As we get ready for the new year we often resolve to lead healthier and more active lives, but sticking to these resolutions beyond January is hard. Year after year most of us do not keep our resolutions and fall into a cycle of trying, giving up, and repeating next year. But it doesn’t have to keep going that way! Changing how we think and go about healthy changes in our routines can increase our chances of success exponentially. And when we’re trying to improve our health for both the present and future, this can make all the difference.
The first thing you need to do is make sure your resolution is what you truly want to do. If your resolution is to run a mile around your neighborhood every morning, but you hate waking up early enough to have time or don’t enjoy running outdoors then you’re setting yourself up to give up. If your resolution is to only eat red meat once a week, but red meats are your favorite type of food, you won’t want to keep it up. The more your personal plan fits your personal likes, dislikes, and abilities the easier it will be to stick to it and reach your goals. Find ways of being more active that work with you as an individual, fitting your schedule, energy level, and physical ability. Find ways of eating healthier that fit your taste buds, nutritional requirements, and allergies.
For example, if you don’t run at all consider starting off with walking to get your body used to the movement and pace before trying to run on a daily basis. Learn what your body can handle and tailor your exercise to fit, leaving room to increase in intensity as you become accustomed to it. A long term plan that starts with 20 minute walks and leads up to running a mile or more has a greater chance of success because the individual took into consideration what it would take for them to realistically be able to run miles regularly instead of just trying to run that far from the start.
Goals that are realistic and you believe yourself to be capable of achieving are the ones you are most likely to reach. Conversely, if you become discouraged by a lack of results or frustrated by an exercise plan or diet that is too hard for your body to keep up you are more likely to give up. The better you feel about yourself and your plan the easier it is to stick to the plan and reach your goals.
Some people start exercise regimens or diets to lose weight but become discouraged when they lose only a few pounds. When the goal is weight loss, exercise or change in diet alone is often not enough to lead to significant results. Changing your eating habits to a healthier diet in conjunction with exercise will lead to an overall healthier body weight more often than just trying to do one or the other will.
Finally, consistency is essential in any health regimen. Running 1 mile every day for a year provides a lot more health benefits than running 3 miles every day for only two weeks. And eating healthy every day leads to better health than eating healthy once a week ever will. When you set your goals according to your abilities, can stay in a positive mentality about your progress, and are consistent with your healthier actions you will have set yourself up for long term success.
By Samantha Dillon, DR Vitamin Solutions