It’s that time of the year again when we make our “New Year, New Me” fitness and health goals. Small changes can yield big results so follow these simple tips to stay on track. And remember – obsessing over the occasional slip won’t help you achieve your goal. Do the best you can each day, and take one day at a time.
1. Be realistic
The surest way to fall short of your goal is to make it unattainable. For instance, resolving to never eat your favorite food again is setting you up to fail. Instead, strive for a goal that is attainable, such as avoiding it more often than you do now.
2. Find your motivation
What is motivating you to live a healthier life? Do you want to look better in your clothes, feel more energetic, or simply improve your health? Get clear about what you want, and then use that to inspire you.
3. Have a plan and make goals
Decide how you will deal with the temptation to skip that exercise class or have that piece of cake. This could include calling on a friend for help, practicing positive thinking and self-talk, or reminding yourself how your “bad” will affect your goal. Goals help measure progress. If you don’t know where you want to end up, you won’t really know how to get there. When making your goals, you need to make SMART goals:
For example, a SMART goal would be something like, “I will walk for 15 minutes 3 days for one week.” Or, “I will prepare one new healthy recipe each week for the month of January.”
4. Keep a food journal
Looking closely at what you eat is often an eye-opening experience. Keeping track of everything you put into your body is a great habit to start. Tracking will help you tweak your diet so that you can still enjoy foods you love without sabotaging your weight loss or healthy eating efforts.
5. Make a “Pros” and “Cons” list
It may help to see a list of items on paper to keep your motivation strong. Develop this list over time, and ask others to contribute to it. Keep your list with you and refer to it when you need help keeping your resolve.
6. Eat breakfast every day
You’ve almost certainly heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Eat a big healthy breakfast as early as possible. It will give you more energy, lead you to make healthier choices during the day, and keep you feeling full so you eat less later on.
In order to burn calories at a faster rate and build a healthy body, you’ll need to incorporate exercise into your life. Take it slow at first, and then increase your time and/or intensity once you feel comfortable. If you haven’t exercised in a while, talk to your doctor to make sure that you are healthy enough to begin an exercise plan.
8. Take it slow
A major mistake many people make when trying to tackle a health resolution is trying to do everything at once. This is almost always a recipe for disaster. Spend a few weeks just trying to achieve 1-2 goals at a time. When you have established new good habits, put a couple more goals on your plate. Remember: You want to make permanent changes, and these will take time to implement.
9. Reward yourself
This doesn’t mean that you can eat an entire box of chocolates if your resolution is to eat a better diet. Instead, celebrate your success by treating yourself to something you enjoy that doesn’t contradict your resolution. If you have been sticking to your promise to eat better, for example, reward yourself with new fitness clothing or by going to a movie with a friend.
10. Be Prepared for lapses but KEEP TRYING
A lapse is when you temporarily “fall off the wagon.” This is a normal part of the process; no one is perfect. If you have totally run out of steam when it comes to keeping your resolution by mid-February, don’t despair – just start over again! Recommit yourself for 24 hours. You can do anything for 24 hours. The 24-hour increments will soon build on each other and, before you know it, you will be back on track.