When I started my #ResolutionReset six weeks ago, I wanted to focus my efforts around exercise, food and relaxation. I hadn’t felt in control of my overall health destiny since before I had my first child more than seven years ago, but I knew what made me feel better—keeping my body in motion for much of the day, eating cleanly and simply, and relaxing. Six weeks in, I’ve learned a lot about what it will take in both thought and action to sustain this balance.
For many of my friends, exercise is the biggest challenge. Either they don’t enjoy it or they don’t have time to exercise regularly. I’ve always loved to exercise, but time is at a premium. Last year, a light went off in my head when my wife gave me a bike for my birthday. I’ve been cycling almost everywhere for transportation since, which turned out be to an important touchstone in my journey.
In the beginning, as my legs and lungs got stronger by the day, I thought I could get away with being lax around food choices. We cook almost every night, but I found myself eating more snacks during the day and more sweets in general. It was as if I’d given myself a kind of unconscious permission to focus less on food because I was focusing more on exercise. So, of course, I didn’t lose weight.
Resetting my resolution made me aware of my food choices and their impact on my weight in relation to exercise. At first, I found it a pain to record everything I ate throughout the day. But when I started to see the cumulative results, it was empowering information.
Relaxation isn’t on everyone’s list of priorities, but I would argue that it should be. I enjoy my work, and that means it’s hard to put it aside on evenings and weekends. My kids have my full attention and they are fun to be with, but parenthood is not always relaxing. In fact, it can often be stressful and insomnia-inducing. It turns out that relaxation is even more of a challenge for me than conscious eating. Once I put this together, I forced myself to put down my laptop, turn off notifications on my phone and focus on relaxing: getting outside, having a massage, meditating, reading and listening to music. These activities used to be a central part of my life before I got so busy and overcommitted. Understanding the relationship between relaxation and my mental and physical health has allowed me to prioritize it, especially as I progress toward my goals.
The most valuable part of #ResolutionReset has been putting all three of my health priorities together—exercise, diet and relaxation—to improve my overall health and, in effect, my happiness and daily enjoyment of life. I’ll remember the interrelationships of these elements as I move forward, consciously embracing responsibility for my decisions and their influence on my overall well-being.