Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Make 2014 Your Healthiest Year Ever!
Set Big Health Goals With Tiny Steps To Accomplish Them

This was taken in 1989 (ignore the crazy perm.)
My 2014 health goal is to start running again.

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It's a New Year
Is there a health issue that is keeping you from experiencing life to the fullest? Are you tired of being tired, overweight, inactive, depressed? Are you feeling as though your calendar has more doctors appointments on it than dinner dates? Are you spending more on medications than vacations? Is there a bad habit that is running and ruining your life? Or are you feeling pretty good but you want to feel fabulous? Now is the perfect time to make a plan to turn things around!

Running - Good for the Heart in More Ways than One
25 years ago I became a runner. I'd like to say I began running for my health, but I actually starting running to attract this hot, young, good looking guy (who is now my hot, young, good looking husband.)

I was already 40 years old at the time and couldn't run around the block. Dancing was always my movement of choice. Throughout my life I took ballet, modern dance, ball room, jazz, anything dance. But I never ran and it's quite different.

Doug and I both worked at Rolm Systems at the time. It was one of the first Silicon Valley campuses that really encouraged exercise (years before the likes of Google.) They had a big, modern workout facility, racket ball courts, a swimming pool, and more. At 40 I was one of the oldest people on campus. All of my employees were these twentysomething-year-old engineers who were incredibly fit and very active in sports. I had just come from IBM corporate headquarters in New York where the demographic couldn't be more different.

I noticed that Doug jogged every morning. He was a soccer player so running came very naturally to him. I can't imagine what made me think I could ever keep up with this fit, 30 year old man, but I was motivated! 

I found a track nearby and started running. I couldn't even make it around once. My heart rate shot up and I thought my lungs were going to explode in my chest. Not a quitter, I started walking a bit, and running a bit. Eventually I made it around the track. I did a little better each day. In fact, twelve weeks later, Doug and I ran Wharf to Wharf together, a six-mile race from Santa Cruz to Capitola! It must have impressed him because we were married less than a year later.

Unfortunately, for a number of reasons, I stopped running. At 65, my desire to start running again seems a stretch but certainly not out of the question. It's never too late to get healthier and in better shape!

A New You
I'm always inspired when I think that most of our cells rejuvenate themselves within a year. So no matter what shape we are in (mentally and physically), we could do our very best to make sure we have great nutrition, fresh air, clean water, appropriate exercise, positive thoughts and nurturing relationships. After a single year you could be a whole new you! 

What's Your Biggest Health Goal This Year?
Although people generally have goals for their careers, starting a family, financial goals, etc., they generally don't have a health goal. For me, this is the most significant goal one can have and I always encourage people to pick a health goal - a big one. And then, take tiny steps to achieve it. Goals such as:

Stop smoking

Get your blood pressure down 

Lose 50 pounds

Have better sex (what's healthier that that?)

Adopt a healthy vegan diet

Get off type 2 diabetes medication with diet and exercise

Be able to run a mile, 3 miles, a marathon (whatever is a stretch goal for you)

Beat cancer

Give up your biggest unhealthy food addiction (red meat, soda, fried foods, ice cream)

Learn to control anger or stress

Have more energy

My health goal this year is to be more active and to run again. Ironically, while writing my eBook, Health Begins in the Kitchen, I spent less time being active and more time indoors creating and testing recipes or sitting on my butt writing. In addition, I crushed a toe a few years ago which led to a painful neuroma. Although it's healed to the point that I can once again walk for long distances, I haven't gotten back to running - the one exercise that makes me feel phenomenal (runners high and all.) When I ran I had a higher energy level, lower body fat, lower cholesterol, and higher spirits. So this is a great health goal for me.

Big Goals, Tiny Steps
Big goals are overwhelming, whether they are health goals, career goals, or others. The best way to start on a BIG goal, is to slice it up into TINY STEPS. Let's use my goal of running.

Tiny Step 1 
Make the goal specific: To finish a local 5K fun run by summer.

Tiny Step 2
Research the local fun runs and pick one. Print out the details and hang them on the wall for inspiration with the date and time. Register for the race.

Tiny Step 3
Put a training plan together. 
For example: 
Week 1: Get good running shoes.
Week 2: Find a cushy running track nearby and/or buy a used running machine with a soft bed.
Week 3: Run/walk 1 mile alternating walking 1/4 mile, running 1/4 mile, walking 1/4 mile, running 1/4 mile. Increase total and running distance incrementally timed out to reach the goal distance of 5K (3.1 miles) by the date of the race.

Not so Tiny Step 4
Develop a physical therapy plan if I have foot pain from my neuroma (chiropractor for orthotics, acupuncture for foot pain, more cushiony running shoes, etc.)

Tiny Step 5
Monitor running plan by week. Adjust plan if necessary but don't give up.

What's Your Health Goal?
What would you like to happen to your health in 2014? Go ahead, say it out loud. Write it down. Jot it on a post it and stick it on your bathroom mirror. Just having and articulating a goal is half the battle. Slice your goal up into tiny steps. Make a plan. Nothing is impossible! 


Cosmic said...

Gr8 post!


Unknown said...

Staying healthy is always the best plan to live a long life. But not everyone is fond of it simply because it’s very challenging, especially when they have to juggle work and various activities into the mix. But with your step by step plan, you make it sound easy and achievable by anyone. It’s really wise to start with tiny steps, so as to not get overwhelmed by the whole thing. Also, don’t forget to consult a specialist like a chiropractor or therapist to make sure the exercise and diet that you plan to follow is safe for our body. Thanks for sharing.

Vanessa Adams @ Chiropractic Wellness and Rehabilitation