As the New Year begins, many of us look at it as a fresh start and set big health goals. However, many of us fall victim to losing our motivation and giving up on our commitment as the excitement wears off and challenges set in. As a personal trainer, around the end of February, I have seen many people get frustrated, lose motivation and just plain stop what we so enthusiastically began a month ago.
Mindfulness is the practice of paying attention on purpose to what is going on right now, without judgment and with kindness. This act of training ourselves to focus and positively manage our thoughts, emotions and behaviors can help us set realistic, attainable goals and improve patience and persistence crucial to our success.
Benefits of mindful goal setting
❚ Pay attention to your behaviors and your obstacles. We will always hit obstacles, and we often quit when things get too tough. Being mindful of these obstacles, our thoughts, feelings and how we respond to them can help us get past them.
❚ Mindfulness cultivates patience.
Breaking old habits are difficult and creating new ones require daily weekly and monthly consistency. Waiting for results takes incredible patience! Being mindful of our current autopilot behaviors and motivations can help us be more knowledgeable, understanding, kind and patient with ourselves along the way. When you get frustrated, impatient or bored, take a mindful pause, focus on your deeper motivations and keep going.
❚ Mindfulness has numerous
health benefits. Practicing mindfulness reduces stress chemicals in the body while increasing chemicals that make us feel good and improve our energy. It can enhance exercise, reduce cravings for unhealthy food choices, improve sleep, lower blood pressure and increase focus on our goals and priorities.
Suggestions for your success of mindful goal setting
❚ Practice mindfulness during your healthy habits. Pay attention to your thoughts, feelings and the senses of the body – touch, sight, smell, taste and hearing. Get into your music while on the treadmill, practice mindful eating to slow down and savor flavors to prevent overeating, and pay kind attention to your body while exercising to improve performance, prevent injury and enhance body awareness and acceptance.
❚ Practice mindful breathing throughout your day for continual stress relief. Stress hormones can impede weight loss, reduce your energy for your workouts and cause unhealthy eating habits. Double your exhale for an enhanced relaxation response.
❚ Be mindful of your movement throughout the day. People are most successful in weight loss and improved health if calories are burned and bodies move beyond the gym. Get up and move every 30 minutes if possible.
Thank you for your focus and kind attention. Best wishes to all in 2018!
Rachael Lewinski is a mindfulness instructor at Mental Health America in Sheboygan County. She is also a personal trainer and yoga teacher at the Sports Core and Yoga on the Lake in Kohler and a member of the Sheboygan County Activity and Nutrition committee SCAN.