By Miranda Massie on January 8, 2019
Set yourself up for success this year by rethinking the way you approach your fitness goals. Discover great tips and tricks for staying on track, feeling confident and building lasting habits.
Week 1: Assess your goals
We often look to the end results when determining the progress and achievements of our fitness goals. Instead, try asking yourself why you want to achieve your goals. How will the end result impact your life or benefit your overall wellbeing? This article from Greatist.com describes how to assess and re-set your goals. Level up for success!
Week 2: Mix it up
It can be difficult to stay motivated if we’re not enjoying the activities we take part in. The best way to resuscitate a fitness plan is to make it fun! If you don’t enjoy running, then don’t make this a resolution. Try UBC Recreation’s Free Week to discover what gets you excited to work out.
Week 3: Go social
Consider gathering a group of colleagues to join the annual UBC Walkabout. This nine-week step challenge is a great way to stay active, motivated and accountable. Attend the Jan.16 Kick-off Event or register now.
Week 4: Try low or no cost
It can be easy to pass on a fitness activity, especially if it comes with a price tag. But with the number of free apps, YouTube videos and open-sourced fitness classes available, there are countless low and no cost ways to stay active. Try exploring this list of 18 YouTube Channels to Get in Shape (Goodful by Buzzfeed). Or, read up on the best free fitness apps out there:
- 7 workout and fitness apps for tracking and planning (TheSportsEdit)
- 8 fitness apps that can help you get in shape — and what they’re best for (Business Insider)
By Miranda Massie on May 3, 2018
Staff and faculty at UBC’s Vancouver campus are invited to join the 4th annual Pick Your Peak Stair Challenge. This four-week challenge is a fun and inclusive way to encourage our community to keep fit by taking the stairs.
Stair climbing is a great way to boost cardiovascular health, build muscle and strengthen the core. The best part? It’s free!
The challenge will include weekly participant prizes, photo challenges, and an overall prize for both the top team and top individual.
Everyone, of all ability levels, is invited to participate. Visit the website for accessible participation options.
How it works
- Register as a team or as an individual (team rankings are scored based on an average of all team members’ achievements, so a larger team won’t have an advantage over an individual)
- Select the peak you’re aiming for – from Diamond Head (232 metres) to Mount Everest (8,848 metres)
- Log your flights of stairs climbed on the Daily Step Tracker for a chance to win participation prizes
- Submit your grand totals at the end of four weeks
Your steps to success
Last year’s participants stepped up to better health!
Over 60% of last year’s participants reported that the challenge had a positive impact on their overall wellbeing as well as their physical health, while 66% reported that their relationships with colleagues improved. 69% of participants took the stairs once a day or less before the challenge, with some reporting a 30% increase in their stair climbing/physical activity after the challenge.
By Miranda Massie on January 11, 2018
Bring those fitness-based New Year’s resolutions back to life with these great tips and tricks for staying on track and building strong and lasting habits.
Week 1 and 2:
We often look to the end results when determining the progress and achievements of our fitness goals. By focusing on goal setting and measurement at the start, we can set ourselves up for long-term success.
Sometimes it can be difficult to stay motivated if we are not enjoying our activities. The best way to resuscitate your fitness plan is to make it fun! If you don’t enjoy running, don’t make this a resolution. Try UBC Recreation’s Free Week to discover what gets you excited and raring to work out.
Week 3: Go high tech
With the number of apps, YouTube videos and open-sourced fitness classes available, there are countless low and no-cost ways to stay active. Try one of Fitness Blender’s new workouts, like this “Pain in the Abs” core workout:
Or download a fresh new app like Aaptiv that offers personalized and narrated training programs that you can do indoor or outdoor, including walking, running, elliptical, biking, yoga and more. Please note that Aaptiv requires in-app purchases. For free workout options, try the Nike Training App or Sworkit.
Week 4: Stay motivated
The Greatist.com offers tips on the best ways to stick to your fitness resolutions. They are more fun and interesting than you think!
By Guest Contributor on January 10, 2017
Guest Contribution from Dr. Thara Vayali
When we turn over a new leaf – such as in the new year, closing a chapter in life, or creating a plan of action for change – we tend to imbue that shift with an urgency, a haste to see the fruit of our efforts. This urgency can sometimes result in the same type of frustration that arises in daily situations when running errands, commuting, and interacting with others who don’t agree with us.
When frustration arises from the choices we make, the energy generated can help us by motivating us to get creative and choose alternatives that suit us better. It can refocus us to switch to a more appropriate goal and it can allow us to recognize how important the goal is for us. But this type of frustration is active and positive.
Frustration has a cousin named impatience – a more gnawing emotion that doesn’t let go and move forward. Impatience can drain from our capacity to make change. Impatience is a boiling within, a festering annoyance.
Our work, whenever life takes a turn away from our plans and impatience gets the better of us – in traffic, with new resolutions, with co-workers, while waiting in line – is to use tools to practice patience. Patience is not only a virtue; it can provide a more useful solution.
Although it may not seem like the most appropriate action in the moment, it is the choice that eats up the least of our energy, energy that would be much better used toward doing the things we want to do. Impatience takes more energy than patience.
Impatience: a restlessness and agitation with the current situation. There is an intolerance for feeling irritated, an inability to manage delays. This pacing, whether frenetic or calm, tends to have a tight grip on the need to know the future.
Patience: not an inactive state, it is not surrendering to fate, nor condoning poor behaviour. It is specifically not biding your time nor biting your lip, which it is often mistaken for. It is a devotion to the moment and a choice to see the current situation like an adventure; accommodating for new unpredictable obstacles. Patience is the capacity to take a step back and choose again. It is a loosening of one’s grip on ‘needing to know’.
The rising energy of impatience often shows up with thoughts such as: “I’m not sure where this is heading”, or “I don’t like the direction this is heading”.
- When those statements start arriving, ask yourself: How much energy do I want to expend on alleviating anticipation/disappointment?
- Then, can you take a deep breath when you notice you are triggered to anticipate what will or won’t happen next?
- Next, can you check to notice whether your grip on “needing to know” is tight or loose.
- And, if your grip is tight, can you ask yourself “Could I loosen my grip in any way?” By breathing, empathizing, smiling, going for a short walk – the options are endless.
- It just takes a moment to catch our impatience and ask it to slow down.
The choice then is to either commit to continuing along with our intentions or changing directions, but that choice is best made from a patient mindset.
When we are impatient, it usually has to do with our reality not meeting our expectations. It takes energy to expect the world and its movements to conform to our personal rules. That valuable energy could be used to mobilize our own best choices. When unexpected and sometimes undesired situations pop up as roadblocks on a charted journey, remember that when we interact with the world, we will inevitably be pulled off track in moments.
Imagine a feather floating down from the sky. On watching, one could feel either an urgency or an ease for the feather to find its way to land, but regardless of feelings the feather will float quietly to the ground at the pace of the natural world. If our impatience gets the better of us and we attempt to move it along, by blowing on it or waving it, we end up expending energy with minimal returns. The more we hurry a feather along, the more difficult it becomes for it to travel and land along its path and destination. Don’t sweat the journey – breathe deep and manage the gusts as they come.
Patience, little feather.
Thara Vayali is a Naturopathic Doctor & Yoga Teacher in Vancouver and is also a UBC alumnus. She is obsessed with intestinal and immune health, hormones, and pain-free bodies. She is the creator of Change Natural Medicine: Budget conscious, membership based health consulting.
By Melissa Lafrance on September 13, 2016
How can some people bounce back from hardship or remain in challenging situations while others get disconcerted and remain affected for a longer period of time? Resilience is the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, and other significant sources of stress. Research has shown that resilience is ordinary, not extraordinary and people regularly demonstrate resilience. Having strong resiliency skills doesn’t remove challenging or distressed feelings, but rather can help reduce the time it takes to return to “normal” functioning. Luckily, resilience involves behaviours, thoughts and actions that can be learned and developed in anyone.
Several achievable factors are associated with resilience, including:
- Having caring and supportive relationships
- The capacity to make realistic plans and take steps to carry them out
- A positive view of yourself and confidence in your strengths and abilities
- Skills in communication and problem solving
- The capacity to manage strong feelings and impulses
Developing or enhancing resilience is a completely personal journey. Here are a few general tips to consider when developing your personal resiliency:
Make connections. Having a good support systems involving positive relationships is crucial as is accepting help from those who care about you and your wellbeing. Read more about improving the quality of your relationships.
Avoid seeing crises as insurmountable problems. You may not be able to control or avoid stressful events from happening, but you can change your outlook and how you respond to these events. Find out how you can maintain your inner strength amidst life’s daily challenges.
Accept change. It is part of living. This may change your course of action or make certain goals no longer attainable. Learn how to deal with the stress resulting from change and how to adapt and respond effectively to changes.
Move towards your goals. Learn the SMART guide to goal setting.
Take decisive actions. Act on adverse situations as much as possible rather than passively ignoring problems and stresses. Check out some tips for great decision making.
Seize opportunities for self-discovery. Learn to meditate or try a new team sport or hobby.
Nurture a positive view of yourself. Read more on constructing confidence and building self-belief.
Maintain a perspective view on things. Avoid making difficult situations a bigger deal than they actually are. View stressful events in a broader context and keep a long-term perspective.
Maintain a hopeful outlook. Being optimistic about the future allows you to expect that good things will happen in your life. Instead of worrying and fearing for the worst, visualize a hopeful outcome. Learn ways to nourish your inner optimist.
Take care of yourself. Read more on how to improve your relationship with yourself.
Explore Mindfulness and Meditation at UBC and consider enrolling in the upcoming programs!
30-Day Online Mindfulness Challenge
Learn the core skills of mindfulness through evidence-based online training. The 30-day Challenge does not involve a formal meditation practice but rather, teaches mindfulness-in-cation for everyday life.
How it works
- 5-10 minutes per day
- Online, anytime, any device
- 30 consecutive days
- Get to invite a buddy to join you for only $25
Key impact areas
- Health and wellbeing
- Increased performance
- Teamwork and conflict resolution
For those looking for a deeper understanding of mindfulness and developing a meditation practice. An in-person educational program modelling off Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR).
How it works
- Six-week, in-person training
- Meet for 1.5 hours once a week in a small supportive group led by Dr. Geoff Soloway
- Half day weekend retreat
- Daily home assignments for 15-30 minutes a day
Key impact areas
- Stress reduction
- Physical and mental wellbeing
- Effectiveness, teamwork, communication skills
- Focuses on integrating mindfulness in the workplace
Additional resources on building resiliency:
- More steps to building resiliency in your life
- Tips for balance and talking about resiliency
- Workplace and career resiliency
By Miranda Massie on January 12, 2016
I rarely set New Year’s resolutions. While I find that a new year is a great time to re-evaluate and reset my health behaviours, I am jaded by many years of watching my resolutions fall lonely by the wayside as the weeks move on.
Human motivation is an interesting phenomenon. Our behavior is commonly described as the result of internal (intrinsic) or external (extrinsic) factors that push and pull us towards a desired outcome. We are motivated to act based on elements such as rationality, drive, incentives, self-control, cognition and reinforcement, but are often passive participants – acting or not acting without taking the time to understand why.
This year, instead of making the New Year about resolutions or goals, I am making it about my motivations to achieve these goals. My hope is that by focusing my attention on how and why I am motivated to reach my goals, instead of on the goals themselves, that I might actually create some long term changes.
- My goal: complete a one-month workout plan
- My motivations: more energy; diversify my current (and boring) workouts
- My focus: feeling stronger; increasing my daily energy levels; boosting my self-esteem
- My goal: eat out 2x per week or less
- My motivations: save money; eat less processed foods; try new recipes
- My focus: saving for my wedding; spending quality time with my partner and our wealth of underused cookbooks
Ways To Stay Motivated
Break down goals and use bite-sized steps to get there. This allows for celebration and achievement along the way and can help identify the deeper motivators behind the goal. “Be healthier” is a tough goal to achieve unless you identify what this means to you and why.
Share your goals
Share your motivation and goals with a partner or friend. They can check-in and help provide additional external motivation, reminders, (or nagging) when necessary. Posting your goals/motivators can also help keep you accountable to yourself. A friend of mine even framed his!
Put an end to it
Studies have shown that long range and open ended goal setting can be problematic, even contributing to symptoms of depression. By setting a realistic end date (I might suggest 4-8 weeks), your goal is measurable, tangible and ultimately more achievable.
Identify your motivators
Tease out the specific benefits that you are hoping to achieve through your goals. This can help provide a deeper connection to the goal and a more personal motivation for seeing it through. Why are you setting this goal and how would you like it to impact your life.
Relapse, re-set and repeat
Forgive yourself if things do not go perfectly. Seeing your goals through to completion might require you to take a break, re-set or re-evaluate. Use this time to review goals, steps and roadblocks and then begin again.
I invite you to welcome the year 2016 with open arms. Take this month to delve deeper into the motivations that live behind your resolutions as it may provide you with the added value to carry on.
All my best,
Ways to stay motivated this month at UBC:
- UBC Recreation Free Week: Jan 11-17
- Dog Walkers Stroll: Jan 20
- Art Lovers Walk: Jan 26
- Free Bodyworks Fitness Consultation Sessions
Dickson JM, Moberly NJ. Reduced specificity of personal goals and explanations for goal attainment in major depression. PloS one, 2013, 8(5):1932-6203.
Litt MD, Kleppinger A, Judge JO. Initiation and maintenance of exercise behavior in older women: predictors from the social learning model. Journal of behavioral medicine, 2002, 25(1):0160-7715.
Harackiewicz, JM. Intrinsic and extrinsic motivation: the search for optimal motivation and performance. San Diego: Academic Press, c2000.
Posted in Editorial, Mental Health, Miranda Massie | Tagged 2016, attention, balance, editorial, Energy, Focus, goals, Miranda Massie, motivation, recreation, resolutions, set-backs, Support, UBC | 3 Responses
By Guest Contributor on January 12, 2016
Guest contribution from Dr. Thara Vayali
New Year’s Resolutions: love ‘em or loathe ‘em, they are a key discussion point in January; so let’s discuss. Dedicating resolve towards accomplishing something is commendable, as it is an indicator of what matters to us, what (given endless free time and motivation) we truly want to put our energy toward. Unfortunately, this resolve can fall to the wayside as the year consistently offers up challenges to us completing our goals.
The only way to keep from feeling annual defeat is to deconstruct why we keep making and breaking resolutions.
In 2012, Time Magazine published a Top 10 most commonly broken resolutions:
- Lose weight & get fit
- Quit smoking
- Learn something new
- Eat a healthier diet
- Get out of debt & save money
- Spend more time with family
- Travel to new places
- Be less stressed
- Drink less
Five major reasons that resolutions such as these can go awry:
Not Specific. Resolutions often come in broad themes rather than achievable actions. Eating healthy, getting fit, losing weight, saving money, spending time – all these are admirable goals, but they are vague because they are unmeasurable. When there is nothing to measure, there’s nothing to work towards. With open-ended goals one can end up under-motivated or overwhelmed and resigned to failure.
Over Sized. Riding on the coattails of non-specific resolutions, are oversized resolutions. A major stumbling block is the habit of making grand predictions of our capabilities within the year. With the goal of progressing quickly, we aim too high. Resolutions are a practice of patience. Think of goals in terms of Projections vs. Stretch Goals. Resolutions are projections of your desires matched to your capabilities, within a timeframe. Aspirations are your stretch goals that can motivate you to aim higher than predicted. Both are great to have, just keep them clear and separate.
Improper Targets. The desire to change something in our lives isn’t enough, as we often don’t see the obstacles en route. Our bigger goal is often so desirable that we forget to check what roadblocks we might run into. A great tool for staying on track is to backtrack your goal to your daily actions and habits and take inventory of inhibiting factors. If there are people, locations, or temptations that you know will impede your resolve, your resolution can instead be to circumvent or remove these variables.
Incentives. Don’t expect yourself to change habits based on the elusive goal of being a healthier, happier, better person. That is just not enough to get you out of bed in the morning. Giving yourself small rewards is key – whether the reward shows up through the action itself, or through a perk you give yourself after taking your daily step toward your goal. Immediate rewards are important to keep motivation high and will increase the odds of your success.
Lack of Support. When a goal is a secret, no one knows if you haven’t done it. With habit changes, having a cheering squad or a team of people on the same path will sustain your commitment Community matters. Instead of going it alone, find companions who keep you motivated, who you can motivate and with whom you can share the glory.
So, take these factors into consideration and challenge yourself to some realistic resolutions this year. Here are questions and suggestions that can get you on your way.
First off, What? What exactly are you doing? Is your resolution simply a theme or is there a concrete action you can take from this statement? If you can pull a specific task that can be completed, you are more than half way there.
Then How? How will you do this action? If you don’t have a how, the resolution is a pie in the sky. Pick a method of action – if it doesn’t work, that’s okay! Regroup and try again. Trying is part of doing.
Who? Who will be part of assisting your decisions & actions? Begin by enlisting them as part of your goal. Do you have anyone to whom you are accountable to? Can you ask for their support and encouragement?
When? When do you plan on doing these actions, and when do you plan on assessing your efforts toward your goals? Give yourself a schedule and some lead time for a longer term evaluation of your goals and efforts.
Where? Where do these actions occur? Does this require prior organization? And if so perhaps sourcing the specific tools to proceed can be the realistic resolution.
Why? Why are you doing this? Big picture perspective will give you purpose and setting up desirable incentives for incremental progress will create motivation. You need both the big why and the small why.
Sit down with the resolutions you’ve already made and put them to the test. Ask yourself these questions and you might discover that you are better off with fewer, but more achievable resolutions. Banking on goals within your grasp will help you conquer the broken resolution repeat. Resolve to keep your resolutions!
Thara Vayali is a Naturopathic Doctor & Yoga Teacher in Vancouver and is also a UBC alumnus. She is obsessed with intestinal and immune health, hormones, and pain-free bodies. She is the creator of Change Natural Medicine: Budget conscious, membership based health consulting.
By Melissa Lafrance on December 2, 2015
Thriving Faculty is a monthly column that highlights UBC faculty who exemplify the integration of health and wellbeing into their classrooms, research, departments and communities.
Do you implement any strategies to support student mental health and wellbeing in the classroom/lab?
It’s important that students feel that their ideas matter and that they matter as individuals, regardless of their interests and career trajectories. I recently moved to Vancouver for a faculty appointment as Assistant Professor in UBC’s School of Kinesiology from the University of California San Francisco’s Department of Psychiatry. As a result, I haven’t had the privilege to work with students here at UBC just yet. But at UCSF, it was important for me to check in with my students and research assistants on a regular basis about their wellbeing and their passion for their work. I love encouraging students to be passionate and curious about research, because these traits (plus some research smarts) will lead to successes down the road, regardless of what people do in life. I encourage a lot of autonomy and self-directed learning and believe these allow for strong mental health, securing success in life. Also, it’s important to help students learn how to figure out a plan and stick with it. I encourage students to set S.M.A.R.T. goals for their semesters and plan out their weeks accordingly for a path to success. I’ve learned for myself that adding this type of detailed goal setting to my passion and curiosity for science has increased my research successes. And finally, I encourage students to leave their desks and homes to get outdoors and be active. Refuelling in nature with walks, hikes, or runs is key to wellbeing.
What strategies do you use in your own life, that help you thrive as Faculty?
I’m a new father to a son, named Zev, who will be six months old in mid-December. Every morning, my husband and I take him in the stroller for a walk and head to a café to sit and chat with each other and play with Zev. Making Zev laugh in the morning and watching him absorb the world around him is truly a remarkable way to start the day that helps me thrive for the rest of the day, to be honest. I also work out often, with long runs, hitting the gym, going for hikes. I love to also just get outside, sit on a bench and watch human interaction and contemplate our human existence in a social and natural environment (a little dark but somehow these thoughts help me thrive). Getting my blood and mind flowing in these ways truly helps me disconnect from the challenges of the day and reinvigorates me to sit back down and write a grant or a manuscript. And when I’m stressed out, I plant my two feet on the ground, close my eyes and breathe deeply and intentionally.
Are there any specific initiatives and/or research you are involved in that promote health, mental health and wellbeing?
At UCSF, my research was all about promoting health and wellbeing in the face of stress through physical activity. Stress and adversity in life are ubiquitous, with, of course, some people experiencing greater and more repeated stressful events than others. There’s a large literature on stress and its impact on mental and physical health, including research that shows the impact of stress deep into the functioning of our cells. My research seeks to help high stressed individuals develop a physically active lifestyle to then test the extent to which exercise can reverse some of these biological and psychological detriments resulting from chronic stress. I plan to continue this area of research at UBC and go even deeper into understanding how exercise can help build psychological and biological resiliency in the face of stress across the lifespan.
Eli Puterman, Assistant Professor in UBC’s School of Kinesiology, completed undergraduate degrees in Physiology (McGill University) and Psychology (Concordia University) in Montreal, Quebec, a Master of Arts degree in Clinical Psychology and PhD in Health Psychology at The University of British Columbia. After completing graduate studies, he moved to the University of California San Francisco for a postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Psychiatry and transitioned to faculty at UCSF as an Assistant Professor in 2013. In July 2015, he was appointed as an Assistant Professor in UBC’s School of Kinesiology in the Faculty of Education. At UBC, Dr. Puterman is developing and tailoring intervention trials, supplemented with laboratory-based stress manipulations and ambulatory psychological assessments, to examine the effects of habitual physical activity on immune cell health (i.e. telomere biology, mitochondria biogenesis), epigenetic alterations and protein synthesis, autonomic and neuroendocrine stress reactivity, and ecologically assessed affective and cognitive reactivity. His goal is to better understand and improve the health of British Columbians and Canadians experiencing high adversity who are most at risk for developing diseases of aging.
Posted in Guest Contributor, Mental Health, Physical Health, Thriving Faculty | Tagged balance, Eli Puterman, goals, School of Kinesiology, students, Support, Thriving faculty, wellbeing | Leave a response
By Melissa Lafrance on November 1, 2015
Fitting in Fitness is a series for staff and faculty that shares tips and hints on how to increase physical activity levels. This series is brought to us by Courtney Chan, a fourth-year student in UBC’s School of Kinesiology.
Here are Courtney’s tips for November!
About Courtney: Courtney is a third-year kinesiology student at the University of British Columbia. When not studying or working at UBC’s Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre. Courtney enjoys running and curling, and has a secret passion for line dancing. To her, the most important part of fitness is feeling good about yourself and having fun!
To keep informed of all new fitness tips and additional health and wellbeing offerings, subscribe to the Healthy UBC Monthly Newsletter.
By Guest Contributor on March 3, 2015
Guest contribution by Dr. Joti Samra
Many people, especially at this time of year (post-Christmas and pre-summer) like to set weight loss goals for themselves.
Rather than thinking in terms of any extremes, the first thing you need to do is establish a realistic and healthy weight goal – both for the short-term and long-term.
If you are aiming for a goal that is unhealthy or unrealistic (“lose 40 pounds by summer”), you are setting yourself up for failure. And unfortunately, this can contribute to a yo-yo effect in terms of both dieting behaviours and weight fluctuations.
You can easily find body mass index (BMI) calculators online which can provide you a reasonable approximation of what a healthy weight range should be for your height and sex. Speaking to a physician, dietitian or nutritionist can also help provide you with some guidance.
Once you have revised your target goal, remind yourself that slow and steady definitely wins the race. Guidelines suggest that it is unhealthy to lose any more than 1 to 2 pounds per week – so keep this and your current weight in mind when establishing a weight loss goal.
The principles of weight loss are not complicated, and most people know what it takes to lose weight. Weight loss requires increasing activity, and decreasing caloric intake (through a combination of reducing the amount of food eaten and making healthier food choices).
Be mindful of the types of limits and expectations you put on yourself – often, these are the biggest psychological barriers to not being able to stick to weight loss strategies.
Black or white thinking when it comes to weight or diet changes is never effective – which is part of the reason diets fail more often than not.
Try to not make “all-or-nothing” statements such as “I will only eat a salad when I go out for dinner” or “I will never eat junk food”. Instead, make realistic goals you can stick to, such as “I won’t eat junk food after such-and-such a time at night” or “I will limit alcohol intake when out with friends to a maximum of two drinks”.
These goals are much more realistic, and you are more likely to be successful in sticking to them as you are not depriving yourself. Remember, you can always revise and refine your goals if you aren’t reaching your target weight loss.
Finally remind yourself that weight changes take time.
This article is adapted in part from an article Dr. Samra wrote for The Globe and Mail (http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/health-and-fitness/ask-a-health-expert/i-keep-sabotaging-my-weight-loss-can-you-help/article555861/).
Dr. Joti Samra, R.Psych., is a clinical psychologist and organizational and media consultant. She is the host of OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network’s “Million Dollar Neighbourhood” and was the psychological consultant to CITY-TV’s “The Bachelor Canada”. She has also served as a psychological consultant and expert to a number of other TV shows and news outlets. Dr. Samra maintains a clinical practice in Vancouver. Her website is www.drjotisamra.com and she can be followed @drjotisamra
By Miranda Massie on March 3, 2014
The month of March is upon us, a time of year when spring is in bloom and our New Year’s resolutions are but a distant memory. I tend to shy away from locking myself into resolutions, but I did set some goals for myself for 2014, with a caveat.
My three goals:
- Exercise three times a week (gym, yoga, dance, walking)
- Eat healthy meals at home and only go out to eat one time per week
- Avoid alcohol except on special occasions and if so, only one glass
- I will stick with this from Jan. 1 to March 15, 2014
Why the caveat you might ask? Because over the years, I have discovered not only what motivates me, but how I am motivated. It turns out that I am motivated by short-term, project-based goals that have a clear beginning and middle, and emphasize a tangible end within reach. At work, I thrive on projects and really sink my teeth into the process of arriving at a final goal that is realistically within my grasp.
When it came to my New Year’s resolutions this year, I decided to see if approaching my fitness goals in a project-based manner might lead to success with respect to my health outcomes the same way that I have seen success at work.
I chose March 15h as my deadline, as I will be leaving for a two-week holiday on that day. I decided that: 1) it would be nice to build up my strength and immune system before travelling abroad, and 2) I would have a difficult time sustaining my healthy behaviours while away.
I am now just two weeks shy of my final goal and I feel great! I have in no way been perfect but maybe for the first time, I feel as though I really succeeded at something and can see and feel the positive results.
This month, I invite you to think about what motivates you, and how. Perhaps you are motivated by competition or by teamwork. If that is the case, be sure to join the Healthy UBC Challenge 2014! Grab your colleagues and spend four weeks working towards individual and collective health goals. The challenge offers competition, teambuilding and great prizes!
Now that I know what motivates me, my next step is to set new goals for when I return. Perhaps a personal yoga challenge or a workout regime focused on endurance. Maybe I will finally work up the courage to bike to work or to enter the Sun Run.
The most valuable lesson of it all is that I proved to myself that I could do it. I had the self-determination to stick with a goal and to see it through. I was aware that the sacrifices made would not last forever, and this pushed me to sustain my healthy behaviours that much longer.
Want to learn more about motivation?