New Year, New You: Easy Steps For A Healthier You
It is common practice to set New Year’s Resolutions: weight loss, a better self-care routine, implementing new habits or cutting out old ones. However, with 80% of New Year’s Resolutions failing by February, we need to reassess our goal-making.
How to Set An Attainable Resolution
Start with the Why: Ask yourself, why are you setting this goal? Understanding your reasoning can help motivate you to stick to a certain resolution. Additionally, setting big goals without thinking of how you are going to get there can make it seem quite daunting. Breaking a goal down into actionable steps is critical for success.
Example: “I want to lose weight.”
This is an admirable, yet vague, goal. Ask yourself why you want to lose weight. Is it so that you’ll feel more confident in your own skin or rocking a bikini on Spring Break? Or maybe you’re trying to lose weight for your health, to prevent the risk of developing health complications.
Secondly, we need to break down the steps required to reach the end product. There are multiple factors that go into weight loss. Diet and exercise being two of the big ones. Maybe you have something sweet after every meal, and decide to save dessert for an after-dinner treat. That is one small, but compounding factor that is an important part of reaching your bigger goal. If you don’t work out, you can create a plan that works with you. Maybe you decide to walk a lap around the block once per day, and increase the distance every week for 2 months. Then, you start by jogging around the block once per day, and increase that over time… whatever plan works for you- the important part is having a strategy for success!
Easy Steps For A Healthier You
With all this being said, we have taken a couple of the most common New Year’s Resolutions, and broken them down into totally doable steps.
Exercise: After you can explain to yourself why you want to exercise (weight loss for your health, building muscle so that you can carry your kids longer, etc.), you need to create your plan. Three good questions to answer are:
- When will you exercise? Decide how many times per week you are going to exercise, and if possible, identify which days those will be. (Ex: I will work out 3x per week, on Monday, Thursday, and Saturday).
- What kind of exercise will you do? Will you go to a gym and work on building muscle, focus on running outdoors, or join a sport or other athletic activity (swimming, yoga, basketball, cycling, etc.)?
- How long will you work out? Dedicating 20 minutes, 40 minutes, an hour, etc. to your workout on your chosen days of the week will help you set & stick to a schedule.
Starting (or Changing) Your Diet
Again, it’s important to assess your reasons for changing your diet. Whether you eat a lot of processed food, indulge in too many “cheat” meals, or have some underlying health issues that you want to address by cutting out potential triggers- knowing your reason for starting a diet will help keep you on track.
Additionally, it’s good to have a game plan for moments where you will inevitably struggle. Healthy swaps and backup plans.
Some of the most impactful changes don’t have to be hard. Below are a few of the best things you can do for your health, and healthy swaps:
- Minimizing processed foods: Rather than buying foods in packages and wrappers, opt for fresh foods. Browse paleo versions of your favorite foods, and have fun experimenting in the kitchen. Batch cooking can come in handy– making larger portions of each meal will enable you to freeze the leftovers. When you would otherwise be tempted by a processed meal from the grocery store, you can just heat up your healthy ready-made meal! Bonus tip: Carry protein cars, nuts, and other easy healthy snacks in your purse/keep them in your car for occasions when you are out & about and in need of fuel.
- Cutting out gluten: This seems daunting to some, but is in fact incredibly easy. There are gluten-free alternatives for everything, though most of the time, these are processed foods that we want to be avoiding anyways. Swap out breads for other, healthier sources of carbs, such as sweet potatoes.
- Limiting sugar and alcohol intake: Limit your alcohol intake, and check out our article for tips on hacking your alcohol consumption. Swap out excessively sugary desserts for dark chocolate (80%+). Another delicious and natural treat is a baked cinnamon apple: Dice up an apple into ~½” cubes. Add a tablespoon of butter and a good helping of ceylon cinnamon over the top. Cover in foil, and bake at 400° for about 20 minutes. The final result will be a very soft treat, which can be mixed up. This resembles apple pie, and is free of any added sugar!
Wanting to better yourself isn’t limited to New Year’s. No matter when you start your healthier lifestyle, setting reasonable goals and establishing your “why” is a significant step towards your success.
We wish you a happy and healthy 2019!