Starting the New Year can be a perfect opportunity to change something about your life or behavior or do something you have always wanted to do. Here are a few examples of popular health related resolutions:
- Lose weight
- Get fit
- Eat more healthily
- Start a new sport
- Run a marathon
Many people start strong in January, but by the time summer comes around resolutions are often long forgotten. Here are four tips to help you set and stay on track with your goals in the year ahead.
1. Choose your goals wisely
Your chances of success are much greater if you channel all of your energy into changing just one thing. Your resolution should be something reasonably achievable but also not a quick or easy fix. For example, rather than aiming to cut out all refined sugar in your diet, try cutting back gradually, or find healthier alternatives to your favorite snacks. Avoid setting any overly ambitious goals as this will just discourage you and may encourage unhealthy practices. If you are taking up a new sport, sudden over-exertion can cause discomfort and lead to excessive muscle ache in the following days, which could cause you to give up all together. Try to build up slowly and work on making your new regime a sustainable lifestyle change.
2. Tell people or find a buddy
Telling your family and friends about your goal means you are more likely to get support and want to avoid failure. You may find that someone else has the same resolution as you – this can keep you motivated and you can resolve to take the first steps of your lifestyle changes together, such as joining a group exercise class. You are more likely to push on through the more difficult days when you have a supporting partner.
3. Have a plan and track your progress
Break your end goal into a series of steps; focus on creating sub-goals that are measurable and time based. If you are taking up a new sport, start small and build up at regular intervals. If you are jogging, challenge yourself to run five minutes longer each week until you reach your distance goal. Once you have accomplished this, you can work on improving your timing, or even set a new, bigger distance goal. This can also help you monitor your progress and give you a periodic sense of accomplishment, which can give you the motivation to work towards your next milestone.
4. Don’t get disheartened, remind yourself of the benefits
Remember, setbacks are inevitable. Don’t be too hard on yourself and give yourself enough time to recover from momentary setbacks before working towards your next milestone. If you are trying to shed some weight for example, try to weigh yourself no more than once a week. If you have lapsed from your healthy diet or skipped a gym class, you may think the increase on the scales the next day is a direct result of that. However, it’s normal for weight to fluctuate on a daily basis for reasons beyond lifestyle. By limiting how often you check your progress, you can get a more accurate view of how effective your new, healthier lifestyle is progressing.
If your progress is slow, and you are feeling demotivated, it may help to remind yourself of the benefits associated with achieving your goals. Try creating a checklist of how life will be better once you obtain your aim.