New Year, New You!

January is often the time of year when people make New Year’s Resolutions, which typically focus on health, weight loss and exercise.  However, many people do not stick to these resolutions for very long, and become frustrated or unmotivated. 

This year, take a new approach to your resolution!  Whatever your goal (weight loss, more exercise, quitting a bad habit such as smoking, etc) start small and build healthy habits throughout the year that will help you reach your goal. Changing habits or trying to lose weight will be a challenge, but should not create an atmosphere of frustration, resentment or failure.   Below are some tips to start you on your new journey to a new you!

  1. Choose a reasonable health goal:
    • Start with a goal that is reasonable and achievable.  Setting smaller goals that keep you moving to a larger goal can help to keep seeing results and keep you motivated.  Expect changes to take time and dedication.  This should become a lifestyle of wellness, not a temporary action.
  2. Small changes make a big difference:
    • Start with small changes to get you on your path to a new lifelong habit.
    • Starting with a restrictive eating plan can have short term results, but are often too difficult to follow long term.  If you want to lose weight, start with small changes- eating smaller portions, add fresh fruit and vegetables to each meal, only have dessert 2 times a week, drink water or sparkling water instead of high calorie drinks, eat more plant based foods, switch out regular pasta and bread for whole grain options, etc.
    • If you do not know how to start a fitness program, start with small actions- park farther from the building and use the stairs, take daily walks in the neighborhood, do simple exercises during commercials while watching TV, or join a fitness club or class and try something new!
  3. Expect the ups and downs:
    • Understand from the beginning that your wellness journey will have wins but also defeats, and you should not let a few setbacks take your eyes off the ultimate goal.  While going through any change, you may resort to old habits- such as over indulging in your favorite food, or skipping a workout for a couple days, or sneak one little puff from a friend’s cigarette.  Be honest with yourself and get motivated to do better the next day.  People who allow feelings of defeat and failure are more likely to give up.  Don’t give up, keep heading toward your goals!  Expect setbacks and have a plan to overcome them.
  4. There is power in numbers:
    • Enlist friends and family to be on the wellness journey with you.  Have a workout partner to help motivate you to show up at the gym.  Have a trusted person to be a cheerleader for you that can celebrate with you through the success but also help you to stay motivated through the struggles.
  5.  Knowledge is power:
    • Find trusted professional resources.  Make sure to find qualified people or websites that give science based recommendations.  Dietitians are the best resource for nutrition education. Fitness trainers are great resources for exercise recommendations.  However, be careful of people giving advice that is not their expertise, such as fitness trainers giving nutrition advice. As always, talk with your doctor about your wellness goals and plans.