New Year’s Day is also known as the day to start your New Year’s Resolutions. The irony here is that lots of people overdo it on New Year’s Eve as a last hoorah before their resolutions start, sort of like a bachelor party. For many, this new beginning has to do with wellness and weight loss (and cutting back on the booze). More than half of Americans will start a health and wellness plan on New Year’s Day, but most will give up before reaching their goals.
It’s hard to successfully start something if you are not prepared. One of the best ways to thwart bad habits is to start strong, and create an action plan. Start prepping a week or two in advance of your start date. Write down your goals and steps to meet them. Take the two weeks to make these preparations to ensure you are ready. Use these tips and tools to strengthen your resolve this resolution season.
1. Don’t leave food choices to chance.The easiest way to bust your healthy eating resolution is to make food choices when you’re already hungry. People tend to lean on fast food or carb-loaded comfort food when there’s nothing prepared. Planning in advance by creating meal plans, gathering recipes and shopping deliberately will help keep you on track. Make sure you always have healthy snacks handy to ward off cravings. Preparing ahead of time will also save time and money. You will only need to make one trip to the grocery store per week, and you won’t overspend on things you don’t need. Save even more by meal planning around the sale flyer of your favorite store.
2. Incorporate more physical activity. If you focus on activities and exercises that you enjoy doing, it will make sticking to your resolutions much easier. Simple things like taking the dog for a walk after work, or playing with your kids outside instead of watching TV or going online are great ways to incorporate more activity into your routine. Already kicked your evening TV habit? Explore new fitness classes or new walking or jogging routes to keep it interesting.
3. Use technology to your advantage. Free apps that count calories and track fitness routines are everywhere these days. Look into MyFitnessPal or MapMyRun. Invest in a pedometer or Fit Bit system to track activity. Use recipe websites, like Pinterest, or blogs for new meal ideas. One great thing you gain from using these apps is the ability to see how balanced (or unbalanced) your eating and exercise habits are. They allow you to pinpoint areas that need improvement and act on them accordingly.
4. Don’t go overboard. Motivation to make drastic changes is high on New Year’s Day, but how will it hold up in a few weeks? Making small changes instead may help you stay on track and keep your willpower intact. Try making a weekly goal schedule to build on small successes. Below is an example of how you can start:
a. Week 1: Breakfast makeover-skip the drive through and make breakfast at home.
b. Week 2: Add 15 minutes of physical activity per day.
c. Week 3: Snack makeover-trade vending machine junk for homemade snacks.
d. Week 4: Add a long walk to your weekend routine once a week.
Each week has a seemingly small goal, but each requires planning and preparation to complete. Doing all of that changing at once may overwhelm you, but adding one small weekly goal reduces the stress. Can’t keep pace on a weekly schedule? Start with week one and do not advance until comfortable with the change that was made. If you slip up, try and stick to at least one goal per week rather than falling completely back to old habits. Include family and friends in your plans to avoid isolating yourself, and to keep your motivation high.
Remember that the goal you make every year to get healthier is an attainable one. You do not need to make all of the changes you want immediately. Make small, manageable steps that support the desired result. For help setting goals and planning, meet with a professional at Bordeaux Nutrition® LLC. We would be happy to meet with you!