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Did you commit to a list of new year goals for 2019? Did you make any grand promises to yourself this New Year’s Day to get healthy, to lose weight or make some other change? There is something about the start of a New Year that makes you want start fresh. Even though nothing really changes except the date, there is feeling that each of us now have new set of pages to fill for the year. We feel empowered that this is the year we will push through and make all these changes.
Today, January 17th, happens to be known as Ditch New Year’s Resolution Day because it is believed to be the day that a majority of people give up or “ditch” their resolutions for the year. Is that you? Did you resolve to lose weight this year or go to the gym every day and you’ve already given up? Maybe life has just gotten in the way. Or you hate going to the gym. Whatever the struggle or the reason I encourage you to stick with it and not give up.
Need some help to push you through the desire to give up and ways to stay on track. And if you’ve already given up just restart today – it’s never too late!!!
Here are some different ways to help you achieve your healthy living new year goals in 2019.
Let’s face it. Making change is hard. Lifestyle habits in particular are hard. And it’s very easy to allow life to get in the way. But making small changes is truly the key to success. One of the reason most of us give up on our resolutions or goals are because we go big and when we can’t do it, we simply give up.
But breaking the goal up into smaller goals and working towards achieving them one at a time may make it easier. Smaller goals clarify your process and create a roadmap to follow on your journey. Plus smaller goals are also more manageable and easier to accomplish. As you progress through the steps on your way to your larger goal, small achievements motivate you to push through.
Take a look at the New Year’s Resolutions you made for this year and see if you can break them up into smaller chunks. Rather than losing 20 pounds, what about committing to just lose the first 5? Or maybe you want to workout more? Start with committing to working out two times a week and then increase it from there.
Remember that change doesn’t happen immediately.
I am so guilty of this one. I expect immediate results and when they don’t come, I often get discouraged and just give up. But all change takes time and the process is slow. The focus for making healthy lifestyle changes is best as a lifetime goal not a temporary change to just drop a few pounds. You didn’t gain weight or become sedentary overnight so be patient and just keep moving forward, eventually you will begin to see some changes and that will inspire you to stick with it.
Remove the need to quantify results.
So often we allow health goals to be about a number on the scale or the size of your pants. The reality is that any change to living a healthy life, no matter how small, is an accomplishment. Sometimes these numbers are too big to achieve and discourage us. And then when we don’t achieve them right away we decide to give up (see #2).
I’ve made the shift to making choices that effect how I feel rather than it being just about weight. I know my energy level is improved when I am actively making healthy living a focus. This includes getting good sleep, eating balanced meals, avoiding junk food and exercising regularly. I feel like when I focus on just feeling better, it’s easier to stay on track!!
Identify your motivation and try to internalize it.
Knowing why you want to achieve your goals is a huge part of being successful and reaching your goals. Say you want to eat healthy and lose weight. Why? Sure, it may be about looking good. But, there may also be more important reasons that you can identify that will motivate you more. Such as staying active so you can play with your kids. Or eating healthy so that you prevent chronic disease and can spend more time with your family doing fun things.
Transforming your motivations from a focus on the external to something that is more internal, such as your own personal fulfillment may give you more strength to push through and carry on.
My motivation is 100% about how I feel physically. I know that eating lots of sugar and heavy foods lowers my energy and makes me feel terrible. Remembering this fact helps me make better decisions and often provides more motivation for me than the number on the scale.
Get your zzzz’s
Research shows that a lack of sleep leads to poor decision making and has also been linked with weight gain. How does a lack of sleep affect you? Are you even aware of how it impacts your behavior?
Sleep is my top priority. When I experience poor sleep, everything goes out the window. Forget going to the gym. Forget the healthy eating – I will eat just about anything with sugar and lots of it.
Maybe your experience isn’t exactly the same as mine, but evidence indicates that sleep is one of the basic requirements for healthy living. A lack of sleep affects you physically and many times in ways that you may not be aware. When you don’t get enough sleep, the body may try to compensate and actually increase your hunger. Over time, with repeated days of inadequate sleep, even your attempts to eat healthy may be for nothing as your body battles back.
Make healthier food choices
Maybe your goals or resolutions are related to other areas of your life such as your job or social life. Believe it or not the food you eat affects how you feel. It affects your energy level. And it will eventually affect your health and potentially even your waistline.
But if you feel better physically it will likely transfer into other areas of your life and keep you working towards your goals.
I know it’s hard – believe me I do. However, making small changes every day to make healthier food choices will help you improve an overall sense of wellbeing.
How? My number one tip for success here is planning. Decide what you want eat and have it on hand. Don’t wait until you are hungry and then start to think about what to eat as it may lead to a poor decision such as ordering out. My go to for planning and find ideas is Pinterest. Not all the recipes are great and I have had some epic fails but it’s a good place to start.
Also, remember balance is key. Don’t take something you enjoy out of your diet just because you think it’s not healthy. The best thing to do is have it in a more limited amount or less frequently.
Exercise and activity
I enjoy exercise though I often make many excuses to avoid it. Generally, once I get out there it’s a lot of fun, but at times just getting out the door is the biggest struggle.
My advice. Find something you enjoy to just get moving. For me, I discovered salsa dancing and started doing it once a week, then several times a week and then it led me to wanting to add other types of exercise to get fit.
I find that my exercise time is sometimes the best time for my mind to wander. I often have my “aha moments” during an evening workout sesh!! So if I am struggling to reach a certain goal, sometimes I can work through what is going on while I am exercising.
Tell yourself you can do it. That is the first step. Then believe you can do it. Last, get out there and do it. Visualization and mantras help me a lot, especially when I am struggling with negative beliefs or my fear that I will never get there. Picturing how you will actually feel and what your life will look like when you reach that goal, is a great motivator. It helps you to believe that you will actually eventually realize your goals.
The more you believe that you will actually achieve your goals, then the less likely you are to give up when it gets difficult.
Remember that you are going to make mistakes and you may get sidetracked from your goals.
It’s going to happen. I promise. I know, because you and I are both human and we mess up. We have a bad day and skip the workout or make unhealthy food choices. But that’s ok, because there is always the next meal or the next day to get right back on track. The trick lies in making sure that you don’t let one little lapse or blip in achieving your health goals, be the trigger to make you give up.
Applying some of these approaches to motivation and goal setting hopefully helps you to keep moving forward on your healthy living new year goals. While I wish if was easy, making lifestyle change is hard work and requires you to continually reframe your goals and look at what you want to achieve in order to motivate you to stick with it!!
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