Let’s face it: we all tend to be more optimistic at the beginning of the year. Getting in shape, reading more or sticking to a budget are all good things to do, and many of us commit to doing them rather casually around New Year’s. It’s easy to say we’ll read a book a week or go for a run every morning before work; it’s a lot harder to actually do it. Just a few weeks into the year, many of us are already behind. If your resolutions included getting healthier, check out these tips for sticking with them:
1. Start Small
Becoming fit doesn't happen overnight—but feeling burned out can occur in an instant, especially if you set lofty goals. You shouldn't expect to lose twenty pounds your first month, or to work out at the same pace as marathon runners. If you resolved to visit the gym five times a week, you’re likelier to be discouraged (and possibly give up) when you fall short. So re-calibrate! Start small with little dietary changes and adjustments to your schedule. Replacing two meals with salads and visiting the gym once after work and once on the weekend are baby steps that will help you feel better, begin to form habits and prepare your body for more challenging goals as the year progresses.
2. Track Your Progress
Buy a journal or daily planner and make note of when you exercised, juiced or reached a weight loss goal. Gradual change is often the most lasting change, but it can be hard to notice. By March you may feel like you haven’t progressed, so a record can reveal that you did lose weight, can run farther or have implemented more workouts into your week. There are many tools to track progress online or on your mobile device. Some of our favorites are: MapMyFitness, MyFitnessPal and LoseIt.
3. Set Reminders
Accountability partners are among the most effective methods of keeping your resolutions, but any reminder can help. Set alerts on your phone or Google calendar, or pencil ‘the gym’ into your planner for the coming month. While these simple reminders are easier to dismiss than your commitment to a workout buddy, they still keep your health goals at the forefront of your mind, which is essential to achieving them.
4. Forgive Yourself
Sometimes becoming healthy can feel like the least natural thing in the world. Running until you’re breathless, doing sit-ups until you want to throw up, eating broccoli instead of cake—it’s hard work! Be prepared for the inevitable lapse and forgive yourself. Missing a day or even a week at the gym is nothing compared to a lifetime of good health. You may feel like you’re so far off track that you might as well give up, but everyone makes mistakes. Let go of your guilt and hit ‘restart’—whether you have to do it now, next month or in November. Don’t let being perfect stand in the way of being better.
Whatever you resolved for 2014, we at Women’s Healthcare Associates want to help you reach your health goals. Find a provider who can support and encourage a healthier lifestyle here today!