If you’re like more than half of the American adults who make New Year’s resolutions, getting healthier was at the top of the list. And, at this point, more than 40 percent of those who resolved to get healthier – such as to lose weight or to exercise more – have returned to old habits.
So why is it so hard to maintain resolutions? Generally, it’s because goals are either too vague or unrealistic. (Lose 35 pounds by March 1 – really?) Researchers agree the biggest challenge is turning your resolutions into immediate action … and then keeping with it.
Your New Year’s Resolutions are still salvageable! Your best bet is to go back to the beginning and rethink your “resolution.” Make sure you’re setting manageable goals. Set doable goals, then break them down into reasonable steps. You’re not, for instance, going to go from being a couch potato to running a triathlon by April. But you can get off the couch and make conscious steps to move more by parking further away from work or the grocery store to increase daily walking; take the stairs instead of the elevator when possible; and make an effort to get outside and walk around the block – for starters – instead of grabbing a seat and a snack.
Another important step is to reboot your diet. Researchers advise to take a tip from the Boy Scouts: Be Prepared. In other words, always think one step ahead. If you know you’re headed to a calorie-laden, food-filled gathering – don’t arrive hungry. Have some healthy snacks ahead of time, and drink a large glass of water before meals. Nutritionists agree water will trick your body into feeling full. And, most Americans don’t drink enough water to keep hydrated. It’s a win/win all around. You keep hydrated and you’re more likely to eat less.
This brings us to better eating habits all around. Don’t focus your day on subtracting food from your diet. Instead of making the vague, “I want to lose weight” pledge, instead try, “I’m going to put more fruits and vegetables on my plate.” If you repeat that to yourself – and follow through with the action, you’re more likely to repeat it until the action becomes an automatic habit.
As for those who made an exercise resolution, the get-in-shape goals tend to fade as early as the third week of January. But some keep at it. So, what’s their secret? It’s really quite simple. People who are successful are those who see fitness as a permanent lifestyle change – and not an activity to give up once they reach a number on the scale.
Fitness and healthy diet are a way of life, and if those were your resolutions this year – it’s never too late. Take time to reboot your diet, your workout, your stressful days and your energy level.
By knowing yourself – and making manageable goals – you can make those resolutions stick!