What is your New Years Resolution? Many people had New Years Resolutions this year and some of the popular categories were Getting in Shape, Quitting Smoking or Making/Saving Money.
People generally start out the new year with big plans and major goals, however the majority of these people never accomplish these goals and in the end going back to their old ways. This can be clearly seen with the large influx of people that appear at all gyms in early January and then the crowd slowly disappates back to normal by the end of January. It’s often sad that so many people cannot even stick to their goals for an entire month.
So why do so many people fail at upholding their New Years Resolution?
(1) Unrealistic Expectations - often times it’s better to aim too low than to aim too high. If you set the bar too high your doomed from the start. Trying to accomplishing your goals will interfere with your normal life and you won’t be able to pull it off. Make sure that you set realistic goals.
Instead of a sweeping declaration like “I will lose 30 pounds by March and finally fit into that size 4 dress,” target a goal that’s more attainable, like losing 10 or 15 pounds by April.
You can also take baby steps and plan to lose 10-15 pounds by April and then another 10-15 pounds by July. This will make it easier to reach your goals.
(2) Too Many Goals - don’t overload yourself with too many goals, it’s hard enough to follow through on one ambitious New Year’s resolution, two or three will be harder, four or five is getting a little ridiculous.
Choose the most pressing issue at hand which is bothering you the most and focus on that goal.
Focusing on one goal is much easier and has a much higher success rate than trying to focus on several simultaneously.
(3) Not writing down your goals - many people make the mistake of not writing down their goals. By doing this they are unable to clearly define their goals or the steps required to achieve them. They also need to mark their progress to help them reach their goals within the necessary timeframe.
Getting in Shape
Here are some easy ways to help you reach your New Years goal of getting into shape:
(1) Replace calories obtained from drinks with water.
The average non-diet soda contains 120 calories (mainly from 8 teaspoons of sugar with no nutritional value), so if you drink 6 sodas a day that’s 720 calories that you are drinking.
It’s true that diet soda contains 0 calories however it also contains substances that mimic sugar in taste and function, so they can still spike your blood sugar levels and cause your body to pack on fat.
Avoid the following drinks:
Soda - 120 calories
Light Beer - 100 calories
Cocoa - 135 calories
Tonic Water - 140 calories
Beer - 150 calories
Champagne - 200 calories
Lemon aid - 395 calories
Replace them with the following drinks:
Water - 0 calories
Coffee - 0 calories (without sugar and cream)
Herbal Tea - 2 calories
Sobe Lean - 10 calories
Diet Snapple - 15 calories
Vegetable Juice - 40 calories
Grapefruit Juice - 90 calories
(2) Try to eat 2 protein bars a day between meals. They have to be the right protein bars as some protein bars are such as powerbars are way too high in sugars and simple carbs.
Look for the protein bars with low sugar (5 grams or less), low fat (5 grams or less), and as close to 50-50 protein-complex carb balance as possible (typically around 30 g of each). Some good options are Pure Protein, Met-RX Protein Plus, EAS Carb Sense, and Myoplex.
Eating these two protein bars a day will add more meals to your diet which will speed up your metabolism and cause you to store less fat. They will also cause you to reduce the size of your regular meals and make better food choices in your regular diet.
(3) Have a casein protein shake as a night time meal an hour before bedtime and avoid carbs and other junk foods at night.
Most of the foods that you consume at night, especially simple carbs and sugars are still being broken down after you go to sleep for the night. Your body is no longer using these quick sources of energy therefore they end up being stored as fat.
It’s much better to consume a slow digesting casein protein at night that takes 7-12 hours to digest over the entire course of the night.
(4) Avoid drinking alcohol except on special occassions.
Drinking alcohol too much has a far more damaging effect than you can predict simply by looking at the number of alcohol calories in a drink.
Not only does drinking alcohol reduce the number of fat calories you burn, alcohol can increase your appetite, raise your estrogen (male and female) and lower your testosterone levels for up to 24 hours after you finish drinking. Your metabolism is working to handle the alcohol rather than process and burn regular calories that you have consumed.
(5) Replace bad calorie foods with good calorie foods.
You can often achieve close to the same taste with a lower fat and lower calorie alternative. Below are lower calorie substitues for several higher calorie, higher fat ingredients.
Ingredient - Substitute
* 1 oz Baking Chocolate - 3 Tbsp. cocoa
* 1 Egg - 2 egg whites
* Butter/Shortening - Replace 1/2 fat with a fruit puree, banana or prune
* Cream Cheese - Reduced fat cream cheese
* Fudge Sauce - Walden Farms Calorie Free Chocolate syrup
* Whipping Cream - Equal portions of half-&-half and evaporated skimmed milk (not for whipping)
* Light Cream - Equal portion of 1% milk and evaporated skim milk
* Mayo - Reduced fat mayonnaise or reduced fat sour cream (for salads and dressings)
* Nuts, Coconut - Reduce amount called for & toast nuts to enhance flavor
* Oil (in baking) - Equal amount of applesauce or, 1/2 oil & 1/2 applesauce
* Shortening - Replace up to 3/4 of shortening with apple butter or fruit puree.
* Sour Cream - Low fat sour cream low far yogurt.
* Whipped Cream - Chilled evaporated milk, whipped.
(6) Run for 12-15 minutes in the morning on an empty stomach immediately after waking up.
The best cardio routines are shorter intense workouts such as sprinting. Too much cardio burns muscles. Ignore the calorie meters on treadmills and elipticals, the majority of calories burned from working out happen the hour after the workout and not during the actual workout itself!
Also studies show that doing cardio first thing in the morning on an empty stomach burns three times more fat than doing the same exercise later in the afternoon.
(7) Lift weights in the gym for 45 minutes for 3-4 days a week.
With the proper lifting routine you only need to lift for each muscle group once a week to allow for recovery. You also do not need to do more that 3-4 exercises for larger muscles groups and 2-3 for the smaller muscles. You can to 3-4 sets for 5-6 different exercises, with 90 second breaks in between within a 45 minute period.
Many people feel that when it comes to lifting the more weight they lift the stronger they get and the longer they lift for the bigger they get. But this is not true. You don’t want to over train and sometimes less is more!
You can achieve the same goals with a 45 minute lifting regieme than you can with a 90 minute regieme, with only half the work. HAHAHA! It’s true!
(8) Get a doctor to do a complete hormone profile.
Most people have trouble losing weight because they don’t know how to do a proper diet and exercise routine, however some find out that there is either a surplus or a shortage of a particular hormone.
This may include high cortisol levels (stress hormone), low testosterone levels, high estrogen levels, low IGF-1 levels, high blood sugar, etc.
These conditions can be corrected with prescription medications and may totally help you to reach your fitness goals. Go to your doctor and request that he run a full blood panel and a hormone profile.
I smoked cigarettes for five years. I quit back in November of 1998 and I have not smoked a single cigarette since then. I was up to a pack a day at the time that I quit. So how did I quit?
(1) I gradually switched down from a higher nicotine/tar cigarette to a lower alternative. Baby steps.
I originally smoked Marlboro Reds containing 16 mg of tar, 1.2 mg of nicotine, and 15 mg of CO. I switched to Marlboro Lights for a few weeks which contained 10 mg tar, 0.8 mg nicotine, and 12 mg of CO. After 6 weeks of smoking Marlboro lights I switched to Merit Lights which contained 8 mg tar, 0.6 mg nicotine, and 10 mg of CO and then a few weeks later I switched to Merit Ultra Lights which contained only 4 mg tar, 0.3 mg nicotine, and 6 mg of CO.
This gradual reduction made it much easier to quit smoking. It’s much easier to quit smoking Merit Ultra Lights containing 4 mg tar, 0.3 mg nicotine, and 6 mg of CO than it is to quit from Marlboro Reds containing 16 mg of tar, 1.2 mg of nicotine, and 15 mg of CO.
(2) Nicotine Gum
I used nicotine gum to reduce the overall number of cigarettes that I would smoke in a day. Instead of smoking 20 cigarettes a day, I would smoke 12 and chew on small pieces of nicotine gum to make up for the other 8 times that I would typically smoke cigarettes.
The Japanese make a menthol and eucalyptus inhaler called, Paipo, that is extremely helpful with quitting smoking. I would inhale on one of these instead of smoking. This helps you to relax and it helps with the mental difficulties of quitting associated with being addicted to putting things in your mouth or moving your hand to and from your mouth.
(1) Start a coin account.
Save all your change in a jar. When the jar gets full bring it to the bank and open an account specifically for saving your coin money. Bring the empty jar home and return to the bank for a deposit everytime the jar fills up.
I started a coin account around 3 years ago and today I have $2,800 in my account just from the change that I have saved. Small amounts of change definitely do add up over time!
(2) Pay yourself $150-500 a paycheck.
If you have trouble saving money because you spend it all and live paycheck to paycheck. Try paying yourself immediately after receiving your paychecks.
Have a separate savings account and put a pre-defined amount of money in this account each time you have been paid. This account will grow over time.
$150 a paycheck on a bi-weekly, 26 paycheck a year scale = $3,900 a year.
$500 a paycheck on a bi-weekly, 26 paycheck a year scale = $13,000 a year.
(3) Put all your credit card balances on a zero apr credit card.
Some people pay as high as 20% APR on their credit card balances. This is $200 for every thousand borrowed. If you have $15,000 on a credit card you are paying $3,000 a year in interest alone.
Switch is balance to a credit card that offers 0% APR for 12 months and you will be borrowing this money for free. Same as cash!
(4) Reduce your utility bills such as cell phone, cable television, or internet access. New companies offer better deals every month, check to see if you are paying more than the going promotional rate. Chances are that you are paying too much.
My cable bill was $125 a month and they are offering the same service for $89 a month for new customers. One phone call lasting 10 minutes saved me $36 a month or $432 a year!
The energy-efficient, compact fluorescent light bulb above uses 80 percent less electricity, lasts 12 times longer, and produces 450 pounds fewere greenhouse gases and saves consumers as much as $30 over the life of each bulb than the traditional light bulb and the prices of these bulbs are now only 2-3 times that of a regular bulb.
The most important thing is following through with your goals. Write your goals down and track your progress as you attempt to achieve your goals. If you hit a mild set-back then write about ways that you can overcome this set back to still reach your goal in your predefined timeframe.
Happy New Year and Good Luck with achieving your Goals!