The start of a new year is traditionally the time to commit to positive change in the form of a resolution. However, as the year gets underway the goals of resolutions can get a bit hazy as the pressures of life pile up. Additionally, many resolutions are based on impossible expectations. Finally, resolutions too often focus on an all-or-nothing goal.
To resolve to make a change is simply a decision. However, instead of resolving to “get in shape,” which is amorphous and unmeasurable, it’s important to set moveable and expandable goals.
For example, if your fitness regime consists of a daily walk or jog, add a gentle yoga class one or two evenings a week, or join a water aerobics group. You can maintain your regular fitness regimen, add a new goal and expand your social circle.
Avoid the word “never.” If you resolve to never, ever again eat fried food and you really enjoy an occasional serving of french fries, you will likely fail. Moderation is key when making any dietary changes if you want them to last.
Instead, consider changing a dietary habit by replacing one unhealthy food with a better choice. For example, substitute a banana for the afternoon bag of chips or candy bar. If what you’re getting from your afternoon snack is a sugar buzz, have half a cup of coffee at that time. You’ll enjoy an energy bump and cut down on sugar, fat and sodium.
If you’re concerned about being overweight or out of shape, remember that your current physical condition is the result of a lifetime of habits, and oftentimes these habits were based on putting the needs of others before your own. It will take time to implement exercise and dietary changes. By making your goals for a healthier life expandable, your resolution can simply be to continue making positive change.
If you set yourself up with a hard and fast goal of losing 25 pounds by a specific date, you’ve created the very real possibility that you will fail. If, on the other hand, you resolve to change your snacking habits or to develop a better breakfast habit, you have measurable goals that you can track. Don’t forget to celebrate!
Many times, resolutions have an air of punishment about them; because you’ve let your physical fitness slide, you have to start getting up early and going to the gym, or because you’ve been eating too much junk, now you need to starve. Chances are good that these changes won’t stick.
Why not celebrate? By going to the gym early, you get to work on your health and well-being before anything else you need to accomplish. By spending time and funds on fresh produce, you can fill your refrigerator with healthy, nourishing options that will benefit your heart, waistline and gut.
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Developing and maintaining healthy habits takes time, and rewards are much more effective than punishments when monitoring your long-term goals. Resolving to keep your goals flexible gives you the chance to view each positive choice in your daily activities and food choices as a chance to celebrate. Finally, remember to seek expert help and support when mapping your food and fitness goals!