It’s a new year. A new beginning. A clean slate. An unwritten story. A blank page.
It’s the perfect opportunity to recommit to your health and well-being: Eat better. Exercise regularly. Move better. Indulge in self-care. Change bad habits. Manage stress. Focus on health not weight. Plan for success. And pay attention to your thoughts.
If you are someone who struggles to commit to New year’s resolutions, consider looking past the big, obvious goals and look out for the smaller “mini-goals”, that will have a bigger impact in the long run.
A common mistake most people make is setting vague goals like, “I’ll be healthier”. Rather make your resolution specific, with a tangible, achievable outcome. An example of specific and sustainable new year’s resolutions would be to get “7 hours of sleep every night”, “drinking 2 litres of water every day”, or “making time to meditate for 10 minutes every day”. These goals, while small, can add up to make a big impact and help you become healthier.
Without losing any further minute, let’s move on to some sustainable resolutions to commit to your health and well-being in 2020.
If you want to eat better, determine how you plan to do so with sustainable resolutions. For example, “eat a protein rich food at every meal”, “follow a 80/20 rule every day – where you make sure that 80 percent of the days food intake was nutritious and healthy and the other 20 percent leave room for more fun foods”, “eating at least 3 different veggies everyday” or “limiting alcohol to only one drink per day”. Making smaller goals like these are easier to stick to and can help you eat better and improve your overall health.
When it comes to setting exercise related goals, it is important that you are specific. You will be more successful if you plan exactly what you want to achieve. If you want to be more active plan to incorporate it in your schedule and be specific about what you will be doing. A couple examples of resolutions are “taking the stairs instead of the elevator”, “joining a Pilates or Strength class once a week”, or “going for a 30min walk in the mornings”. Don’t over complicate things.
If you have any restrictions affecting your movement, any aches or pains that affect your daily activities. Check in with a registered Biokineticist, who can assess your problem areas and educate you on how to manage your concerns. There is nothing better than being able to, physically and mentally, do the things you want to do.
Indulge in self-care.
It’s so important we make sure we take good care of our body, mind and soul every day, not just when we are unwell. Self-care is often forgotten; we all have crazy busy lives and we struggle saying no and end up burnt out. Making self-care part of your new year’s resolutions can look something like this: “making sure you get 8 hours sleep every night”, “switching of your cell phones after 7pm to have family time”, “meal prepping for the week to ensure you have healthy meals at work”, “going for a massage”, “getting into nature on the weekend”. Simple yet feasible is what you should be aiming for.
Change bad habits.
We all have bad habits that contribute to poor health, access your habits and make sure they are not leading you to an unhealthy state, physically or mentally. Whether its smoking, drinking too much, eating late at night, scrolling down social media or eating too much chocolate. Make a decision to do this less and less, limit the time you spend doing this and try to fulfil the habit with something a bit more positive or productive like “reading a chapter in your new book”, “going for a walk”, “making sure you’re getting enough steps for the day”, “listen to your favourite music”, “calling a friend”. Bad habits are hard to break because the mind is hard wired to resist change, planning accordingly will be necessary, make sure you share your resolutions to change with a loved one for support.
Stress is an inevitable part of life. Studies have shown that short term stress can boost the immune system, but chronic stress has significant effects on the immune system that ultimately manifest an illness. Long office hours, little sleep, no exercise, poor diet and not spending time with family and friends can add to anxiety and stress. Managing your stress before it manages you is so important. Here are a couple ideas you can add to your resolutions to manage stress. “Spend quality time on weekends with loved ones”, “go on a yearly vacation”, “make time to get out in nature at least once a week”, “watch the sunrise daily”, “get in a good sweat session before work”. Simple yet doable is important here!
Focus on health not weight.
We have all had weight loss as a resolution. Weight loss is great if your health is compromised because of your weight. But we need to shift our focus off weight loss and on to health gain. Being healthy and having vitality is more important than fitting into those pair of jeans you wore 5 years ago. At the end of the day, if you are able to move your body pain free, without restrictions, without fear of injury, if you have the energy to get through your day to day schedule and have energy to do things you enjoy, if you can manage unexpected stress without it forcing you into a panic attack, then you are able to focus your attention on weight loss. Until then focus on health gain! And make sure your following the first 6 resolutions!
Plan for success.
If you fail to plan, plan to fail. Everything runs more smoothly once you have planned and organized it. Make time to plan and schedule your day, even if you have to schedule in your 8 hours of sleep or your walk on the promenade, schedule it in and the likelihood of doing it is so much better. Make it a priority to plan your schedule.
Pay attention to your thoughts.
The way you feel about something is due to the way you think about something. Every thought you have has a mental and physical reaction. Make sure to keep a close look on your thoughts. It is easy to get caught up in negative thought patterns, monitor this and detach yourself from these thoughts. Always try and find positive aspects about the situation or goal at hand. Remind yourself that you are choosing to have a healthy meal rather than eating a burger with extra fries because you want to feel vibrant and energetic after your meal, not sluggish and fatigued. It’s all about perspective. Pay attention to having a positive mindset.
Making your new year’s resolutions stick.
Do not go on the “all or nothing” approach. If you mess up, do not give up on your goal. Its only a temporary setback, just put it behind you, learn from it and keep moving forward. Every day that you eat better, exercise, manage stress, and beat a bad habit, you’re improving your health and well-being.
Invest in yourself, make 2020 your happiest and healthiest yet!