Let's kick off 2019 with a success story -- your story. Whether you are trying to lose weight, exercise more, stop smoking, or reduce stress, these five tips can help you start your new path to a healthier life.
TAKE BABY STEPS
Is your resolution to lose 30 pounds? 40? 20? Whatever the number, it comes off one pound at a time. Many people get overwhelmed with their end goal and want to lose as much as possible as quickly as possible -- but losing a smaller amount of weight in a shorter amount of time can be more digestible. Reaching small goals little by little often gives you a sense of accomplishment quicker, and provides the motivation to keep going. For example, losing one pound per week may not sound like much, but it is a reasonable goal to get started. Remember, the closer you get to your ideal weight, the more challenging additional weight loss will become.
DEVELOP AN ACTION PLAN
What specific steps can you take to get to your end goal? Again, start small. Walk 30 minutes each day, drop the midnight snack, or start tracking your calorie intake. Write down your plan, take a selfie, and hold yourself accountable. Whatever recordable steps you choose to take can keep you on track to achieving the larger goal of losing weight.
Celebrate small victories along the way, but maybe do it without cake. Do something fun that doesn't involve food! Go to a movie, a concert, or buy a new shirt! Do something you enjoy.
PLAN FOR OBSTACLES & FORGET THE PAST
Not every day is going to go perfectly. Go ahead and allow yourself to celebrate a birthday or a promotion, but the next day, get back on track. It is also important to forget the past. If your 2019 resolution is the same as your 2018 resolution -- don't get discouraged. Find what works for you and keep moving forward with your goal.
"Do not let previous bad experiences with exercise get in the way. This is a new beginning to a new and improved you," said Doug Lentz, MS, CSCS*D. "You are trying to improve your quality of life -- period. How or what others may do does not affect you."
Find a buddy! Research shows peoples' health behaviors tend to mirror those around them. Having an accountability partner can be a big help. In most cases, a spouse or significant other is not the best choice. They may let you "off the hook" easier than someone who is not as close to you. Find someone with similar goals as you to help hold each other accountable; if you find the right person, you might also enjoy exercising together. Above all, remember to have as much fun as possible.