Your Health & Fitness New Year’ Resolutions
This is the time of year when we all think about the changes we want to make to improve our health and happiness. Many people dismiss New Year's resolutions, but I like to embrace them and use them as a positive roadmap forward. Making and keeping resolutions apply the assets of focus, discipline and fighting spirit you've developed from exercise to other aspects of your life.
When you work out, you know that change is possible. If you have done it with your body, you are primed to make it happen elsewhere. With this idea in mind, I came up with the following 10 projects that you might consider taking on in the New Year the same way you tackled getting into physical condition in past years.
Resolutions For Your Body
1. For one day, eat only foods with no added sugar. Whether you weigh more or less than you want or are just right, a day free of sugar will get you off the roller coaster of sugar rushes and crashes. You'll gain extra mental stamina, energy and concentration, and you'll sleep better.
2. Ask friends, members of your family and your exercise teacher to give you feedback on your posture. The way we hold ourselves affects so many things, including breathing and muscle movement, and our perception of it may not reflect the way we truly look. Get a reality check, and if your posture is found wanting, consider making serious effort to improve it.
3. When you're walking, sitting or standing for some time, try to keep your abs pulled in for 20 consecutive minutes. You already have strong abs from your workouts. Now train them to perform for you all day. This effort will challenge your concentration.
Resolutions for Your Mind
1. Banish one bad habit for 24 hours. Whether it's biting your nails, swearing at other drivers, watching too much TV - anything - try not to do it for a full day.
2. Set your cellphone stopwatch to 20 minutes; sit in a chair, close your eyes and meditate until you hear the ringtone. Meditating is positive work for your brain. One session can clear out the mental debris and begin to firm up your cerebral muscles.
3. Decide on one activity or skill you'd like to learn or do better. Mull the idea of pursuing it. This is a purely mental resolution, so you can choose anything that excites your imagination. File it away in your mind where you can call it up later.
Resolutions for Your Heart
1. Let someone win an argument even if you believe you're right. Your generosity will be repaid with dividends.
2. Holding a grudge? Angry with someone? Is there a shadow over your relationship with a friend, relative, partner or co-worker? Forgive and forget. Move past it. In the scheme of things, it's insignificant. Life is far too short to be on the outs with people who mean something to you.
3. Learn the names of the baristas who make your coffee. If you have a favorite restaurant, shop, drycleaner - any service establishment -take it upon yourself to learn the names of the waiters, clerks and cashiers. (Research has found that we have an amazing capacity to learn names if we work at it.)
One More Resolution
Take a moment to count your blessings, then your calories. Be at peace with who you are. Congratulate yourself on being you. Think good thoughts and send positive energy out to those in need. It will come back to you tenfold.
Ken Hunt is the owner of New York and Miami's Steel Gym, an AFI-certified trainer and a fitness expert with expert advice featured in The New York Times and other major media. He lectures on physical fitness here and abroad and is finishing a book, The Hunt for Fitness. Steel Gym, at 146 W. 23rd St. in Manhattan, has been named the No. 1 gym in New York by the American Fitness Institute for three straight years; awarded the New York Award for Physical Fitness Facilities for three straight years; named one of the Top 5 gyms in the U.S. by Muscle & Fitness Magazine; and given the Talk of the Town Award for Outstanding Customer Service for four straight years. Call (212) 352-9876. Steel Gym in Miami is at 5556 NE 4th. Call (305) 751-7591. You can email Ken at SteelGymInfo@aol.com; log on to www.SteelGym.com; on Facebook at SteelGymNYC and on Twitter @SteelGym.