The collective pressure we feel on New Year’s Day in Denver is enough to discourage anyone from all the things we’re excited to accomplish in the new year. We go hard in December with all the things we want to STOP doing in January, or completely neglect those same things with the intention of starting them full on on this one (magical) day. Then we’re surprised on January 15th or 21st when we’re not really excited anymore, but discouraged because we’re not motivated or seeing much progress in our Denver fitness ventures.
This usual formula for how we treat Denver New Year’s resolutions and goals is a faulty approach that sets us up for failure and disappointment, particularly in the world of fitness.
People run on momentum. Little bits of energy create more energy, and more and more until we find a rhythm, a pace, and that’s where change starts to happen. It’s an illusion to think we can wake up on January 1st and have all the energy and willpower in the world to work for the body we want, when we’ve ignored that body for the past month or months. Most people fail at cold turkey attempts at change; they are unsustainable.
I’m trying something different this year. Instead of putting off the things I want to make a priority in the New Year, including a healthier body, I’m getting a small head start on them. I think of it as a practice period, because inevitably, new Denver habits take a while to form.
The month of December is like a launching pad for blasting off the success we want to experience in the Mile High New Year.
I know what you’re thinking: “But peanut butter balls! And Christmas cookies! And fudge! And wine! And parties! And all the work I have to get done before the holidays! I don’t have time to workout and I definitely don’t want to miss out on the most delicious time of year … I’ll just wait and suffer through the sugar withdrawals and motivation mustering once the holidays are over.”
I hear you, but now hear me out. Even the smallest steps we take to set ourselves up for Denver health and fitness success will make a difference. Every little bit of energy we put into our 2017 goals at the end of 2016 will show up and help us see change, sooner. Before we know it it’ll be February and we’ll be well on our way to real physical and mental transformation. That’s the kind of progress I want to see in my life, so I’m starting now with little daily and weekly efforts.
Here’s what I’m doing:
Work out 3 times a week
It’s so easy to neglect our bodies in the cold Denver winter months. All we want to do is bundle up, snuggle next to the heater, and move as little as possible except maybe to put some more marshmallows in our cocoa. As nice as this feels sometimes, I know it’s not good for my body or my mind/mood to be immobile. Physical activity is responsible for roughly 25% of our serotonin production; and I need my serotonin, especially in the cold Denver winter. If I can get 3 hours of cardio and/or muscle building work in, that’s enough to keep me happy and healthy for the time being, until I kick it up a notch in the coming months.
Eat clean except for party-time
I tend toward all-or-nothing habits. Which means if I’m not eating totally clean, I eat totally dirty. In the end of course, this just makes it harder for me to change my habits and not feel totally ew about my body. So I’m helping myself out by saving up my indulgent moments for the times I’ll really enjoy like the martini party this weekend, Christmas Eve, the potluck at work and of course, plenty of champagne on NYE.
Rest up now to start strong in January
Most of us go HAM in December, use up all our energy, and then are exhausted at the beginning of the year … just in time to be worn out for all our exciting goals. Instead of draining myself of precious generative energy this season, I’m taking at least two days a week to refuel on sleep, lock out the sickness that tries to creep in, and keep my body ready to get after it in January.
Whether it’s mental habits you want to change, behavioral patterns, lifestyle choices, daily routines, relationship boundaries, career focus or fitness goals, setting the foundations now will make the building a lot faster in the Denver new year. Start with a membership at Awaken, Denver’s Best Gym. It’s community-driven style and inspiring momentum are unparalleled in the Denver fitness industry: Don’t wait to initiate.