It’s January when the gym swells with people recently motivated by health-related new year’s resolutions. Unfortunately, that motivation often fizzles a few month’s into the year. So how do you make this year’s resolutions “stick?” Start with practical, achievable goals. It is a good thing to have a dream, but it is equally important to set realistic aspirations. Here are a few manageable tips for making health gains in 2016:
Find fitness you Love
The best exercise for you is the one you’ll stick with. If you absolutely hate running, try something else. Walk, jump rope, lift free weights, or try a dance game on your kids’ game console. You Tube is full of great HIIT routines (high impact interval training) to get your heart rate up. Only have 15 minutes? Google a 15-minute HIIT program. Every little bit helps. If you hate the thought of long, drawn-out exercise routines, just do a little (20-30 minutes) each day, rotating cardio and strength training for maximum results.
Only Eat When Sitting at the Table
It’s a small thing that makes a big difference in eliminating mindless snacking. It may be easy to grab a potato chip or a bite of cake when you pass by the kitchen, but if you can discipline yourself not to eat unless it’s a more formal mealtime setting, you can reduce those extra snacking calories that add up.
Consider using a baby-size fork or spoon, savor each bite, drinking water in between bites. It will help you enjoy the meal more and feel fuller earlier in the meal.
Keep Portions Sane
Portion size can be tricky—especially if you are eating out. When food is served, take a look at it and assess what is a reasonable amount to eat. Divide the food on the plate into “eat now” and “eat later” sections and stick to your goal. If the temptation of extra food in front of you is too much, ask for a “to go” box early in the meal and transfer the excess food so it is “out of sight, out of mind.” (And you’ll have leftovers to enjoy later.)
If you smoke, make this the year you finally stop! Here are a few ideas to help:
- Hit the gym or join a sports team. Participating in sports that demand maximum oxygen intake may increase your motivation to stop smoking.
- Replace the craving with a healthier alternative (i.e. chewing gum, running, drawing, writing.)
- Re-assess at the end of each day. How did you do? Could you do better tomorrow? Winners don’t get discouraged by setbacks. Tomorrow’s a new day. Press forward and make 2016 a year of increased health.