Don’t Make Resolutions by Steph Beth Nickel
Instead of making an extensive list of resolutions we may very well discard before the end of January, let’s make a game plan for the year ahead.
First, let’s set a long-term goal, one we would like to achieve before the end of December 2018. Do you want to lose 30 pounds? Run a 5K? Consistently walk 10,000 steps each day?
Let’s say you want to lose 30 pounds—and keep it off. For most of us, that’s very doable. But like any goal, if we don’t break it down into smaller, more immediate goals, we won’t likely achieve it.
Determine what steps you need to take to achieve your goal.
To take off 30 pounds, you will likely have to change your eating and exercise habits. But trying to change everything as of January 1 is almost guaranteed to lead to discouragement and may cause us to give up even before we get started.
Choose to focus on a single step.
Perhaps, like me, you don’t drink enough water. Increasing your water intake from one to eight glasses per day could be your goal for January. (Remember non-caffeinated herbal tea also counts as water and you may prefer the taste.)
Continue with Step 1 and add the next step.
You could begin a workout routine. If you don’t work out regularly, you may want to do so once the first week, twice the second, and three times Weeks 3 and 4.
Add Step 3 or intensify the second step.
Thirty minutes of physical activity per day is a great goal. You may want to increase your level of activity until you reach this goal. You could alternate between resistance training (bodyweight exercises or those using handweights) and cardio (walking, running, snowshoeing, etc.).
Add Step 4.
Physical activity (exercise) is important for many reasons and shouldn’t be neglected, but exercise alone won’t likely result in the weightloss we’re looking for. Some experts say it’s an 80-20 split, 80 percent dependent on what we eat and 20 percent dependent on our activity level.
Your first dietary goal could be to increase your vegetable intake. I know from firsthand experience that this makes a big difference when seeking to lose weight.
Add a new habit every month or two while keeping up with those you’ve already added.
Remember, every step toward your health and fitness goal is a step in the right direction.
Be kind to yourself.
It isn’t a matter of if we’ll miss a day or two but when. Many of us give up if we drop the ball, but success awaits those who get back up after they stumble.
Factor in “cheat days.”
If you know you’re going to a birthday party and would like to eat a piece of cake, do so. If you’re going on holidays and know you’ll be sitting around relaxing the vast majority of the time, that’s okay. If you need a down day in front of the television, take it. However, you may want to keep track of your cheat days so you don’t take too many in a row.
Please note: I am not a nutritionist or fitness professional. Before changing your diet or level of activity, check with your doctor or other healthcare professional. What works well for one person can be harmful for another.
Have a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New Year.
Be kind to yourself. Break large goals down into small, more achievable ones. (tweet this)
Before changing your activity level, exercise routine, and/or eating habits, consult your health care professional. What is safe and beneficial for one person can be harmful for another. Note that you implement the following information at your own risk.
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Steph Beth Nickel is an author, a freelance editor and writer, a labour doula, and a former personal trainer. She’d love to connect with you on Facebook or Twitter, on her website or blog.