9 ways to stay on track and reach your goals.
Ah, the New Year’s resolution. Thoughts of working out, losing weight, eating better and kicking bad habits flood the brain in preparation for January 1. Gyms become packed with people working out.
A few weeks later, those gyms again belong to the regulars. The reasons that resolutions so often fail are many, but often it is due to feeling overwhelmed and defeated because you set your goals too high. To avoid that, focus on what matters to you, and choose no more than two or three resolutions.
Here are some suggestions to keep you motivated for the whole year.
Mix it up
Try a new fitness routine, like yoga or tai chi. It not only improves your strength, flexibility and posture, but lowers your blood pressure and pulse rate. (Check with your healthcare provider before beginning any new routine.)
Get more sleep
Aim for about six to eight hours of sleep each night, and turn off electronics at least an hour before bed.
Just say “No”
In a culture of overcommitment, many people have a hard time saying “no” to all kinds of requests. Saying “yes” when you really want to say “no” only causes you more stress. It really is okay to take a pass.
Learn to meditate
It is great for relieving stress, increasing self-awareness and reducing negative emotions. It also teaches you mindfulness, which is being attentive to what is happening at the present moment. Helpfully, there are many free online resources to learn meditation.
Drink more water and less sugary drinks
Staying properly hydrated is crucial to the body and the brain. Drinking at least 64 ounces of water daily helps reduce inflammation, aids in kidney function and promotes cognitive processes.
Don’t diet – make a lifestyle change instead
The word “diet” conjures up all sorts of negative thoughts, including anxiety around restrictions and concerns that food won’t be enjoyable anymore. A nutritious, balanced diet plays an important role in overall good health and wellbeing. So look to make changes that are good for you and sustainable. And grant yourself some grace — sometimes cravings, portion sizes and life stressors can derail good intentions and planning.
Here are some tips to consider in improving your health through nutrition.
Managing cravings: There are a few things you can do to keep cravings at bay. Out of sight is out of mind. Avoid buying junk food in the first place, and replace it with healthier options. Smaller, more frequent meals which include lean protein, spaced throughout the day, also keep blood sugar stable, so hunger and cravings occur less frequently. Ironically, cravings aren’t all about food. Poor sleep and high stress can both disrupt the normal appetite hormones and lead to cravings and other issues with hunger control.
Mind over matter: Mindful eating can be a real game-changer. Planning meals in advance can not only save time, but can help you focus on the healthiest options and portion size. At mealtime, use smaller plates and bowls so you eat less. Also, do not eat your meal in front of the computer, television or with your cell phone in your hand. Focus on the taste, texture and aroma of your food, and chew your food thoroughly, putting your fork down between bites. It takes about 20 minutes for the stomach to signal the brain that it is full. If you eat more slowly, you can potentially eat less food before feeling full.
Snacks for the long haul: Incorporating the right kinds of foods into your diet can help keep you fueled all day long. Here are some great combinations of protein, fat and fiber to stave off temptation.
|1 stick low-fat cheese||10 almonds||3 whole grain crackers|
|2 tbsp black beans||2 tbsp shredded cheddar||1 small whole wheat tortilla|
|5 oz Greek yogurt||25 pistachios||1 small apple|
|4 oz chicken breast||½ avocado||1 cup mixed berries|