We've all been there. We've made a list of New Year’s resolutions, which include a diet plan to lose weight, a new workout routine, or a complete resolve to stop eating the chocolate we stashed in our desks at work. Yet each year by the time February comes around, those ideas have already turned into next year’s resolution list.
Why do we put so much pressure on ourselves to suddenly make several significant life changes overnight? Change is possible, but the key to making lifelong adjustments is having the patience to adapt over time. So instead of waiting until next year for a fresh start, give yourself permission to start right now with a few simple, long-term ideas to start leading a healthier life.
Revise Your Resolutions
What were your New Year’s resolutions for your health? Don't throw them out completely, but use them as a broad vision statement of where you eventually want to be. Then, scale them back to a more manageable daily adjustment. For example, if your resolution was to join a gym and go five days a week, maybe start by just going one day a week. One small change can make a huge impact on your health over time. Then once you have consistently followed through with that goal, you can slowly added a new one. In time, you will be able to push past your limitations and take your health to a new level.
We all have our go-to comfort meals, our favorite sugary drinks, or our guilty sweet pleasures. If your goal is more important than indulging in these, try cutting back on some of them. Replace the habit with a few healthy foods or drinks that you still enjoy. If you are a hamburger lover, trying eating it without the bun. Replace a bag of chips with a bag of dried fruit. Drink unsweet tea instead of sweetened. Make sure that you fill your pantry with healthy foods that you like so that it will be easier to transition your taste buds toward craving healthier options.
Tips on Drinks
For the caffeine fiend or alcohol connoisseur, the idea of removing these drinks from your diet is very challenging. However, the benefits of lessening or removing them from your system entirely outweigh the temporary craving that your current habits call for. In fact, alcohol has a greater potential to cause harm to your body than to benefit you, and depending on your level of consumption, caffeine can do the same. In order to lessen the potential of addiction to either of these things, you will need to slowly decrease your intake over time. If your body is accustomed to alcohol or caffeine and you stop drinking them suddenly, you may experience severe withdrawal.
Why Health is Important
Longevity of life is at the top of the list of reasons to live healthily, but there is more to the picture than that. Healthy living not only has an impact on us physically, but mentally as well. Exercising and eating healthy can help with chronic pain, depression, and anxiety.
Our families, our friends, and all that we have worked for in our lives is worth the time and effort it takes to maintain our health. For those with children, consider creating healthy family habits, like cooking meals together as a family or creating a family workout plan. Teach them through your example that their life is worth the work it takes to be healthy.
Your life can be as enjoyable and healthy as you will allow it to be. Consider all of these tips and other ways that you can incorporate healthier practices. Start by recommitting to your New Year’s resolutions and transforming them into a renewed lifestyle.
Paige Johnson calls herself a fitness nerd. She prides in doing strength training, cycling, and yoga. www.learnfit.org