Don’t Give Up On Your New Year’s Resolution!

Tips: The first ingredient to success is to set goals that are realistic and achievable. They must be not only humanly possible, but also logistically feasible. Does it fit in the schedule? How long is the drive?

Next, add a pinch of joy. Goals should be enjoyable, not simply chores to be tackled because it’s the right thing to do.

Third, build support. Is the ohana on board? Solid support, whether it is a weight-loss challenge among co-workers, a workout partner or a skillful coach, is huge. I’ve been doing martial arts in the evening for many years. My family believes it keeps me sane. Although I know I am missed, the support is there. Finally, set a combination of short-term and long-term goals.

Here are some suggestions for the Wealth of Health:

Watch the mouth:

No amount of exercise will make up for a consistently unhealthy diet, especially in the absence of portion control. Start with those green vegetables and, if unaccustomed to fresh salads and raw greens, steam them lightly, Be sure to consume lean protein regularly, and easy on the carbs. Go for local, organic and non-GMO. If possible, get to the farmers market and make eye contact with the person who grew the food you will eat. Pick a vice and cut it back. Give up some sodas, smokes or a scoop of rice. Consider setting some goals about what comes out of the mouth as well. Negative chatter can be incredibly habitual. It has the potential to put us in the position of victims or victimizers and tends to detract from our mental health and human relationships and has no upside in business. The people I know well who make it a practice of not talking stink, regardless of the situation, seem to live in a better place. Still, there is no replacement for straight talk or for sharing what we truly feel. Suppression breeds illness as well.

Don’t forget, the mouth and nose are also for breathing. Notice that when we are angry or fearful, we tend not to exhale fully. Likewise, when people are emotionally down, their inhalation tends to be shallow. Consider taking five minutes each day to sit and reflect on the breath. Just notice the pattern. Guaranteed, this will cultivate the wealth of health.

Move the body:

When Americans think exercise we think “cardio” and “resistance” training. For cardio the best case is to get the heart rate up with a good sweat six days per week. Twenty minutes three times per week is the minimum. If you are overweight or over 40 and have not done much exercise, first get medical clearance to avoid a heart attack out of the gates. For resistance training, most people think weights, which is fine if the technique is solid. Swimming is terrific especially for those who, because of joint problems, need a low-impact activity.

Flexibility training is the essential third leg of the exercise tripod. Most of us spend a few minutes limbering up before a run or a weightlifting session but don’t take the flexibility training as seriously. It deserves equal time. Yoga is hard to beat if taught by a well-trained teacher, and almost anyone can enjoy it. Be more cautious with the big yoga chains that have commoditized the ancient art. Yoga is especially important for those who play sports that use one arm or that require the body to twist in the same direction each time such as golf, tennis or baseball. Manakai o Malama continuously sees joint injuries and sprains among those who have omitted flexibility training for too long. The determined streak that drives us to keep breaking our personal records for time or weight is a blast, but there comes a time in life when it is more important to stay physically healthy and pain-free for the long run. We see countless people in the clinic who, if they could go back in time, would let go of the personal record, to avoid lifelong pain or disability.

Cultivate the mind: Perspective is everything. I like to fish. It struck me once after pulling a big bull mahi onboard that for one person catching a fish is a legal way to kill, while the next person is harvesting a sacred life to feed the family. OK. Maybe most guys are, like, just fishing. The point is that perspective is everything, but there is a tendency to be so habituated, so close to it that we fail to recognize what really drives our actions. Taking just a few minutes each day to reflect, observe and reaffirm our New Year’s resolutions is worth a million bucks.

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