It happens every year…
The clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve and we all make pledges to adopt a healthier lifestyle. Then…3 weeks later we are eating junk, sitting on the couch, and neglecting our newly purchased gym memberships or equipment.
Why does this happen? And what can you do to ensure you actually stick to your health and wellness goals for this year?
The answer is simpler than you think! It’s all about setting realistic goals for yourself so you don’t burnout within the first month of adapting to better health and wellness habits.
In an effort to encourage you to start 2021 off on the right foot, I want to share with you some of my tips for setting realistic health and wellness goals this year.
Here’s what I recommend…
Tip #1: Start Slow with a New Exercise Routine
Making a commitment to run 5 miles a day to improve your health is a great idea. However, it’s pretty unrealistic for most people—especially if you’re not a runner.
After 1-2 long, excruciating runs, you may quickly find yourself losing motivation and giving up on yourself. The reason: Your body isn’t ready for this kind of commitment yet.
Think about it…
Many marathon runners train for nearly a year before they are ready to run a great distance. This means you need to start slow as well and build up the endurance and strength your body needs to successfully accomplish your goals.
This is true for ANY exercise routine you want to adopt.
Start small, start slow. Then, build yourself up BEFORE you burn yourself out. Any movement is good for your body, so don’t feel bad if you’re only about to run a half-mile or lift 10-pound weights to start.
When you remain committed to your exercise routine, you’ll start seeing results.
Tip #2: Find Creative Ways to Adjust Your Diet
Losing weight is one of the most common New Year’s resolutions around. Yet, so many people fail because they jump to crash or FAD diets and obscure eating plans that ultimately lead to failure.
If you’re not a healthy-eater to begin with, radically changing your diet can become a miserable experience. And if you have picky kids to feed this only complicates your ability to make changes.
The good news is that healthy food choices are very versatile, and it’s easier than you may think to make minor changes that can drastically change your diet. All you have to do is get a little creative!
- If you don’t love greens but enjoy smoothies, blend kale and spinach into your morning drink. You’ll never know it’s there!
- Are your kids always begging for pizza? Try a pizza with a cauliflower crust!
- Not a vegetable person? Finely grate carrots, eggplant, zucchini (or just about any veggie) and mix them into your meatballs or meatloaf.
Simple cooking hacks can also improve the health of the food you’re eating. For instance…
- Instead of frying chicken (or any other form of meat), grill it!
- Look for sodium-free spice blends in the grocery store to season your food.
- Use fresh herbs to add flavor to meats and veggies instead of fattening sauces.
Yes, meal prep may take a little more thought than simply throwing a freezer meal into the microwave, but I promise your body will thank you in the long run!
Tip #3: Listen to Your Body
Due to age, health history, injuries, etc. it’s important to be mindful of your body when adopting new health habits.
If you have aching legs and a bad back, a gym full of stairmasters and treadmills might not be the right place for you. Instead, joining a YMCA with a swimming pool (which offers a low-impact exercise option) is probably a better choice!
It’s important to listen to your body and talk to your doctor about what types of exercise will be most beneficial to you so you don’t get frustrated and give up.
From walking and biking to yoga and Zumba classes, there are a million different options available! Test a few different options out and see what works best for you!
Tip #4: Join a Virtual Class Vs. Individual Workouts
Some people really enjoy the social aspect of exercise. If this describes you, your best bet is to enroll in a class where you’ll be able to exercise alongside other people who can help motivate and inspire you.
Of course, in the midst of the COVID pandemic, opt for a virtual class to stay safe!
Who knows, you might even make a new friend…a definite bonus as you work hard to achieve your fitness goals.
Most gyms and rec centers offer…
- Spin classes
- Swimming Classes
- Group Yoga
- Dance Classes
Be sure to check out what your local gym/rec center offers and sign yourself up!
Tip #5: Make Time for your Mental Health
Stress, anxiety, and depression can all negatively affect your ability to reach your health goals.
For example, when people are stressed, they might stress eat. Or, if you’re feeling down, finding the motivation to get off the couch and workout might seem simply impossible.
We often forget that mental health is a huge part of whole-body health. And there’s nothing wrong with getting help, visiting your doctor, or talking to a mental health professional if you need care.
Another part of managing your mental health is self-care. It’s so important to take the time you need to rest, relax, and refocus amongst the hustle and bustle of work, kids, and other responsibilities.
Take a hot bath…read a good book…treat yourself to a mani/pedi or a massage. Never forget, it’s ok to put yourself first and spoil yourself sometimes!
Tip #6: Find an Accountability Partner
Sometimes we all need a little extra encouragement to make healthy choices. This is why an accountability partner is so important!
Find a friend or family member who you trust that can help keep you accountable for your goals. Make sure they check in with you every week to ensure you’re staying on track.
Better yet, find someone who is interested in working out with you or meal prepping with you. Going through the motions with someone else is a great way to establish healthy habits that last for a lifetime.
Tip #7: Speak to a Healthcare Professional About Your Goals
Nobody knows your health better than your physician.
In fact, he/she likely even has great recommendations on how you can improve your health that can be tailored to any health issue you might currently be experiencing. After all, someone with heart disease might need to follow a slightly different health and wellness plan than someone with diabetes.
Your doctor can help you set up realistic goals and provide you with the info you need to achieve them. All you have to do is ask!
If you don’t have a primary caregiver and are looking for guidance on how to best take care of your body, I encourage you to set up a virtual visit with me online. Together we can walk through your health history and set up a plan that WILL work for you!
Here’s to a happy and healthy New Year!