Ever wondered what the most popular New Years Resolution is? In global surveys, health, fitness, and eating better always top the lists, with over 50% of people saying that’s among their priorities as they start a new year. Unfortunately, statistics show that we aren’t that great at keeping our New Years Resolutions- only 8% of us achieve them and a whopping 80% of us give up on them within the first month! But 2020 is different- we are all going to approach this new decade with increased fervor and motivation and ACHIEVE all our health and fitness goals! Here are our Top 10 Tips to making them happen once and for all:
Start Slow… it’s a marathon, not a sprint
Change can be daunting, especially when it involves your body. To avoid feeling overwhelmed, start slow and work up to your goals. Start with walking more, taking the stairs, and easing into a workout routine. Doing too much, too fast, can lead to a rapid burnout- taking it slow ensures you stick to your health goals, step by step.
Be Realistic- you can’t undo years of bad habits in a week.
The surest way to fail on achieving your goal is to make your goal unattainable. For instance, vowing to NEVER eat your favorite food again is not realistic and can lead to bingeing when you inevitably eat it. Instead, strive for a goal that is attainable, such as only having it once a week or a month. Similarly, promising yourself to workout 7 days a week is not only unhealthy (everybody needs some rest!) but not realistic for anyone who works and has a family. Instead, opt for working out at least 4 times a week, it gives you some flexibility and is a doable goal!
Drink more water!
Two-thirds of the human body is made of water. Every cell in our body requires water to function, survive, and thrive. This is why it is so important to consume at least 8 glasses into our system a day (better yet- 3 L is what we recommend)! Most of the time, when you think you’re hungry, you’re actually just dehydrated- so before you snack, drink a big glass of water, wait 20 minutes, and oftentimes, your hunger will disappear. Not only that, but water will help your body detox. When you first start losing weight, the toxins held within the fat cells will release into your body, and you might not feel great- this is totally normal, drink a lot of water to help your body naturally detox.
Celebrate the small successes- they matter!
This new healthy journey will certainly come with ups and downs. When you attain a milestone in your goal, celebrate it! Treat yourself to something you enjoy that doesn’t contradict your resolution. If you have been sticking to your vow to eat better, for example, reward yourself with a movie with a friend or some new workout shoes.
Find an accountability partner.
There are days when your alarm rings and you won’t feel like it. You know what will get you out of bed? Knowing someone is waiting for you at the gym, at the class, or a the park. People who workout with a friend are X times more likely to show up. And since over 50% of people have getting fit as a resolution, it should be easy to find a workout buddy!
Pick ONE resolution at a time
Ever heard the term “Jack of all Trades but Master of None”? Focus your attention and energy on one specific goal- in this case, your health– rather than attempting to tackle them all in January. Taking on too much change all at once can be intimidating! It can be particularly challenging as well because establishing new behavioral patterns takes time. The American Psychological Association notes that focusing on just one behavior at a time is more likely to lead to long-term success. Plus, focusing your efforts on one specific goal makes keeping a resolution much more achievable.
This is probably the most important tip! Congratulate yourself every step of the way on this healthy lifestyle journey and don’t wait to call yourself a champ until you’ve completed your big marathon or lost every unwanted pound. As we mentioned before, health changes are gradual, and you should love yourself along each step of the way. It’s natural to take better care of beings we love, so if we all practiced a little more self-love we would be kinder to ourselves, it’s all about mindset!
REST- so you don’t get injured
Your new lifestyle will come with some inevitable soreness (it’s a good thing, your body is changing!) The best way to avoid an injury that could set your goals back is to rest, take some days off AND make sure you’re getting enough sleep at night. One-third of American adults report sleeping less than 6 hours per night, a 15% increase over levels 15 years ago. In addition, a study compared people in an office setting, it found that volunteers who pulled an all-nighter suffered steep decreases in the “appetitive evaluation regions” in their brains. They weren’t just hungry. They experienced “a significant increase in the desire for weight-gain-promoting, high-calorie foods following sleep deprivation,” concluded researchers Stephanie Greer, Andrea Goldstein and Walker.
Be Patient and Consistent
One way to get through tough moments is to make yourself accountable through a written or verbal promise to people you don’t want to let down. Then remember that you’re in this for the long haul and be patient. It didn’t take one year to put on all the weight or get sedentary- so realize that it will take several months to see tangible change and maintain it.
Researchers from University College London examined the new habits of 96 people over the space of 12 weeks, and found that the average time it takes for a new habit to stick is actually 66 days; furthermore, individual times varied from 18 to a whopping 254 days.
This means that if you want to develop a new behavior, it will take at least two months, and you shouldn’t get frustrated if three weeks in you’re still finding that it takes a concerted efforted to do your new routine – trust that you are well on your way to creating a new healthy habit!
Be prepared for some weight gain, at first…
The pounds won’t hang around if you keep working it out and eating right! Here’s why… The most likely reason the numbers on your scale went up is inflammation. When you work out, it causes little tears in your muscle fibers called microtrauma (it’s also why you feel sore). When you incur injury, including microtrauma, your body releases inflammatory mediators in your body to protect itself.
The fluid required for inflammatory response is often called “water weight” — and that might show up on your scale. But don’t worry, it’s temporary and once your body is used to working out regularly, it will happen less often!