With a new year beginning, people everywhere are thinking about what changes they’re going to make and what goals they’re going to accomplish starting January 1st. Chances are, you’ve given it a bit a of thought. And perhaps getting in shape or losing weight have come to mind. Goodness knows those are a couple of the most common desires out there. But why bother when most resolutions don’t make it past the first week? Here’s why. Because with these tips, you can not only find your true motivation for improving your health, but you can create a realistic plan that will have you feeling great as you take on 2018.
#1: Identify Your Deepest “Why”
Start by asking yourself a question about your health goals. It can be as simple as, “Why am I doing this?” Once you have that answer, ask yourself “why” to that. Go through this five times to dig deeper and identify your deepest reason for focusing on your health in the year to come.
#2: Change Your Inner Dialogue
Did you know that positive self talk actually helps you make progress toward your goals? While it sounds easy, the truth is far more of the dialogue in our heads is negative. So take note, and make small adjustments as necessary. One easy way to shift your thinking, is to move away from “I am” statements. Instead, of “I am fat”, focus the behavior that’s the issue. “I tend to eat more than I should.” It’s much easier to change a behavior than your identity.
#3: Commit to ONE Small Change at a Time
We all know creating a habit is no simple task. According to this study in the European Journal of Social Psychology, it takes an average of 66 days — and can actually range anywhere from 18 to 254 days. So, like most people, you could give up in the first month. But if you do, you haven’t really given yourself a chance. Instead, really dig in to practicing positive self talk, and give yourself a break or two along the road to success. After all, not practicing the habit once in awhile had zero effect on actually establishing the habit. So don’t think all is lost if you miss a workout or slip on the calorie count. (Perfectionists, we’re talking to you.)
#4: Practice Self Care
Oh, yes…this buzzword is everywhere. Self care. But it’s all the rage for a good reason. Stress — particularly chronic stress — can have a very negative impact on your health. While you certainly should reward yourself with extravagant things like massages and vacations every now and then, you should also do little things daily to reduce stress. Make a list — a long one — of things that really make you happy and relax you. Then find one or two activities that you can reasonably do every day. And keep that list handy so you can switch things up, or give yourself a bonus activity on those particularly high-anxiety days.
#5: Get Enough Sleep
We all know it, but here’s the reminder. You should probably be getting more sleep. Adults need 7 to 9 hours every night, and not clocking enough can hinder weight loss and create other health problems. Start by creating a bedtime ritual that you turn to seven days a week. The routine will help alert your body to the fact that it’s time to shut down. And be sure to cut out screen time at least 30 minutes prior to sleep. If reading in bed is part of your ritual, then crack open an old-fashioned paperback book. Your brain will thank you.
#6: Drink Enough Water
There really isn’t a more simple thing you can do to improve your health, so grab that water bottle and refill it throughout the day. You should be consuming at least two liters of water each day. When in doubt, check your pee out. That’s right, there’s a handy chart for gauging your hydration.
#7: Find Physical Activities You Enjoy
As you could probably guess, this is where most resolutions fall apart. People simply do not stick with exercise when it feels like a chore or punishment. So give it some thought. What physical activities do you really enjoy? Maybe you love dancing at parties, hiking in nature, or going on family bike rides. Incorporate a fun factor into your exercise routine so that you actually look forward to your workouts.
We know how hard getting into a healthy routine can be. We’ve been there (seriously…how do you think Gixo came to be?). It turns out, according to the CDC, that you only need 21 minutes of moderate intensity exercise each day to see benefits. And even with our busy schedules and always-on technology these days, that’s totally do-able. You’ve got this. And, if we can help (and we’re pretty sure we can), we’d love to be a part of a stronger, healthier you in 2018.
Go get ’em!