All resolutions are full of inspired hope, usually created in an optimistic swirl of confetti. But for long-term success, a detailed and sustainable action plan is crucial. Let’s get you on your way to making 2016 your healthiest year yet.
1. Commit to one thing
Don’t overwhelm yourself with a total life makeover. A practical fitness resolution that many people can stick to is holding a plank for one minute every morning, before breakfast and brushing your teeth. If you don’t like planks, you could resolve to doing 20 squats before your morning coffee or taking the stairs to your third floor office. Those few minutes of morning exercise will set you up for feeling great and making smart choices for the rest of the day.
2. Integrate exercise
For most people, exercise is an add-on, something that they do if they can find time. It’s much easier to accommodate if you find ways to incorporate activity into your daily routine. Walk to the mailbox. Take the stairs. Use a smaller water glass so you have to get up to refill it. If you work in an office, you could commit to one day “email free.” Instead, you need to walk messages to colleagues. Find a reason to stay active throughout the day.
3. Be Realistic
Shift your mindset from the very common ‘all or nothing’ mentality. It’s fine to have weight loss as a goal, but instead off setting yourself up for failure, focus your efforts on eating healthfully. Weight is easy to measure, as it requires a scale. The weight loss goal should be realistic. Too often people have unrealistic expectations for how much weight it is that they want to lose. If you aren’t exercising consistently now, it’s not realistic to expect that tomorrow you’ll begin exercising for one or two hours per day, six days per week. Before you splurge on a gym membership or expensive fitness clothes, start small and work your way up (see tip #1 again).
4. Head back to the kitchen
Have you noticed that kitchens are getting more elaborate and lavish, but fewer people actually use them? When you resolve to do more of your own cooking, you gain more control over the quality and nutrition of your meals. Choose fresh ingredients and flavor your food with spices rather than sugar and butter. You will save calories and money, and you will be healthier for it.
5. Set a Performance Goal
Setting a performance goal can motivate you more than a weight-loss goal. You might set a goal of 10 pull-ups, touching your toes, or running a 5k in April. Think of a performance goal that really motivates you, and a goal that you can enjoy the process as you strive for it.
Many people can get easily discouraged and give up when there’s too much emphasis on weight loss. Focus on the joys of exercise and movement instead. Take pride in your body getting stronger. Think about the boost in energy you get after a workout.
Enjoy your holidays and get moving!