According to experts, 80 percent of our New Year’s resolutions fail. That number is quite discouraging, not to mention that’s a lot of pressure to put on ourselves.
If your your enthusiasm has stalled in past years, or you're starting to lose steam this year, don’t worry, read on for six great strategies to help you reboot your resolve and rebalance for 2020.
1. ‘Tis the season to be kind to yourself.
Be patient with yourself the way you would be patient with a spouse or loved one. Start by ditching the guilt and shame associated with weight issues. Health and well-being are dynamic–an ever changing balancing act. We each have natural cycles of activity, restoration, nutrition, and elimination. For example, if you find you no longer have the motivation to exercise since you made your well-meaning resolution to “get fit and stay fit,” or if you’re just not achieving the results you want, DON’T give up, but DO take the pressure off.
Maybe what’s holding you back is what used to work may no longer be effective for one or more reasons. Consider rebalancing your seasonal lifestyle. Winter can be a time for increased nurturing. This may mean reading a book, sharing more quality family time, or enjoying a hobby.
2. Reassess your fitness goals.
Mix it up! If your current activities aren’t working, start to reassess your goals by looking at what’s healthy and reasonable for your specific needs. When it comes to fitness, priorities, and goals will vary depending on age, gender, and other health conditions. The intensity, pace, and type of exercise that worked for you in your 20s or 30s may no longer be effective.
Are your blood pressure, cholesterol and triglycerides at healthy levels? You may want to seek the help of a naturopathic physician or your health care provider to help set goals that are specific to you, and are more reasonable—therefore attainable. Life happens, so be flexible. Start by setting a goal of 150 minutes for the week to build consistency. If 22 minutes of activity per day isn’t doable…then maybe 30 minutes one day…or whatever you can balance over the course of seven days that will add up to 150.
Here is another thought, if an evening workout doesn’t benefit you, try switching it to the morning. The early-morning daylight may help keep you motivated. Include a variety of activities in a regular fitness plan as well. Maybe alternating cardio and strength training with flexibility exercises or yoga will help you find your right balance.
3. Control Stress: Nurture with Nature.
Spend time in nature. Take a long walk, enjoy the changing forests and landscapes of the season near a window, or in front of the fireplace with a cozy blanket and a favorite healthy beverage. Depending on the season and where you live, you may want to try forest bathing for its relaxing and immune-boosting properties. It helps lift brain fog and restores the spirit. If you live in a northern climate, alternatives may include a winter hike, cross-country skiing, bird-watching, or even building a snowman with your kids! Focus on optimizing your whole health, don’t fixate on just one concern.
4. Balance Nutrition and Hydration.
Are you eating what your body needs to stay healthy and drinking enough healthy fluids to stay properly hydrated? If not, energy levels will lag and motivation may be lost, along with any well-meaning New Year’s resolutions. Add healthy choices into what you’re already doing: consider increasing fiber, add more whole fruits, vegetables, and healthy proteins. Keep in mind that eating is a social activity, so maybe what you need is to spend quality mealtimes with your partner, family, or friends.
TIP: Another way to increase healthy eating is to direct your attention to the perimeter aisles in the grocery store—this is where the fresh veggies, fruits, and healthy proteins reside. Following this plan may help reduce cravings for processed or junk foods, because you avoid those aisles of the store.
Don’t forget hydration: every cell in your body needs it to function. Focus on fluids that are rich in electrolytes, vitamins, and minerals; examples include herbal teas and Kombucha, however there are many more options, so be open to new alternatives. A naturopathic physician or your healthcare provider can help you reevaluate your needs through dietary assessment and nutritional counseling.
5. Get Enough Sleep.
Sleep is our body’s way to heal and recover. Common concerns related to sleep are whether you’re getting enough sleep, or staying asleep through the night. Poor or insufficient sleep can slow the metabolism, increase calorie storage as fat, increase appetite, and make it more challenging to make healthy food choices. Some of us function well on six to eight hours a night, others need more or less. If you're not refreshed when you wake up in the morning, you won’t be motivated to do many things throughout the rest of the day, including working, socializing, or exercising.
6. Keep a Positive Attitude.
One of the ways you can do that is by surrounding yourself with positive people. Don’t get dragged down by someone else’s negative outlook or emotions. A positive outlook keeps you energized and ready to tackle life’s challenges, while a negative one will only deplete your physical and mental strength. Positive and optimistic people tend to be more physically active and follow healthier lifestyles in general.
After a bold, ambitious start to the New Year there may be many reasons you get sidetracked on the road to your healthy lifestyle. The great news is that by trying these strategies, you can get back on track to reaching your goals naturally.
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