The New Year is an ideal time to refocus priorities and set new health and wellness goals to improve overall well-being. Not surprisingly, some of the most popular New Year’s resolutions are to lose weight, exercise more, and eat more fruits and veggies – which can all lead to better health. While these goals are certainly well-intentioned, reaching them can be tricky without the right strategies in place. Here are a few tips for keeping your health and wellness resolutions to create a better you in 2015.
Set Specific Goals
Instead of merely vowing to lose weight, determine how much you want to lose and by what date you will aim to shed those pounds. This strategy will help you stay focused on reaching multiple milestones along the way and keep you from feeling overwhelmed. For example, if your overall objective is to lose 40 pounds in 2015, a reasonable short-term goal might be to lose the first 5 pounds by February.
Making positive and lasting lifestyle changes does not happen overnight. Focus on one behavior or area that you want to work on rather than trying to completely change every aspect of your life all at once. For example, if eating healthier is on your agenda, you don’t have to give up dessert completely. Next time, opt for frozen yogurt instead of ice cream or enjoy a fresh fruit cup to get your sweet fix.
Beware of setting impractical, overly lofty goals that can create unnecessary stress and pressure and deplete your motivation before you’ve even started. Overcommitting can lead to abandoning your resolutions by the end of January! For example, instead of forcing yourself to work out five days a week, strive to go to the gym just two days per week. Then try adding more days as you adjust to your new exercise routine.
Prepare for Setbacks
Let’s face it. There will be times when things won’t go as planned, and your resolve will be tested. Your co-workers may choose the pizza place for lunch, which doesn’t fit in with your plans of eating nutritiously; a meeting runs over and cuts into your time at the gym; and your sweet tooth finally wins out when you sink your teeth into that candy bar. Avoid the temptation to strive for complete perfection in pursuit of a healthier life so these minor slip ups won’t derail you from reaching your goals altogether.
Reward Each Milestone
Don’t forget to celebrate little accomplishments along the way so you can stay enthusiastic about the healthy changes you’re making. Dropped those 5 pounds? Indulge in your favorite treat. Made it to the gym twice a week? Enjoy an extra rest day. Rewarding yourself periodically is key to keeping your motivation up, your goals on track, and your health in focus.