the push you need to make that change, bring on the resolutions. But if change is necessary and needed, don’t wait until a new year to do it. Something will always come up and life presents plenty of opportunity to hide behind excuses. Truthfully, there’s no better time to start than today. Here’s to a happy and healthy 2018!