It’s a New Year and a time for new beginnings and common resolutions of sleeping more, eating less and going to the gym every single day. It happens every year. I watch so many people with the absolute best of intentions want to focus on their health, but so often it doesn’t last.
I am not against New Years Resolutions, I actually encourage everyone to make conscious decisions to set new goals – why wouldn’t you want to be healthier, stronger and fitter in 2015? Set those goals, try new things, aspire to take on new challenges . . . but be prepared to make the changes required to succeed.
Being healthier is a common new years resolution and seemingly easy to achieve. Everyone is aware fruits and vegetables are good for us, processed foods should be limited, we need 7 hours of sleep, should drink 8 glasses of water a day and exercise is the key to a strong body. So why is it so hard for so many to gain the balance of better health that they are striving for?
The Reason Resolutions Usually Don’t Work is . . . You
My favorite saying is “If you want things to change you have to change things.”
Going to the gym every day only in January is not going to get rid of 10 years of post baby weight gain. Eating vegetables for 2 weeks is not going to kick start your immune system and sleeping in for a couple of mornings is not going to have you feeling rejuvenated.
If you want real change, you need to make some real changes . . . FOR EVER.
To change your health you have to change your lifestyle. Small changes can have a big impact. A simple decisions to go to the gym 2-3 times a week is great and a lot more manageable than aspiring to go every single day, not being able to keep it up and eventually being so frustrated, you stop going at all.
Switching out processed cheese in favor of real cheddar, fresh fruit in place of fruit cups, raw vegetables in place of fries are examples of small healthy changes you can stick to long term that won’t require adherence to a strict diet you are sure to ditch.
Did you know the reason diets don’t work? At the start of the diet you lose plenty of weight and then you stop the diet, you go back to eating the way you used to before and, ta-da, your body goes back to the way it used to be before!
How to Make Changes That Stick
Be More Active
If you want to be more active, make some new friends who are more active than you, and go with them when they are walking, running, playing tennis or indoor swimming. Sign up for boxing, yoga, pilates or muscle pump classes or join an outdoors group that goes hiking – even in the winter. Join a gym, make a commitment to go 2-3 times a week, then get a gym workout you enjoy and can do even if you only have 30 minutes at the gym. Look for family adventures you can do together such as Geocaching and instead of taking Dad to the movies for his birthday go rock climbing, roller skating or play indoor mini putt.
Lifestyle Change: Make activity a part of everyday. Walk to the park, take the stairs, play Frisbee with the kids or join a gym or organized sports group to keep you having fun and accountable.
If you want to eat better fill your grocery cart with healthy foods, take your kids favorite meals like pancakes, and make them homemade and healthier by adding oatmeal and making from scratch instead of a box. Make a commitment to not buy processed snacks and start baking healthy options at home. Plan head for busy weeks with easy 15 Minute Meals that are still healthy. Cut out snacking after 8pm, make sure you have a healthy breakfast every single morning, drink 8 glasses of water every single day and use these 5 essentials to plan every meal to ensure it’s balanced and healthy.
Lifestyle Change: Its not a diet, it’s a healthy way of eating. . . forever. Choose fruits, vegetables, lean protein, calcium and fibre at all meals. Skip convenience foods and drive thru’s everyday.
This one is tough for me. I have been a night owl my entire life. I love nothing more than staying up until 1am watching TV and eating chips. I regret it the moment the alarm clock rings. Why do I do it? I have no idea. I am positive I am just wired differently. I know I need sleep to be at my best and to maintain good health, and to avoid those puffy puffy eyes!!
Lifestyle Change: My goal for 2015 is to go to bed before 11pm. How am I going to do that? I am going to go to bed before 11pm. That’s it.
Life is busy, kids are busy, we are all busy. A friend once told me liked being busy. At first I was offended, then I realized she was right. I do like being busy. It took me a long time to realize the benefits of slowing down, of reading a book and practicing yoga. Those downward dog moments you are supposed to be thinking about your breath, I used to mentally write out my shopping list. It is important to unwind and unplug and be silent a little every day without screens or reality.
Lifestyle Change: Start with 1 day a week of a yoga class or reading a couple chapters of a book. Learn how to meditate or just sit in a room with your favorite music for 30 minutes and just be in the moment. Repeat once a week.
The only way these life changes will take hold is if YOU decide they will. The only person that can get you to the gym is YOU. The only person who can decide to eat that bag of chips or the bag or baby carrots is YOU.
Start small with your goals.
Be strong with your willpower.
Be realistic with your choices.
Ask others to join you.
Celebrate small successes.
Do it again tomorrow.
You can do this . . .and why wouldn’t you? A healthier you, is a healthier you! What are your resolutions this year?
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