If you and your clients are some of the millions of Americans who made promises to improve yourself this New Year, there’s bad news: You’re 92 percent likely to fail in sticking to your resolutions, says a recent study from the University of Scranton’s Journal of Clinical Psychology. About 45 percent of Americans make resolutions. Ranking at the top is losing weight, and staying fit and healthy ranks fifth. “Of course, those statistics represent the average – you don’t have to be average!” says Virender Sodhi, M.D., N.D., founder of the Ayurvedic and Naturopathic Medical Clinic, which provides complementary and alternative medicine. “There are plenty of things individuals can do to improve their odds of success if they resolve to become healthier and fitter.”
Sodhi, author of the new guide, “Ayurvedic Herbs: The Comprehensive Resource for Ayurvedic Healing Solutions,” believes we can move much closer to a world of disease-free societies by following the laws of Mother Nature. Individual commitment to health via New Year’s resolutions is one path to take you and your clients there and Sodhi offers five tips for staying true to goals.
- Get away from the instant-gratification mentality and avoid unrealistic goals. Don’t expect to go from zero to 60 – 60 being your ideal body image – in just a few months, especially if you have little background in training. Unfortunately, most who have resolutions like losing plenty of weight and quitting smoking are used to easy snack foods and quick rewards. Health is a long-term labor of love; commit to the love and wait for results.
- Establish good habits! People make resolutions because they know they’re important, but they’re hard. With each passing week, more people drop their promises for self-improvement. You’ll want to set the right goals; if you want to lose 100 pounds, focus on the first 10, and then the next. Make sure to establish new and good habits – it takes about 28 days to stick. Once you train your mind with good habits, achieving your goals becomes much easier.
- What you should expect from your “labor of love.” Frequency, intensity and time – these are the three investments you’ll need for losing weight or gaining muscle. As a general rule, exercise at least 30 minutes three to four times a week. Make sure to start with the appropriate intensity for your health; too little intensity and you’ll see little if any results, but too much and you’ll be prone to quit. Don’t think that it’s always better to exercise for a longer duration. What matters is quality. Increase time and intensity once you comfortably meet goals.
- Solidify the gains with persistent positive reinforcement. Learn to reward yourself in a new way by paying attention to the gains in your body. Notice the improvement in stress levels, breathing, energy, sex life, mood and overall strength. While these improvements are wide-ranging and palpable, they increase over time and can be subtle. Don’t let these improvements occur without a personal recognition of your accomplishments.
- Embrace supplemental support. Of course, all health efforts are connected to your overall well-being. When you make the investment to eat more vegetables, you’re reinforcing your commitment to exercise. Consider practices such as yoga and meditation, which will feed your health kick and provide unexpected benefits. Additionally, supplements such as kelp, green tea extract, Commiphora mukul (Guggul) and Bauhinia variegata (Kachnar) can yield even more health benefits. And, spices such as garlic, onion, black pepper, ginger, cinnamon, long pepper, and cayenne pepper all have important thermogenic properties, which stimulates metabolism.
Virender Sodhi, M.D., N.D., was the first Ayurvedic and Naturopathic physician in the United States. He is the author of “Ayurvedic Herbs: The Comprehensive Resource for Ayurvedic Healing Solutions,” and founder of the Ayurvedic and Naturopathic Medical Clinic. Sodhi earned his M.D. (Ayurved) in 1980 from the Dayanand Ayurvedic Medical College in Jalandar, India. He served as a college professor in India until 1986, when the Indian government selected him to share Ayurveda with Western society as part of a cultural exchange program. He finished his fellowship in Integrative Oncology with Mark Rosenberg, M.D., in 2012. Sodhi is a visiting professor at Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine in Scottsdale, AZ, at the University of Washington School of Pharmacy, and at Des Moines University (IA).