Tonight we’ll say “Goodbye, 2014” and “Hello, 2015!” The start of a new year offers the prospect of a fresh beginning, and, of course, the opportunity to resolve to do better. Such resolutions range from goals to lose weight, improve fitness, save money, pay down debt, spend more time with family, or stay on top of record-keeping. While we all start the new calendar year with great intentions, 92% of folks will fail to stick to their resolutions, according to a recent study from the University of Scranton’s Journal of Clinical Psychology.
That report says that nearly half (45%) of Americans make resolutions, and the number-one resolution is to lose weight. Of course, healthy living is something ranchers focus on as well. After all, production agriculture is a physically demanding job, and maintaining good health should be a top priority for those who want to stay active in the business.
If your resolution is to lose weight or gain muscle, Virdender Sodhi, founder of the Ayurvedic and Naturopathic Medical Clinic in Bellevue, WA, offers the following tips:
1. Avoid unrealistic goals.
Don’t expect to go from zero to 60 – 60 being your ideal body image – overnight. Unfortunately, most folks who resolve to lose a lot of weight or quit smoking are used to partaking in easy snack foods and desire quick rewards. "Health is a long-term labor of love; commit to the love and wait for results,” Sodhi says.
2. Establish good habits.
Sodhi says people make resolutions because they know the goals are important, but changing behavior to achieve such goals can be challenging. He recommends addressing your goal in stages. For instance, if you want to lose 30 lbs., focus on the first five, and then the next five lbs., until you reach your goal. It’s also important to establish new habits, which takes about 28 days to imprint, he says. “Once you train your mind with good habits, achieving your goals becomes much easier,” he says.
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3. Frequency, intensity and time are keys to success.
Sodhi says frequency, intensity and time are the three investments needed to lose weight or gain muscle. “As a general rule, exercise at least 30 minutes 3-4 times/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. What matters is quality. Increase time and intensity once you comfortably meet goals.”
4. Use positive reinforcement.
“Solidify the gains with persistent positive reinforcement,” advises Sodhi. “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. Don’t let these improvements occur without a personal recognition of your accomplishments.”
5. Be SMART about your goals.
Teresa Clark-Jones, Michigan State University Extension, echoes Sodhi’s comments about sticking to resolutions, and offers the following advice regarding setting achievable goals. She says the most effective goals are “SMART” goals.
Clark-Jones says, “SMART goals provide a framework for making decisions about what to do. Once accomplished, they can help you turn your dreams into reality. Why do so many people have difficulty reaching their goals? There are several frequently cited reasons. One is that the goal is too general. The more specific the goal, chances improve of completing the goal. Many of us have too many goals that we are working on at once. Narrow your list down to two or three goals and you will less likely become overwhelmed or give up. Many of us set unrealistic goals. This is particularly true with financial goals.”
So what does SMART stand for? Clark-Jones breaks it down into five easy-to-remember words.
Specific: The who, what, where, when, which and why part of the goal.
Measurable: This describes the action of the goal. How much? How often? How many? How will you know when it is accomplished?
Agreeable: All parties that are actively part of each of the goals need to agree on the action. Consider what attitudes, abilities and skills you will need. What overlooked opportunities exist?
Relevant/realistic: Is it important to you? Are you willing and able to work toward it? Do you truly believe it can be accomplished?
Timed: Establish a completion date. What is the time frame?
What are your goals for 2015? Share your resolutions and plans to succeed in the comments section below. I hope you enjoy your New Year’s Eve celebrations and happy 2015!
The opinions of Amanda Radke are not necessarily those of Beefmagazine.com or the Penton Farm Progress Group.
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