New Year’s resolution: Give up your Achilles’ heel in 2016
Special to the Daily
New Year’s resolutions apps
• Get whipped into shape: Start your New Year out with CARROT Fit, a top-rated iPhone app designed to kick your glutes. The app features a seven-minute interval workout based on 12 high-intensity, 30-second exercises with 10 seconds of rest between each set. The app also includes a sassy A.I. Personality that will inspire, threaten and even bribe you into doing the workouts.
• Catch your zzzz’s: If your goal in 2016 is to get your beauty rest, then Sleep Cycle is the app for you. This free smart alarm clock analyzes your sleep and wakes you in the lightest sleep phase — the natural way to wake up — so you feel rested and relaxed. The patented technology monitors your sleep movements using sound or vibration analysis and then finds the optimal time to wake you up.
• Minding your money: MoneyPad is the best bookkeeping assistant you will ever have. The easy-to-use app helps you control your budget and spending, track your bills, manage your income, reconcile transactions, transfer funds, view graphs and reports and export data for tax season.
If you feel that you are headed down a destructive path that may lead to more serious problems and need assistance, there are several organizations in the Vail Valley that can help.
• Vail Alcoholics Anonymous, 970-476-0572.
• Colorado Quit Line, 800-QUIT-NOW.
• Susan Drake, M.S., R.D., certified weight management nutritionist, 720-490-9649.
• Jamie Shapiro, executive wellness coach, Vail Vitality Center, 970-476-7721.
• Mind Springs Health, 970-476-0930.
• Samaritan Counseling Center, 970-926-8558.
Editor’s note: This is the third article in a five-part series about New Year’s resolutions, running daily through Tuesday. Search “New Year’s resolutions” at http://www.vaildaily.com to read additional articles in the series.
The New Year has arrived — a time of reflection and making New Year’s resolutions. This year, instead of creating a laundry list of resolutions that you may or may not stick to, focus on your Achilles’ heel, the one vice you should give up so that you can lead a healthier lifestyle, both inside and out. Our society is notorious for declaring resolutions and failing to achieve them, but dealing with our vices should be the true resolutions to make.
Giving yourself a digital detox is not as easy at it sounds. Today, people are connected to family, friends and colleagues via apps and texting, all of which give you ample access to cultivating an instantly gratifying social life at your fingertips. Posting your holiday vacation photos on Facebook and reading the latest gossip rags online is one thing, but texting your daughter from the kitchen asking her to clean her room should be a red flag that you are addicted to the digital life.
BreakFree: Track Phone Addiction, by Mrigaen Kapadia (found at Apple app store or Google play) helps monitor your digital obsessions and steers you toward a way of life that allows you to unplug and connect face to face in the “real” world. BreakFree is user-friendly and guides you on phone usage, but without the nagging mother routine. The app will send you notifications when your addiction has gone off the wagon and will alert you when you are using a particular app for too long, making incessant phone calls or if you’ve used your phone for more than an hour.
Instant (also found at the Apple app store or Google play) is another app that helps curb your digital sweet tooth and alerts you on how much time you spend on your phone, as well as how many times you’ve checked it. If your claim is that you are checking the time, then it’s time to buy a watch. Instant also offers other beneficial monitoring options, including how much time you spend walking, running or traveling and how much time is spent at your favorite spots, such as Starbucks, the gym or your boyfriend’s house — all of which can be either good vices or corrupt ones.
If using an app is counter-productive for you swearing off your phone, then Revolution Power Yoga owner Julie Kiddoo said creating a balance or connection between the body, mind and spirit would help remind you to slow down. Yoga may sound like new-age blather to some, but the breathing actions and poses of yoga can help forge a relationship between you and your body.
“When we get on our mats, we give pause to external stimuli and are reminded of what is really important,” Kiddoo said.
Here in the Vail Valley, it is virtually impossible to live a sedentary life; working out every day is a good thing, right? In the minds of most adrenaline seekers, being fit and maintaining optimum health reflect a life lived to the fullest. However, there is a fine line between staying in shape and becoming addicted to exercising, which can easily be crossed without you ever realizing it.
In a world where “big city” organized gyms such as Orange Theory and Soul Cycle thrive on creating an extreme workout fervor among their clientele, fitness fanatics have created a similar intensity here in Vail, which can be addictive if you are not careful. The obsession with over-the-top exercising can be charged to many culprits in today’s society — the infatuation with celebrities, the competitive psyche, the pressure to always look great — but the solution to overcoming these obsessions is not easy.
According to Ryan Richards, personal trainer certified through the National Strength and Conditioning Association and owner of R2HP, an athlete consulting and personal training company, exercise addiction is a complex problem.
“A simple solution isn’t realistic because of the range of possibilities for why someone is addicted to exercise in the first place,” Richards said. “Recognizing the source can lead to a solution. People are addicted to exercise for a host of reasons: a poor spiritual life, childhood trauma or abuse, control issues, poor self-esteem and emotional wounding.”
Richards said figuring out what triggers the fitness obsession will also help in adopting a new attitude and working toward healthy exercising. Exercise addiction telltale signs:
• Does exercise interfere with your social and personal life?
• Do you find yourself thinking about food and caloric deprivation regularly?
• Do you find yourself seeking body image approval from others?
• Do you examine your body in the mirror compulsively?
• Do you feel overly guilty if you miss a workout?
• Do you have chronic overuse injuries from exercise?
“Start with these questions and self-reflect,” Richards said.
If there is an underlying issue that is resulting in your obsessive fitness behavior, then seek out professional help. The Vail Valley Medical Center (970-476-2451) has a variety of resources available that can assist you in identifying the root of your problem and help you learn to enjoy a workout without any physical or emotional sacrifices.
Making a New Year’s resolution to work out less is a tricky one. The resolution should begin with altering the way you think — put less emphasis on “more is better” and change it to “quality is better.” Snowshoeing with friends or learning to cross-country ski are great ways to begin backing off without compromising your desire to stay in shape and enjoy the outdoors.
“Maintaining a healthy life is about the minimum effective dose — not too little, not too much,” Richards said. “Most people should strive to exercise for 30 to 60 minutes, three days per week.”
If you’ve heard that nagging phrase over and over since childhood, then 2016 may be the year for you to step back, review your behavior and work on that nasty procrastination habit. Whether it’s cleaning out your closet, putting the holiday decorations away or taking out the trash, everyone procrastinates from time to time. However, when the procrastinating bleeds into your work or personal life, it’s time to rethink why the behavior exists.
Procrastination is a concept that Kiddoo is very familiar with and something she continues to work on in her life using yoga.
“The key with yoga is getting into the physicalness of the body. How we are on our mat is a reflection of what is going on in our lives,” Kiddoo said. “We can talk about creating new habits all day long, but change comes when we get to experience our bodies on our mats. Change is able to happen when we see how our habits are affecting our physical body.”
Ignored, procrastination can snowball into something bigger and uncontrollable. Procrastination often stems from the fear of failure, stress or feelings of being overwhelmed. The mindset of a procrastinator is to neglect a situation or task in the hopes that it will magically disappear. One of the easiest ways to reverse procrastinating behavior patterns is to identify your goal and revamp your time-management skills.
“To reach the goal, have a plan,” said Christina Rowe, MSOL, founder of The Collaborative, a leadership and team development consulting company in Denver. “Create a realistic and track-able plan that helps you visualize reaching your goal. Track it in a way that means the most to you. From spreadsheets to calendar X’s, make a visual check-in system that holds you accountable. Set reminders on your calendar to complete your tracking.”
Rowe also said the most important aspect of your resolution should be tied to how you process and motivate to complete a task or reach a goal.
“We put a natural emphasis on what we do well,” she said. “Creating a checklist and timeline will prepare you for success.”
The most common New Year’s resolutions deal with over-indulging, guilty pleasures such as eating, drinking and smoking. Gym memberships are at an all-time high at the beginning of every New Year, as many of us vow to lead a healthier lifestyle. The fact that these kinds of resolutions consistently top the charts each year indicates that they are the toughest ones to commit to.
Michelle Segar, Ph.D., motivation scientist and author of the critically acclaimed “No Sweat! How the Simple Science of Motivation Can Bring You a Lifetime of Fitness,” said the most common mistakes made when declaring a New Year’s resolution are that we don’t put enough thought into a resolution and encounter the same disappointing results each year. She also pointed out that the failure stems from not having a comprehensive plan so we get stuck in the world of wishful thinking.
“Know that your past failures are not your fault,” Segar said. “We’ve learned to make all changes in a system that sets most up to fail. There are new systems, based on science, that offer more strategic guides to lasting motivation and behavior change.”
Segar suggested simple ways to commit to kicking your bad habits and incorporating the resolutions into your daily routine.
“Stop resolving to do the same thing (such as ‘lose weight’) that feels like something you ‘should’ do but really don’t want to do. Instead, think more deeply about the gaps in your day that, if filled, would make a real difference in how you feel and perform,” Segar said.
For example, if you feel overly stressed and your autopilot goes to having a few drinks after work every day, then you need to step away from yourself and analyze why you choose to have a drink rather than doing something more productive or healthier, such as walking your dog. Segar said that changes in your behavior would help you be more successful in reaching your resolution goals.
Self-care behaviors, such as exercise or sleep, should be top priorities because they are essential to fueling the things you care most about. Rather than selfish, taking care of yourself is just about the most strategic thing you can do, according to Segar.
“Understand that consistency is more important than quantity when you make resolutions,” she said. “You want to sustain them over time. So, rather than start out with your new gym membership every day ‘because this time you are really going to do it,’ choose two days per week that will work best with your schedule and commit to those two days. After successfully doing it for a few weeks, you’ll have evidence it works. You can stick with that or up it by one more day a week.”