With New Year beginning many people will make their traditional new years resolutions. Some will decide it's finally time to kick their smoking habit, other will try to prioritize their lives, while many more will vow this is the year they will finally get in shape and loose those last 10 pounds that just seem to cling to their body for dear life.
The problem with most resolutions however is that many times they're based on superficial reasons that don't truly affect the individual and mean something to them. Take getting in shape for example, for most people their main motive is trying to look better or fit into a pair of their old pants.
Jamie Eason's New Year's Tips
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I recently had an experience that made me step back and take a look at life. A couple of days after Christmas I, and don't ask me how, managed to close my finger in my locked car door. I was stuck there for about 5 minutes before someone came to help me and once I did get my finger out it was looking pretty shattered.
We thought I had definitely broken it, and the thought of amputation actually crossed my mind (although, I guess in the state of panic I was in this may have been a little extreme).
Anyway, the ambulance came and I was taken to the hospital where the emergency room was filled with people. This was what really opened my eyes. One paramedic said to the paramedic that was helping me, "You wouldn't want to come in here sick today, you'd die waiting," and it was completely the truth.
My situation seemed so minor compared to what could happen in the emergency room. I felt almost guilty for being there. I was told however that I would have to be looked at because I needed a tetnus shot as part of my glove had been caught in the cut. So I took my seat and began to wait.
I ended up waiting about 2 hours to be seen, which is by no means considered lengthy compared to what some of the other people waited I'm sure, but in that time my body slowly began to heal itself as the blood started to return to my finger and it began to retake it's normal shape. By this time I was able to move it slightly and the pain had reduced and I was pretty confident that it was not broken.
The whole experience taught me however how amazing the human body is. If you stop and think about what you put your body through everyday, the stresses of everyday life, both physically and psychologically, the stress you place upon your body when you workout, and the stress that comes along with emergency situations, our bodies do manage to handle these situations quite amazingly well.
On the other hand, when you think how lucky we are just to have a body functioning that allows us to perform our everyday tasks with ease, it makes you really appreciate life and realize that worrying about so many of the trivial matters we worry about are pointless.
Everyday people go to the hospital for heart attacks, strokes or major injuries that prove to be very life threatening. One moment of mishap could forever change these people's lives. They may not ever again be able to do all the things that they loved to do. They may not be able to play their favorite sports, go the gym, or even completely take care of themselves on their own.
Stop & Think
Endorphins are a group of endogenous (produced by the body) hormones (e.g., beta endorphin, metenkephalin) that are chemically similar to opiate drugs. Endorphins are involved in coping with acute stress and modulating the perception of pain; they may also have a role in mobilizing the immune system.
By stopping and thinking about this we can help sustain our new years resolutions. I suggest you try something different this year if your new years resolution is to get in shape. Rather than worry about loosing those few pounds or getting those huge arms you've always wanted, focus on enjoying your body.
When was the last time you did a really hard cardio session to the point where you were completely exhausted and the endorphins had kicked in? When you stopped your body was probably in so much pain but you felt so good at the same time, almost like you've never been more alive. Or maybe you're not so much into doing intense cardio but more focused on lifting weights.
Next time your in the gym stop after you've done a set and reflect how strong your body has become and how even though you're there at the gym tearing down your muscles, they manage to rebuild themselves and grow back stronger.
You've only been given one body and even though it might not look exactly the way you would like, it serves you in many more important ways. You'll feel much more satisfied after a hard workout if you make your goals performance based rather than aesthetically based.
Try to push yourself further, challenge your body more and enjoy the feeling that comes along with it, both during the process and the post-exercise endorphin rush.
Tai chi chuan is an internal Chinese martial art often practiced for health reasons. Tai chi is typically practiced for a variety of reasons: its soft martial techniques, demonstration competitions, health and longevity.
One particular person comes to my mind at my gym. He's an older man who comes in quite regularly. He usually bikes for a while and then goes into an aerobics room and practices Tai chi.
Afterwards he always walks by the desk that I work at and tells me how good he feels. Not because he just burned 400 calories or because his muscles look bigger than before, but because he is experiencing the exercise high from what he has just done, and as an "added bonus" as he puts it, he has done something good for his health. His reasons for visiting the gym and purely intrinsically related and he is only doing it for himself.
So this year, instead of setting some arbitrary measurable goal for fitness, such as loosing 5 pounds or being able to bench 200 pounds, set a goal for yourself to focus on how fitness affects your life.
How it allows your body to be in better shape so you can perform your daily functions with ease and how being strong and healthy can help you to overcome adverse situations that life throws your way.
Focus on how good exercise makes you feel and how you're doing something for your health that will help you live a longer and more satisfying life.
By changing your focus you might just find that your still having no problems making it to the gym in February when most people seem to loose focus after the January rush. You will have changed your values and will be able to look at fitness more as a way of life rather than something that is going to help you reach a measurable goal.