Happy New YOU!

Di Westaway | CEO Wild Women On Top Coastrek | Huffington Post Blogger | Speaker | Entrepreneur | Adventurer

"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 food discipline as a stoner with the munchies. Two glasses of summer bubbles and I will vacuum the fridge, actually. It’s sad. My 80:20 rule of healthy eating becomes 20:80. I binge myself to bulge.

But this year I’m determined not to sabotage all my hard work in getting fit, lean and injury free. So, I’m putting it out there now … risking public shame and humiliation if I fail, that this year, it will be different.

Why? Well, because I have a powerful goal which requires me to stay fit, lean and injury free. I’ve signed up to climb the most beautiful mountain in the world, Alpamayo, 5,982m in Peru in July. I’m part of a team of four fabulously fit strong women, and I don’t want to be the weakest link. I don’t want to let the team down by being injured, sloppy, overweight and depressed from my inability to stay fit and control my appetite over Xmas.

I’m not waiting till midnight on 31st December, to make my New Year’s Resolution. Like our wonderful Sydney Coastrekkers, I’ve already made it. I’m climbing the most beautiful mountain in the world. 

If you struggle with how to stay fit, healthy and happy over summer, you’re not alone. A whopping 70% of us start our new year with the goal of ‘get fit and lose weight”. But sadly, 92% of us fail. Why do we fail?

Most likely because our brains are not wired for pursuing long term goals. Implementation expert, Peter Cook, suggests that we’re wired for short-term results. We get our happy hormone hit, dopamine, from small wins. This dates back to our cave woman days, when the core development of our brain was simply to survive the day. 

But because we no longer need to focus on not being eaten by the tiger, on daily survival, we need to think differently if we want to achieve our health and fitness goals. 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 for us now, the tiger is lifestyle related diseases like diabetes, heart disease, cancer and obesity. The new tiger creeps up slowly and silently, over years. Often it’s not till we hit fifty that we start to think about our health. 

So we need big adventure goals to trick us into adopting a healthy lifestyle so we stay young and happy. We need a system. We need an accountability program. 

There are four levels of accountability. Accountability can be personal (to yourself), peer (to your buddy), positional (to your boss … in my case, my kids) or public (to the world). Think about these in relation to your goals and choose the appropriate accountability level for your best chance of success.

An incredible 97% of Coastrekkers succeed in their journey of trekking 30- 60km to restore sight. A key factor here is that Coastrekkers have all four levels of accountability in place; personal, peer, positional and public. Plus they get a double dose of public accountability because they don’t want to disappoint their charity sponsors or donors who have paid funds to a charity to support their goal. 

To achieve your Happy New You for a healthy 2016 you need 3 things: Investment, Accountability and Planning. 

1.Investment: For me, that means signing up or -- cash. Once I’ve paid for my adventure, I’m locked in.

2.Accountability: Make sure you’ve got some goal buddies on the journey with you. Peer pressure helps keep you locked in and its more fun doing with friends. Post your goal on your Facebook page and tell everybody you know. It will both inspire them and help keep you locked in.

3.Planning: Get a training plan, write down your mini goals along the way. 

Then … JFDI: Yes, that’s Just F***ing Do It. Do it daily and your dopamine will keep you happily ticking along the track to your amazing adventure.

For New Year, I’ll be trekking with my full pack in the Tasmanian wilderness near the Walls of Jerusalem. Then in April, I’m climbing a mountain in New Zealand. And in between, I’ve got a routine of weekly training that will keep me on track towards my super exciting goal.

How about you? 

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