One of the most common New Year’s resolutions Americans make is to be healthier. Unfortunately, it’s also very common for those goals to fall by the wayside soon after the New Year begins. Research has shown that about one-third of people will abandon their New Year’s resolutions by January 31.
Whether you fell short of your goal or you’re still going strong, we’re here to remind you that you don’t need to set an arbitrary calendar date to reach your personal health goals. In fact, it’s never too late to get healthier and improve your well-being. Here are some tips for achieving your health goals this year.
If you’re making a major lifestyle change, remember to start small rather than try and accomplish everything all at once. If you’re trying to start an exercise routine, you could start by stretching for about 10 to 15 minutes every day or going for a long walk after dinner. After your body is feeling comfortable with your routine, push yourself by gradually extending your workout.
This goes for dieting as well. Going cold turkey with sweets and high-calorie foods often leads to intense temptations and a higher likelihood of giving into those temptations. Instead, try to cut unhealthy foods from your diet gradually. For example, you can start by putting less cream and sugar in your coffee each day and build from there.
Expect to Get Off Track
This is important for people making big changes in their life. If you’re cutting back on sweets, recognize that you will eventually give in to temptation, but don’t beat yourself up over it. It’s human to fail, after all! It’s more important you don’t allow one moment of weakness to result in abandonment of your goals, precipitating even more bad choices. Stay strong and get back on track tomorrow.
Make Lifelong Changes
One of the biggest reasons dieting tends to be unsuccessful is because people often think of ‘being on a diet’ as a temporary change. After they’ve reached their goal or seen some progress, they revert to their unhealthy ways. Tell yourself from the onset that your changes are lifelong and you will have a better chance of succeeding.
Remember to Set Attainable and Tangible Goals
When setting realistic, tangible goals for ourselves, we’re more likely to succeed, especially when it comes to health goals. Is there a marathon in which you’re interested in participating, or a challenging hike you’ve always wanted to finish? Those are examples of tangible goals you can work to accomplish in a year or more.
Your goals should be realistic, too. Telling yourself you will lose a large amount of weight or perform an eye-popping feat is admirable but it may not be realistic. A realistic goal can be something as simple as losing 10 pounds or being able to take the stairs at work comfortably – just remember to attach a timeline to that goal so you can track your progress and stick to it.
Humans are creatures of habit, so work on turning something like a morning walk or jog into your daily routine rather than something you dread. It can be difficult and it will take time, but after about 60 days on average, your body and mind will start to crave certain activities and foods rather than dread them, which will pay dividends when it comes to making permanent lifestyle changes and achieving your health goals.
Getting healthy without inspiration can be challenging. Survey your life and find something that pushes you to succeed. Many people use their family as motivation – wanting to see their grandkids grow up or being as mobile as possible well into old age are two common examples.
It’s okay to use outside sources for inspiration as well. One of the most inspiring fitness stories of the last decade involved triathlete Scott Rigsby, who became the first person with prosthetic legs to complete the Ironman World Championship in Hawaii in 2007.
Share Your Successes and Remain Accountable
Another way to stay motivated is to turn to social media for positivity and encouragement. Sharing your goals and progress with friends and family is a surefire way to get positive reinforcement and feedback. Plus, when you make your goals public, you make yourself more accountable, which will motivate you to see your goals through even more.
Get Professional Help with Your Health
No matter the time of year, setting healthy goals and diligently working toward them can reap lifelong rewards. If you’re looking for a caring, helping hand to guide you or help get you started, consider becoming a patient at One Community Health. Our expert staff provides patients with the knowledge and assistance necessary to achieve their health goals by offering primary and specialty health care.
Schedule an appointment with One Community Health by calling (916) 443-3299 or by visiting us online today!