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January is usually the time people evaluate their health and set new goals. But it’s often difficult to stick to something when you change too much all at once. That’s usually why people quit their New Year’s health resolutions.
Starting small can encourage you to make incremental changes over time, and it’ll help you stick with it longer. Humans are creatures of habit. If you change too many things too fast, you risk major setbacks or letting go of your goals altogether.
Don’t get discouraged if you’ve hit a setback in your health and wellness goals. It’s still early enough in the year where you can re-evaluate the healthy New Year’s Resolutions you’ve set, and get back on track. We’re here to give you the road map on how to stick to your health goals this year!
Healthy New Year's Resolutions
If your goal is to be more active this year, but you’ve struggled with it in the past, don’t make a goal to get into an intensive gym class every day of the week. You’ll get burnt out after week one and give up. Here are some smaller goals you can start with to reach a larger goal by the end of the year:
Give yourself 30 minutes of activity most days. To make 30 minutes more digestible, start with 10 minutes of walking first thing in the morning. Add in another 10 minutes in the middle of your day (this is also great for reactivating the brain and increased afternoon productivity), and then a final 10 minutes as soon as you get home.
- The more you stick to this schedule of 3 10-minute walking sessions, then you can begin to add more difficulty. Once you feel comfortable, try adding in swimming for 10-15 minutes a day, or even a short 15-minute bike ride. The point is to add on increasing difficulty, but nothing you can’t manage right away.
A staple of healthy New Year’s Resolutions is eating better. If that’s your goal this year, then don’t start with a lofty goal of cutting all sugar and carbs on January 1st. Chances are, if you went that route, then you most likely already cracked and binged a bag of potato chips.
- Keep track of what you’re eating with a food diary app on your phone. This can help you figure out what foods you’re eating are bad and have a lot of hidden sugars.
- Cut out 1 bad food at a time. Start with your sugary morning coffee, and replace it with an unsweetened latte. Once you feel like that’s going well, then cut the white bread. Keep going until you’re down to less than 50 grams of sugar a day.
Taking Care of Yourself
If you feel like you’ve lost taking care of yourself recently, then the New Year is a great time to make yourself a priority. But don’t come up with arbitrary goals like “take a bath every Sunday” because those goals you’ll never be able to follow all year round! Think about when you’re on a camping trip. There’s no where for you to take your Sunday bath there. Instead, think of well rounded, daily goals you can do from anywhere!
- Work on a more positive outlook on life. Life gets really challenging, and it’s easy to fall into a negative headspace. And this is a pretty hard goal to attain, but if you are aware that this goal is rife with setbacks from the beginning, then you’re completely capable of following through all year long. Just be aware when you fall into a negativity rut, and how to get back out of it.
- Manage your stress. There are many areas of our lives that can be unreasonably stressful. Start with one thing you feel is causing you stress, and work on reducing your reaction to that thing. If coming home to a messy house is really stressful for you, start by cleaning and getting rid of the things that don’t have a home. Then every day you come home, everything has a spot and is no longer cluttering and causing you stress. Continue reducing the stressful triggers in your life one day at a time.
- Get better sleep. We love wearing our lack of sleep as a badge of honor. But it can cause detrimental effects to your mental well-being, like increasing your risk for dementia. Commit to at least 7 hours of sleep every night, even if this means eliminating some very time-consuming things in your life, like moving closer to your office to reduce your commute time.
Setting healthy New Year's Resolutions you have to follow through for a whole year can be challenging, but if you start small and increase the changes you want to implement, you’ll have a successful 2019. To make your goals even easier to reach, try doing it with a friend or colleague. It’s easy to go through a challenging thing together.
Good luck with your healthy New Year’s Resolutions!