On The Couch with Di Westaway

Why Your New Year Health Resolution is Bound to Fail!

This month we sat down with Di Westaway (CEO Wild Women On Top Coastrek | Blogger | Speaker | Entrepreneur | Adventurer). With all of her adventures and feats, we thought there's no better person to get some hints on how to stick to your new year health resolution and challenge yourself!

"Cheers to a New Year and another chance for us to get it right." Oprah Winfrey

At Xmas time, I’ve usually got about as much discipline as a stoner with the munchies. Two glasses of summer bubbles and I will vacuum the fridge with my tongue. It’s embarrassing. My 80:20 rule of healthy eating becomes 20:80. I binge to bulge. But, often after a big binge, I’m highly pumped be abstemious. When you wake up with that extreme hangover on New Year’s Day, then you remember you also polished off a whole packet of Tim Tams before bed, chances are you’ll be ‘good’ for a day.

So, after the mad stress of Xmas, as you lounge on the sofa, stuffed full of baked ham and pudding, reflecting whimsically about what you’ve accomplished this year and what lies ahead, consider this. If you want to avoid the pain of failure, while it often has subsequent motivational benefits, you might like to try a different tack.

Research shows a whopping 70 percent of us start our new year with the goal of ‘get fit and lose weight”. But 92 percent of us fail.
So we have three options: 1. Don’t make any New Year’s Resolutions, 2. Make easy ones that you can keep or 3. Make them before or after New Year’s Eve so you don’t join the 92 percent who fail. I’ve chosen the latter. I’m not waiting until midnight on December 31st as I teeter around the edge of somebody’s swimming pool like a blind flamingo. I’ve already made my resolutions for 2016 and I can almost taste the sweet sensation of success.

But lose weight and get fit are not on my list.

The truth is, our brains are not wired for pursuing long term goals. Implementation expert (this means he helps corporates get their shit together), Peter Cook, suggests that we’re wired for short-term results. We get our happy hormone, dopamine, from small wins because in our cave dwelling days, the brain was programed simply to survive the day.  Back then we got that happy feeling if we were still alive for dinner. But, with our focus no longer on daily survival, on not being eaten by the tiger, we need another way to motivate ourselves to achieve health goals that matter to us.
We need to think differently if we want to stay healthy and fit. In nature, a strong healthy body was a means to an end: survival. But it was also a by-product of our lifestyle in nature. We got our painkilling happy endorphins after outrunning the beast and our dopamine rush from still being alive at sunset.

But now the tiger is disease: lifestyle diseases like obesity, diabetes, heart disease and cancer. This new internal tiger creeps up slowly, insidiously, often silently, over years. Often it’s not till we hit the milestone fifty that we start to think about our own health.

So to trick my brain into action, I’ve chosen an adventure goal. It’s a goal so audacious it feels more like a dream; a dream that will motivate me to get fit, healthy and lean. I’ve signed up to climb the most beautiful mountain in the world, Mt Alpamayo, 5,982m, in Peru in July. And I’m doing it with my friends, so in addition to making my resolution before New Year, I’ve also added an extra ingredient for success: a team.

You might prefer to commit to a Yoga retreat, a trek to Machu Picchu, an endurance hike or sail the Sydney to Hobart. But committing is the first step.

I’m joining four fabulous girls and since I don’t want to be the weakest link, the one who holds everybody up as we lug our packs up the mountain, I’ll train hard. There’s no way I’m going to let the team down by for the sake of a little too much Pavlova and prawns.

If we use big adventure goals or team fitness challenges to push us into exercise, to mimic the mechanism of our ancestors where strength, speed and agility were a means to an end, we will be more in synch with our origins.  A healthy lifestyle, which keeps us young, will become achievable.

New year new YOU! A goal you can stick to in 2016

Don’t be a statistic – be realistic! You can do this!

The Sydney Coastrek team will help you achieve your goal by:

Wellbeing, Womens Adventures, on the couch

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