A No-Deadline Approach to Becoming Your Healthiest Self

If you want to appear to be a predictable, boring soul, when someone asks about your New Year’s Resolutions, answer with this: I want to lose 25 pounds.

Then, to show you have no originality whatsoever, add that you’d like to lose it by April and that you’re going to join some program that regulates your food and calorie intake to help you out. Bonus points for tediousness if you’ve made this resolution at least twice before in your life.

Come on, people. Life can be better than this. I don’t care how many cookies you’ve consumed in the last month. You owe it to yourself and the people who love you to take it up a few notches.

How about resolving to be as healthy a person as you can be? All-around fitness. Loving your body by learning why you’re feeding it the wrong things or not giving it the movement it so craves and thrives on. That means intellectual fitness, emotional fitness, spiritual fitness and physical fitness all coming together to boost your energy and make every other goal you have more possible and even probable.

That person, the one who consciously strives to be her best self every day, will be a more productive and creative employee, a more patient and engaged parent, a more active and alive spouse.

This is not a race, though. Drop the calendar concept and think about it in terms of each day. When there’s no “diet” or deadline, there’s no cheating or using infantilizing language about being “bad” or “good” today. There’s just each day, each meal, each walk, each workout. There’s research if needed to learn more about nutrition or working out, but there’s no deprivation or punishing oneself for having a brownie by having four more.

The latter behavior is not about the food and it begs for exploration. Make this the year you do that. Find out what void you’re filling with food – loneliness, sadness, anger, fear. Awareness is your greatest ally here. Read and seek out specialists – therapists, holistic health counselors, personal trainers – who can help you get to the root of the problem. Just don’t ignore what your lack of fitness is telling you.

Make 2011 the year you decided that putting one foot in front of the other each day was the priority for the rest of your life. That doesn’t mean there won’t be setbacks and temptation, just that each one won’t begin a downward spiral of destruction that puts you back to square one.

You may be wondering if this advice is coming from one of those annoying people with a fabulous metabolism who has never had a weight issue or has never consumed a sleeve of Oreos. No, it’s not. I’m no size 4 and it took me a long time to make peace with my hourglass figure that looks more like a throwback to what you’d typically see in an art museum in Italy.

But I no longer fret. I’ve learned that habit is the single best way to ensure I stay on a healthy path. I may have a cupcake for dessert or eggs benedict for brunch, but I don’t have them three times a day, every day. I go to the gym about four days a week and put myself through a weight training and cardio routine, but I’m not obsessive or competitive. I just do it, usually happily, occasionally forced.

Case in point, I am only now starting to see some results from abdomen crunches I incorporated into my workout in June. Once I got past the need for instant gratification, I relied on faith that if I did my due diligence I would eventually see progress. It’s coming along. There’s no rush. Who’s counting or gauging?

I know there are a slew of life coaches who would disagree with me on the no-deadline approach here. In fact, many in my profession are wont to say that goals are dreams with deadlines and in many cases I agree. But in this area, one’s health, I wholeheartedly and respectfully disagree. Deadlines too often prompt speedy weight loss that winds up being a temporary fix.

Again, tedious.

Aren’t you just so over tedious?

I thought so.

Treat yourself with compassion and love. Find out what makes you reach for the Doritos and Fruit Loops once and for all.

Nancy Colasurdo is a practicing life coach and freelance writer. Her Web site is www.nancola.com. Please direct all questions/comments to FOXGamePlan@gmail.com.