Before the craziness of the holiday season sets in, we all tell ourselves that we’ll stay active during the holidays and maintain our healthy eating habits no matter what the holidays throw at us. We tell ourselves that we’ll eat everything in moderation, we’ll get up extra early to squeeze in a workout or a morning run, and we’ll stay away from the temptation to abandon all self-control when we see our favorite treats.We also know that it doesn’t always turn out that way. We do sometimes get off track and stray from our usual healthy habits, and then to make up for it we make a New Year’s Resolution to get healthier and back on track.
If you’ll be setting a health oriented goal for your New Year’s Resolution, here are some tips to help you reach the goals that you’ve set for yourself.
Set a Realistic Goal
There’s nothing more frustrating than constantly feeling like you’re attempting to do the impossible, especially when the impossible is a goal that you’ve set for yourself. By setting a realistically achievable goal for yourself, you’re guaranteeing that it is possible for you to make this change as long as you put in the required effort. For example, if your goal is to lose a certain amount of weight within a certain amount of time, make sure that it is possible (and most importantly healthy!) to lose that amount of weight in that time. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention tells us that a healthy weight loss ranges from one to two pounds per week, so trying to lose twenty pounds in one month is not only impractical, but can be dangerous to your health.
Change Your Lifestyle
Make sure to realize that reaching and maintaining your goals will take a lifestyle change. Staying healthy is not a two week program or a fad diet or a three day cleanse. These programs, like a teatox, (if done in a healthy way) can help boost your lifestyle change and get you into the swing of making healthy choices, but are not to be used alone without healthy eating habits and a regular exercise schedule. If you complete a certain health program but then go back to your old not so healthy habits, the progress that you made will disappear and you will be back at square one which can be extremely discouraging.
Make a Plan
When you fail to plan, you are planning to fail. When embarking on a health or fitness journey, you cannot just “wing it” and expect to see the results that you’re hoping for. After setting a realistic goal, figure out the things you’ll have to do to get yourself there. Figure out the negative habits that need cut from your life and how you can eliminate them. Make a list of the good healthy habits you’ll need to incorporate in your day to day life. Figure out what time each day is free for you to get your workout in, and make weekly meal plans for yourself so that you’ll know what to buy at the grocery store each week.
Break Up Your Goal
If you have a long term goal, break it up into smaller more frequent goals. For example, if your goal is to lose twenty pounds in ten weeks, try splitting it up by aiming toward losing two pounds per week. In doing this, you’re allowing yourself many more small victories to check off and celebrate. You’ll be able to experience that feeling of accomplishment more frequently which will help keep you motivated to continue pushing through to meet the rest of your goals.
Make sure that you incorporate incentives for yourself during this change. It's important for your wellbeing. Let’s say your goal is to lose two pounds each week. At the end of each week if you’ve reached your goal, reward yourself. Grab that expensive specialty drink next time you go into your local coffee shop or buy yourself that cute top that you’ve had your eye on for ages. It’s a lot easier to keep working toward your goals when you get to look forward to celebrating them.
Be Easy On Yourself
Everybody falls down and gets off track and that’s okay. The thing that counts the most is how you handle your setbacks and whether or not you get back up to keep trying. Don’t punish yourself or beat yourself up by dwelling on the unhealthy choices you’ve made. If you know you’ve eaten too many sweets or you’ve binged on a lot of junk food, DO NOT starve yourself the next day and do not push yourself to the point of losing consciousness at the gym. Instead, evaluate what happened and how you can prevent yourself from falling back into those poor habits. Punishing your body for these setbacks is just as unhealthy, if not more so, than eating too many treats or binging on junk food.
New Year’s Resolutions don’t have to be daunting tasks that you dread working toward. If you approach it the right way, you’ll be able to happily achieve the goals that you set for yourself while feeling a rewarding sense of accomplishment.
By: Kayla Harwick