Step It Up!
I want to eat more wholegrains, or more protein, or more of those top ten antioxidant-rich foods.
I’m gonna eat more red, yellow, orange foods; I’m gonna eat less white or brown foods.
I want to lose x pounds by y date.
This year I am going to train to run a 5k, 10k, half marathon, full marathon, heck I’m gonna climb Everest in 2011.
We tend to have a “go for the gusto” attitude. We love to watch those instant makeover shows and tend to use New Year’s resolutions combined with a healthy dose of magical thinking to envision the “new me.” Reality check: most resolutions fall by the wayside because they simply aim too high or too low (I want to loose 30 pounds in 3 weeks or I am going to drink one less latte a day). According to online resources only 8% of Americans fulfill their New Year’s resolutions; dismally, 45% of us give up within the first 30 days. Basically by mid February most of us are left feeling pooped and or starved, and on Valentine’s day we’re just thankful to have someone who loves us just the way we are! Conclusion: “new me” be damned!
This leads me to believe that incrementalism in 2011 may be the way to go. With this in mind, a gift of matching pedometers, given to my husband and me from dear friends, left me thinking that this year could be different. Pedometers are unobtrusive digital devices that can be hooked onto your belt or pant waist, slipped into your pocket or purse, or simply worn around your neck on a lanyard. They measure your every step and can be set up to reset at midnight so that you can keep a daily tally of the number of steps you take. Not based on any hard data, a designation of “active” has been assigned to those persons who average 10,000 steps per day, representing roughly 5 miles of walking a day. One Harvard study has suggested that numbers as low as 6000 steps per day are correlated with lower mortality rates in men. Here’s the cool thing, even if you are starting at couch potato status you probably log between 3000 and 5000 steps a day! You are already 30-50% of the way to reaching your goal and you haven’t done anything new or painful yet! Okay, take a couple extra sets of stairs during your day, park the car a little further away from the front door of the theater or the grocery store, and add an after-dinner walk with your spouse and you are well on your way. Literally it’s the small steps that make the difference!