Are New Year’s Resolutions a Good Idea?

I asked many people over the Christmas break if they had any particular New Year’s resolutions, but most people said that they don’t believe in them. In fact most sounded utterly turned off by the idea of making some plans for January, convinced they would drop any commitment by February at the latest. So, are New Year’s Resolutions a good idea or do they just add unnecessary stress and pressure to the gloomy month of January?

If you look up resolutions in the dictionary then the first meaning is “finding a solution to a problem” and the second one “a decision to do something or behave in a certain manner”. After the festive season -with the benefit of a clean slate in the New Year-, I guess that time of year does lend itself well to making some resolute plans. I found that most people have strong doubts with regards to their own tenacity and determination, so the very reason for not making plans is because they do not trust themselves to see it through. So when people say to me “I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions”, they really mean “I don’t believe I will stick to it and see it through”.

We often count our failures and keep a long list of when we have let ourselves down. In addition we re-live those moments over and over when we account those stories to other people. After time it becomes a way of life. No doubt there are plenty of times when you haven’t let yourself down and success was the end result, yet often people let the negative weigh much heavier on the scales of experience.

behind the steering wheel

So, New Year’s resolution or not? Should you –out of fear of disappointment- just slide into the year and see where it gets you? Treat 2013 as just another year, another bleak January and wait for spring to come? Research and experience teaches us that having an intention and a purpose ultimately allows you to achieve so much more. There is this innate quality in people that thrives when having a goal to aim for. And then there is the question of being able to measure progress, something that the 21st century attitude is so keen on. By not having a target, you will never know whether you actually came anywhere near…

Of course my coaching head says to set some New Year’s resolutions, to go about your life with intend and re-set the goals along the way. Being behind the steering wheel is ultimately the place to be if you want to go places. Maybe you will surprise yourself this year, as you boldly step over the fear of letting yourself down. If your goal is important enough to you, then you won’t. But simultaneously you can’t control everything in life. Occasionally you need to stop the car and assess the scenery, the roads and signs along it. Somewhere in between lies the happy medium. You can live your life in any way you see fit, you can determine how 2013 will evolve for you, but at the same time read those all important omens that guide you along the way. The difference between those who live a successful life and those who do not, is only what they see and how they translate it to themselves. Successful people have an open mind to see opportunities and operate from a base-point that things will turn out well. Now there’s a philosophy worth living by.

Swim Yourself Fit

When you mention swimming as regular exercise to people, then most think about the nuisance of having wet hair (that’s us girls), the hazards of chlorine and the time consuming occupation of getting changed, getting wet and getting changed again. I certainly don’t believe that one type of exercise is superior over another (frankly, physical exercise is so low on most people’s agendas, that when you are doing any kind of exercise you’re onto a winner!) but swimming has a got a number of great advantages. Swim yourself fit.

swim youself fit

 

Benefits of swimming

  • If you are injured or not on top form in some way, then swimming is a great, low impact and very safe alternative for exercisers of all ages.
  • If you are making a come-back to exercise then you can ease into it safely by starting yourself off in the pool for the first 4-6 weeks. Swimming offers a whole body workout.
  • Aim to get up to 30min swimming, which means that you can get a workout done in relatively short time. Increase your intensity by increasing the speed you swim at and count the amount of lengths you swim.
  • You can target certain parts of the body by alternating your strokes or putting the emphasis on upper body (holding a float between the legs and “pulling” your body through the water) or lower body (holding a float with your arms out outstretched, “pushing” yourself through water with leg movements)
  • Swimming at the start of the day will completely refresh you and make you ready to launch into the day. Swimming at the end of the day is an excellent way of mobilising joints and stretching muscles that have been strained during work time.

 

There are quite a few studies that indicate that land based exercises are more effective for fat burning, but when exercising on a regular basis it is important to do something that you enjoy and something that beats the boredom many suffer from. Make swimming one of your weekly workouts (and jump in the sauna/steam after!) or break your routine from time to time to substitute it with a few weeks of swimming training. You will get a good training effect because you don’t swim on a very regular basis and no doubt you will get back to classes, gym, yoga etc with renewed energy.

 

Swimming during pregnancy

Of course there is a reason why I am writing a piece on swimming. With my ever growing bump and declining energy levels, I have recently re-discovered it myself. I’m still visiting the gym, but I just feel so much lighter and able bodied in the water. The veins in my leg that are under strain now -at 31 weeks pregnant- ease immediately when I enter the water. You need to be aware to alter the strokes you do, as swimming continually on your front can put pressure on the spine or on the abdomen. Take regular breaks and swim on your front and back. Taking your kids swimming is another great way of playing energetically with them but safely.

So for the next 8 weeks I shall be using the pool on a weekly basis, before launching myself back into the gym (whenever that may be after giving birth!).
If you are little stuck in a rut then do some pool training for a while (a change is as good as a rest!), or if you haven’t exercised in recent weeks/months, then dive into the deep end and get a few swims in to get you started!

 









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