As we near the end of January, chances are that you may be feeling as though it’s not worth sticking to your 2015 New Year's resolutions, or even your general healthy living goals. If so, you’re not alone: we all sometimes feel as though it isn’t worth sticking to health-related goals. In fact, statistics say that only about 64% of people stick to their resolutions through the end of the first month of the year - and remember, most of those resolutions were health-related!
Reasons for this loss of commitment to our goals can include feeling as though the changes we’ve made haven’t done any good yet, or as if the changes you did make aren’t going to be enough to address your health needs as a whole. If this describes your own outlook on your healthy living goals, we’re happy to say that even smaller, basic lifestyle changes can still address your most basic health needs. Keep reading to see five simple ways you can re-commit to living a healthier, more balanced lifestyle this year:
1. Start scheduling time for more than your goals. If you’re already feeling burned out this year, then this is a particularly important tip to follow. While we typically think of exercise and a healthy diet as the key to a healthy life, the reality is that your social life and emotional health deserve as much attention as your diet and workout routine. Failing to focus on these other parts of your life can actually negatively affect your overall well-being. Fortunately, simply scheduling time to do things that will make you happy will go a long way in boosting your overall health. Here’s a few easy ways you can start making more time to attend to these important parts of your life:
- Give yourself some “you” time every day to relax and recharge by doing things that make you happy. Possible activities include reading a book, taking a bubble bath, watching a TV show, or partaking in another activity or hobby that you enjoy.
- Invest in stress relief and reduction techniques. Stress releases hormones that can cause numerous problems within our body, so being able to cope with stress is a key part of living a healthier life.
- Remember to take time from your busy life to schedule time with people who make you smile or laugh. Not only will you enjoy yourself, but thanks to the health benefits associated with smiling and laughter you’ll get a general boost in your overall wellness.
2. Get creative with your exercise and workout options. Feeling bored at the gym or frustrated with your exercise options? Then it’s time to shake things up a little! We’re much more likely to skip exercising when we don’t enjoy doing it, so finding an interesting way to exercise that doesn’t seem like a chore can help you get the exercise you need for basic wellness. Fortunately there are lots of alternatives to a standard gym workout. Until the weather warms up, you could go to an indoor pool or basketball court; there’s also always winter sports and DVD workouts, not to mention using an aerobic bike or treadmill while watching TV at home. And remember, hiking, swimming, tennis and other outdoor activities are all great for the summer months – so be ready to get outside once the snow goes away!
3. Give yourself time to eat right. Be honest with yourself – how often do you eat out or buy frozen meals because you don’t have time to do anything else? While these sorts of foods are ok in moderation, a diet full of take-out or packaged foods is not a particularly healthy one.Our recommendation? Don’t wait until the last minute to prep your meals each day – instead, aim to think about what you’ll eat at least a few days in advance. The easiest way to do this is to draft a rough menu for your week, determine what you’ll need to make that menu a reality, and then visit the grocery store over the weekend. Just by having the ingredients for healthy meals available in advance – and even cooking a day or two ahead of schedule when possible – you’ll be more likely to resist the temptation to order take-out every night. Not sure what to cook? Just get out your computer and head to Google; it’s pretty easy these days to find healthy (i.e. low fat, low sodium, etc.) and tasty recipes that you can prepare in advance. Don’t forget to stock up on produce so that you’re less tempted to snack on chips and cookies during the week, too!
4. Simplify and clarify your personal goals. While these last three general tips for exercise and healthier meals are good starting points for a healthier lifestyle, they may not necessarily address a personalized health goal of yours. If this is the case, we recommend sitting down to simplify and clarify your individual health goals. For example, if you started 2015 with a broad and ambiguous goal like “get healthy,” you should clarify exactly what you want to do for yourself this year. For example, maybe you want to start increasing your fitness levels, or lose a certain number of inches off your waist. Once you’ve decided what (specifically!) you want to do for yourself, you can create a reasonable timetable that will let you work in increments and track your progress throughout the remainder of the year.
5. Be ready to shrug off the next bump in the road. Every goal or resolution hits a bump in the road. Don’t let this stop you! If you can’t regularly exercise for a week or two, just start back up as soon as you can. If you stop losing weight as quickly, stay the course and work at figuring out exactly what might be holding up your efforts. Remember, every little thing you do for your health adds up – and that’s why your health won’t be ruined by an off week here or there, but could be affected if you give up on your goals entirely.
All of these five points are great ways to re-energize yourself for the remainder of 2015. To truly maximize the benefits from these tips, it’s important to integrate time for each of them into your schedule; by making them a part of your life, you’ll gain the full long-term health benefits associated with each point, and you’ll also be less likely to blow them off. And once you feel comfortable with these basic changes, it will be easier to make additional improvements if you want to continue to expand on your healthy living efforts later on.
If, at any point, a specific health issue or need arises that you want to discuss with a doctor, we invite you to schedule an appointment at our offices. We’re always happy to review your specific health needs with you to ensure that what you’re doing is right for you!