Starting a new year is a great opportunity to reflect upon the past 12 months and think about the kind of goals you set and accomplished.
Did you achieve your New Year’s resolutions last year? It’s okay if not – a lot of people don’t.
That’s generally because they make their goals unattainable or too strict.
It’s hard to go from “zero” to “ten” literally overnight, in other words, which is why you have to start small with your goals.
Need somewhere to start? You’ve come to the right place.
Here are some tips and recommendations to help you make 2020 your best and most successful year yet!
Three Ways to Make Your New Year Resolutions Last
At the beginning of 2020, many of you entered the year with big health and fitness goals in mind. Maybe it was deciding to finally get that gym membership, training for a big race, or trying out a new diet.
If you’re one of those people, then you fall into one of three places just over a month into the new year: crushing your goals and feeling great, sticking to your resolutions but struggling to stay the course, or feeling defeated because you didn’t keep it up.
We all know that changing our lifestyles and habits is a difficult process, but we often set ourselves up for failure when we set new goals.
Here are a few tips that will help you stick to your nutritional goals no matter who you are!
Set small, achievable milestones
One of the biggest mistakes we often make is setting goals for ourselves that represent major changes in our lifestyles, and giving up after a few weeks when we find it too difficult. Instead of trying to make a complete 180 from the lifestyle you’ve been living for years in a matter of weeks, set benchmarks for yourself that you can celebrate that fall under your overarching goal. Maybe this looks like treating yourself with something from your wishlist after consecutive days of going to the gym, or giving yourself a cheat day after eating healthy for a week. This way, you can celebrate small victories you have along the way, and have something to come back to if you slip up. (To learn more about setting helpful benchmarks, check out this article)!
Make it hard to act on your cravings
One thing you can know for sure will be true about any kind of lifestyle change: you will be tempted to revert to old habits. One of the best things you can do for yourself is to make it as difficult as possible for you to act on these urges. Struggle with hitting the snooze button late at night? Try moving your alarm clock to the other side of the room. Find yourself stopping to pick up something sweet from that shop on the corner? Try taking a different route home so you don’t drive past it. Remember, the standard isn’t perfection. You’re still going to eat dessert or drink sugary drinks every once in a while. Honestly, you SHOULD do those things–you just want to break the routine of doing them every time you feel a slight urge.
Find alternative ways to prepare your favorite foods
Being on a diet can be hard, especially when you have a favorite food that is especially unhealthy. Instead of avoiding those foods however, find new ways to prepare them. Instead of ordering delivery from your favorite pizza chain (which is most likely Domino’s according to this study), why not pick up the ingredients yourself? Not only can you make it exactly how you like it, but you can experiment with healthier options (cauliflower crust anyone?) so you don’t have to eat a week’s worth of calories in one sitting. Odds are, you’ll probably find some healthy foods you really like (along with some you don’t).
Remember, you set these new goals for a reason. No matter how hard it’s been for you to stick with them, these tips should help make sure you crush your goals in 2020!
Five New Year Resolutions to Make and Take
Let’s take a look at five unexpected New Year’s resolutions to make that can help you improve your health.
Vow to Focus on the Steps, Not the Destination
Have you ever made a goal to lose a lot of weight or dramatically overhaul your diet and lifestyle? These intentions come from great places. But how did they turn out for you? Most of us will struggle to achieve such lofty goals. The problem isn’t that the goal isn’t a worthy one. It’s not even that we lack determination or the desire to change. Instead, the issue is generally that the goal is so overwhelming that it’s incredibly difficult to pick a starting place and move forward consistently.
Instead of getting stuck at the enormity of your end-goal, focus instead on the small steps you’ll need to get there. If your goal is to lose 50 pounds in 2019, for example, then that goal is automatically broken down to celebrate every bit of weight you lose. When you lose five pounds, celebrate! Be proud of yourself for losing that weight and look forward to the next five (not the next 95). Celebrating the small steps gives you the positivity and motivation you need to go the distance.
Vow to Hula Hoop Daily
Did you ever use a hula hoop when you were a child? These hoops likely brought you quite a bit of joy and laughter when you were younger. No one says that happiness boost has to stop just because you’re an adult! Hula hoops might not be the most sophisticated of exercise tools, but they’re effective because they get your body moving and they’re fun to use. That means that you won’t mind spending time moving the hoop around and are more likely to actually use it every day.
I know – hula hooping is fun, sure, but will it actually improve my health? According to the Mayo Clinic, the answer is a hearty “yes”. Any kind of hula hoop provides you with aerobic exercise and can help you meet exercise goals. This is true of traditional, non-weighted hoops as well as those that are weighted. The lighter hoops provide more vigorous exercise because they require more work to keep moving, but the heavier options might be easier for beginners. Either option can help you lose weight and improve your endurance.
Vow to Keep a Food Journal
You might think that you keep good track of the food you eat, but you might be surprised at what slips through your mind. It’s incredibly easy to grab a small candy here and there throughout the day, especially if you work in an office environment where they are commonly on desktops. Opting for a quick lunch from a fast food place might seem like no big deal once every week or two, too, but are you really remembering exactly how much of it you’ve eaten? Many people are certain they’ve only had one or two fast food lunches over the course of a week but are surprised to find that they’ve actually indulged far more frequently.
This is where a comprehensive food diary comes in. When you keep a food diary, there is no guesswork involved in reviewing your calorie intake. All you have to do is open up the journal and check your entries for the day – and it’s important to write down everything that you eat, even the smallest of candies. Record them so that you can see if they really are just an occasional treat or if they might be something you indulge in a bit too frequently. Doing this will help you assess your current diet and struggles and plan better for the future, better enabling you to reach your health and weight loss goals.
Vow to Walk More
Walking is a great way to keep yourself in shape (or to get in shape, if you’re just starting out). You can adjust the frequency and intensity of your walks to suit your schedule and your physical condition. If you want a challenge, for example, then opt for a walking path that offers plenty of hills or stairs. For an easier, but still beneficial, walk, you can take a straighter and flatter path that meanders around a particular area.
The great thing about walking more is that it’s not a hard activity to begin. Chances are good that you already have the opportunity to walk places as it is. If you have a pet, try taking them on longer walks even if you have a nice backyard they can play in. If you don’t, consider finding a park nearby and taking an afternoon stroll! This activity can improve your mood along with your health.
Vow to Set a Bedtime
Finally, you might consider setting a bedtime in 2019. This might sound a bit infantile, but the truth is that setting a bedtime and sticking to it has incredible benefits. You’ll get more sleep on average and feel your stress levels decrease as a result. And as your energy rises, so, too, will your ambition to tackle some of your other goals throughout the year. To make the most of these benefits, make sure to invest in a quality mattress that suits your sleeping position and promotes good spinal alignment.
Five New Year Resolutions Tips To Get Back On Track
By Heather Preston
Well, it’s that time of year again; the time when our News Year’s Resolutions begin to fizzle and we find ourselves falling back into our old familiar habits.
THIS was supposed to be the year, but here we are again right back where we started on December 31st. We feel frustrated and defeated by the stagnant turn of events and are in need of a Resolution Redo!
We all want to stay on track and feel good in our skin, but sometimes life seems to get in the way and our old habits come creeping back.
What we eat and how much of it definitely affects our fitness goals and ultimately how much we weigh. During the holidays most of us find ourselves falling into some pretty bad habits; think of all the cream horns, truffles, and champagne you downed during that time. (Oh, was that just me?)
We also tend to let our new gym membership fall by the wayside by this point, or continue to do the same mundane exercise routine that we started with 3 months ago without much effect.
Sometimes we just need to put a little more effort into our daily choices and have a more organized plan of action.
Here are five things you can do today to help shed post-holiday weight and start to get back on track with your behavior goals. Soon you will be feeling fit and fabulous in no time!
Drink lemon water every day.
Start your day with a glass of lemon water by squeezing a couple of wedges into a glass and filling it with ice cold water. Not only is it refreshing and hydrating for your body, it aides in digestion and cleanses the system.
Lemon water also helps to fight bloat during the day, as it is a natural diuretic and also helps to curb your appetite. The toxin-fighting lemon also packs a wallop of vitamin C, which we all could use more of this time of year. In short, lemons are amazing. What more do I need to say?? Start drinking lemon water today!
Increase you veggie intake.
Nothing packs the nutritional punch that veggies do! Try to get as many into your day as possible by adding them into every meal. Don’t like vegetables? No problem! You can hide them in your morning smoothie. If you have never tried it this is a fantastic way to add vitamin-rich foods to your day without even tasting them! Simply throw a little kale and/or baby spinach into the blender along with your fruits and protein powder; you will never even know they are there. If you do have a pallet for veggies, replace some of your non-nutritive snacks with carrot sticks, pepper slices, or cauliflower with low fat dip or hummus. The more veggies you put into your day the more satisfied you will feel, and you will begin to see the pounds drop off in no time!
Change the intensity of your workout.
If you have been doing the same type of cardiovascular exercise for several months without changing any aspect of it, you are more than likely not seeing any major results. Steady-state exercise is great, but if this is all you are doing you might want to spice things up a bit. If results are what you are looking for, look no further than High Intensity Interval Training or HIIT. This type of workout helps you to burn additional calories and supercharge your metabolism and overall endurance in a shorter workout session.
With HIIT, you are interchanging between a mild to moderate movement and a burst of higher intensity that lasts anywhere from 15-30 seconds (or more) with a total workout time of 10-30 minutes. How many bursts you do and how intense they are depends on a person’s fitness level and experience. You can utilize this strategy with anything you are doing; walking on the treadmill, running outdoors, riding a stationary bike, or using a step bench. Simply add a couple of “bursts” to your workout and see how you do; you can then add more as time goes on. Interval workouts can be added 1-3 times a week to spice up your exercise routine; however, take it slow and always get a doctors approval if you are new to exercise or if you have any medical issues.
Eat your largest meal in the middle of the day.
The Europeans do it, and overall they are much slimmer and healthier than most Americans. Eating your largest meal in the middle of the day just makes sense; you are most active during the day and therefore have plenty of time to burn off those excess calories. You will also feel more satisfied and most likely will not have that 2pm crash at the office anymore. By the time you are ready for dinner, a smaller, simpler meal will usually suffice; think salad, yogurt and berries, or one of those smoothies I mentioned in tip number two. This can shave off tremendous amounts of excess calories, especially when you think about the 7-8 hours of “fasting” your body goes through every night after your last meal. Try this a few days a week and you will soon wake up seeing and feeling a difference!
Be more mindful.
Being mindful is simply being more aware of what is happening in the present moment; taking a step back, taking a deep breath, and taking in the here and now. Being mindful is all about being aware of what you are thinking, feeling, and doing right now and possibly asking yourself “why”. This not only helps you to slow down a little during the day, but also helps when you are trying to understand yourself in the midst of behavior change. Being mindful can help us to make better choices. If we really “think” about our level of hunger and why we are reaching for a certain type of food, we might make a different choice. People often use this technique when they are trying to break a bad habit; being more mindful of why they smoke a cigarette, what makes them stressed, or why they avoid exercise. It can shed some light on why we have certain behaviors, and in turn, it helps us to change them and start adopting new ways of “being”. It all begins with mindfulness.
Are you ready to take on the new year? Make a commitment to your health and make 2020 your best year yet!
Remember, it’s not about doing everything all at once; don’t bite off more than you can chew, literally! Take small steps towards changing your behavior by choosing 1 or 2 of these suggestions to work on. After you feel comfortable with those, try adding more.
Coming up with a plan of action and writing down each new goal is an excellent strategy for successful change, and will certainly help push you back on track allowing you to “redo” your resolution if needed.
Whatever you do, just be sure to put a little effort into yourself; you are worth it! Have a happy 2020!