Like many people you may have set resolutions or goals for the new year that involve health and fitness. And, like many people, by the the beginning of February your resolution begins to wane. How can you keep your healthy goals through the year?
First, write your goals down on paper and be very specific. Stating that you want to “eat healthier” is too vague and hard to measure. More concrete goals may be to “make home-prepared meals with only fresh ingredients” a certain number of times per week or “eliminate added sugar” from your diet. Second, allow yourself some wiggle room, or even a day off. Go ahead and eat a piece of birthday cake at a party. Just get back on track the next day. Third, keep track of how you are doing. A great idea is to take a picture of the food you eat each day and then review at the end of the day. Don't hide anything and don't cheat! Fourth, watch out for fad diets that are just too hard to stick to in the long run. Occasional fasting is fine, but be sure to check with your doctor before you try something drastic!
For physical fitness, try a variety of activities to see what suits you. If you didn't stick to running last year, you probably won't stick to it this year. Keep doing what you like andstep out of your routine once in awhile. Switch up your activities so that you don't get bored. You will also be more likely to avoid injuries if you do a variety of activities. Our bodies need weight bearing, stretching and cardiovascular (cardio) exercise. Weight bearing exercise is essentialfor building and maintaining healthy bones and building bone cells and helps prevent osteoporosis. Cardiovascular exercise raises your heart rate, improves stamina and the function of our heart, lungs and circulatory system. Stretching keeps our muscles strong and our joints healthy. One of the easiest and cheapest ways to get all of these is to take a vigorous walk, preferably with some elevation gain. Be sure to stretch after!
One of the best ways to keep your healthy goals is to have an accountability partner. Pick someone that you can trust and that can be honest with you. They don't have to be a workout partner though, it is nice if your accountability partner and you occasionally get together for a walk, or to share a healthy meal. Your accountability partner could even be someone remote. Share your goals and your accomplishments and even your failures. Set a specific time and day to check in, preferably several times per week. Most important, just keep moving and don't give up. Your health is worth it!