Ready to get your health back on track after a busy holiday season? It’s possible to make your New Year’s resolutions stick if you approach them realistically.
Use these tips from our Wellness team to help you set goals that make you feel good and give you best the best chance at success.
1. Devote time to sleep and rejuvenation. Set goals for reasonable bedtimes and waking times, and remember to stay hydrated. When the body is well-rested, the mind does not crave comfort foods that are often high in fat, sugar and/or sodium.
2. Stay hydrated. If you drink plenty of water, it supports success in all your goals. You’ll have more energy and you will be less likely to eat too many calories. Try drinking a glass of water every day before you eat or drink anything else. Or drink water, before, during and after each meal to aid digestion.
3. Focus on caring for your whole self.Nutrition, exercise, weight management and disease prevention are all important parts of wellness. But guess what? So is relaxation, time with family and friends, sleep, spirituality, play, positive self-talk, boundaries and any other self-care activities that help rejuvenate you. Set goals that are focused on taking care of yourself.
4. Reject the diet mentality. Diets force us to think of food in terms of good and bad. When foods are labeled as bad, we restrict them. This often leads to cravings, feelings of deprivation and overeating. When we overeat, we then label ourselves as bad, too. But the truth is foods are not so black and white. Sure, some foods are healthier than others, but less healthy foods can still be enjoyed. It’s about learning to balance it. If you nourish your body well most of the time, occasional indulgences will not have a big impact. Ditch the restriction and aim for balance.
5. Determine the ‘why’ of your New Year’s resolutions. Don’t buy into all the shoulds you hear, such as: “I should lose weight. I should exercise more. I should eat more vegetables.” Instead, think about what is important to you and why. Without a solid “why,” making changes stick will be challenging.
6. Control what you can, not what you cannot. Research shows that feeling in control helps when managing stress and goals that are impossible will only create anxiety. When you’re setting goals, use the SMART formula. SMART stands for specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound. Here’s an example: I will go for a 10-minute walk around the block, every weekday, after lunch.
7. Start small. If you start with small goals, you are more likely to succeed. This helps build up motivation and will encourage you to keep going. Try adding one or two servings of plant foods to your current diet before taking anything away. You could also make one meal a day healthier or cut sodas back by half instead of restricting them altogether.
8. Put things in perspective. If you are making goals based on panic about overindulging during the holidays, remember that temporary changes in your diet and exercise routine will not sabotage all your wellness gains or goals. Holidays, parties, weddings and other forms of celebration are not going away. We have to learn how to balance them with our wellness goals. Consider celebrations a great way to practice this.
Finally, remember that goals are not set in stone and should be adjusted according to your progress throughout the year. Priorities can change at any point and your New Year’s resolutions should reflect that.