How Your Friends Make It Easy to be Healthy: Goals to Start the New Year

It’s been six months since I last wrote in this health diary. Since my son, Chris, and I started to share monthly health goals with each other we’ve improved our lifestyle. Last year, we got to the point where we were both down to our ideal weight, improved our eating habits, and developed exercise routines that worked for us. You can see our progress over time in my blog category “Health Goal Diary.”

Chris and I agree that making these monthly goals together and posting our results here for you to see helps us to improve our health.  I’ve always found that if I say out loud to someone what I plan on doing, I’m more likely to do it.  Because if I say I will, I feel responsible to follow through.

Since it takes 21-30 days to develop a new habit, making a goal for the month ahead is an effective strategy.  Age doesn’t matter.  It’s never too late.  You can always make progress and actually reverse the aging process!

Now that a new year is beginning, Chris and I are planning new goals, picking up from where we left off. Our last goals were:  for Chris to balance enough exercise with a low-carb diet so he would see a difference; and for me to catch up on my summer outdoor swimming that was hindered by bad weather, injury and sickness.

The park where I walk - photo 2 of 3 - large not actual size in chrome
Licht Park, which has a walking/biking trail

At the end of summer, my broken little toe healed enough for me to swim again, slowly. But after a couple of trips to the outdoor pool, rain got in the way again. Then pools and beaches closed for the season. The weather became temperate, so I started walking in the park like I do every Fall and Spring when the temps are perfect. Then, I was so much into the walking groove that I started walking in the malls to take care of errands when the weather became chilly. Since I hadn’t been able to catch up on my swimming outdoors, the way I love to do, I let my Health Diary lapse.

In November, Chris and I lamented that we were not doing what we had planned.

Chris said his diet was not up to his standards and he wasn’t getting to the gym as often as he had been. He was going regularly but not as often as he used to. He was eating good foods overall, but he was slipping a bit. I supported his resolve to increase his trips to the gym again and to keep his carb intake low.

I admitted that I hadn’t yet caught up with the amount of swimming I had wanted to. Chris encouraged me to go to the the gym and use the indoor pool to catch up on swim time I was missing.

I don’t enjoy jumping into a pool of cold water indoors while it’s cold outside. It takes me awhile looking at the water before I work up the resolve to jump in (it’s better than wading into cold water slowly, which to me is torturous). My way of warming up as soon as I jump in is to swim the front crawl right away until the coolness of the water is a welcome feeling. Then I run through each of the different swim strokes for the rest of the laps. I’m not a speed swimmer; I just love the feel of the water and want to enjoy it.

I told Chris I would go to the indoor swimming pool once a week to catch up on the last two days of swimming I missed, and then once a week to the gym for my winter regime. He tried to talk me into two or three days a week, but I begged him to let me do the rest of my exercise at home or while Christmas shopping. I knew that December would be too busy as usual.

I was right about December being too busy.  In fact, I didn’t even do exercise at home. But I did do a lot of walking and lifting while shopping. I kept my promise to go swimming twice and to the gym once a week.

When the holidays came around, Chris was surrounded by treats and sweets and beer and wine and our traditional Christmas foods full of carbs. Part of it was my fault because I provided the usual holiday treats, but he doesn’t want to end the traditions. He also got a lot of rest at our house and watched a number of movies. But I also got him a guest pass to L.A. Fitness for the week while he was in town with us, so he got to go to the gym a few times. And his exercise habits are so good now that he packed his jump rope in case he couldn’t get to a gym.

LA Fitness
The gym with a swimming pool

Goals to Start the New Year

Chris’s verdict was that the holiday foods were unhealthy. So his goal for January is to get back to the healthy eating patterns that have become his normal diet since working on these goals for the last couple of years. That means less carbs, fried and greasy foods and maybe a little less sugar.

For January, I agreed to go to the gym twice a week.  Chris wanted to talk me into three times a week, but I think I’ll wait until next month to work that into my schedule. I used to go twice a week after work to the YMCA to a Step Aerobics Class that I loved, but since I switched to L.A. Fitness and Anytime Fitness (I got a deal I couldn’t refuse) I have yet to find a class that I love. I feel I need to form a new gym routine. I have been changing things up a lot which keeps me from getting bored, but I think I need something steady. It’s been good to learn from some personal trainers, and My Fitness Pal on my iPhone keeps my diet in line. So, come to think of it, it might be a good thing to start tracking my exercise with the app as well!

How did you do with your goals last year? What are your goals for the new year? Did your health goals slip during the December holiday party and prep time? Do you have a successful healthy lifestyle? What are your recent successes? Please do share your thoughts with us in the comments below!

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