6 Tips to a Healthier New Year's Resolution
At the time of this writing, we are less than a month away from the end of 2020. This year has been a major challenge for a lot of people, especially concerning our overall health and well-being. While we may be scrambling to find the right holiday gifts and figuring out how we are going to plan the end of this year, we also need to plan on what life will be like for us in the new year. Most people have New Year’s Resolutions, and unfortunately, many of them fail. But below we want to share with you 6 Tips to be Healthier in the New Year.
The most important thing, perhaps besides family and career, is our health. We are always looking at different ways to improve our health, whether it be with vitamins and supplements, or with weight loss or mental health. And while we do tend to focus on our big picture health status, we need to remember to take care of certain parts of our bodies that we use more of, like our eyes and the strain they suffer from prolonged exposure to blue light from the devices we seem to use more and more often. Yet while certain areas of our health are affected more than others, the basic principles of how to diet and exercise to lose weight tend to take the majority of attention.
A study done of the top 2020 New Year’s Resolutions showed that, aside from actually following through on the resolution or try something new, almost everyone in the study stated that they wanted to lose weight and eat healthier. And that wasn’t something new. In fact, exercise, weight loss, and diet change were the top three resolutions made according to a 2019 survey, and that trend can be seen going back in time to whenever someone invented resolutions in the first place … well, probably. The point is, if you are reading this blog, then you are at least highly likely to consider adding a new exercise routine, a new diet, a weight loss plan, or at least some combination of the three to your 2021 New Year’s Resolution.
Whatever your new health resolution is for 2021, here are 6 Tips to a Healthier New Year's Resolution:
1. Plan Ahead
Benjamin Franklin once said, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” Making a lifestyle change isn’t something you can simply say you’ll do and hope everything falls into place. Without a plan, you are doomed to fail. So, planning is really the most important thing. I know what you’re thinking, “Oh, of course I have plan”, but you need to be diligent about your planning. When it comes to exercising, plan for the week. When it comes to eating, also plan for each day of the week.
Exercise: Set up a schedule. What do you do each day of the week and when do you do it? Don’t just tell yourself to go running and do pushups each day. Put together a more specific plan that details what and when to so an exercise routine that works for you. And even more important, I wrote the plan down.
When you write down your plan, it seems to stick more in your mind, and somehow seems to be more official or real. Do the same with your diet.
Diet: If I don’t make a weekly plan of what to eat each day of the week (and weekend) and prepare that food in advance. The best method is to write down what meals you will eat during the week and buy foods that will fit your healthier criteria. Fruits, vegetables, and some grains and meat can go for all three meals. Prepare the food ahead of time so it’s ready when you need it in case you get too busy.
2. Set S.M.A.R.T. Goals
Andrew Carnegie once said, “If you want to be happy, set a goal that commands your thoughts, liberates your energy and inspires your hopes.” Many of us in the business world have had at least one meeting in which we discuss setting Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound goals in our work routines. Do the same with your new lifestyle and stick with it. You plan on what to do each week for your exercise and nutrition, so start adding S.M.A.R.T. goals as well.
Exercise: Set up your goals for your new exercise routine, no matter what it is. Do you have a specific goal? Of course you do! Now scale it down to fit each week. You can create a big goal for the end of 2021, but you need to make sure you can scale it down to fit milestones. Specifically, what will you need each day of the week? How will you measure success? Is your weekly goal achievable? If not, maybe your one-year plan is a bit of a stretch as well. Is the exercise relevant to your annual plan and can you scale it to fit weekly and monthly targets?
Diet: The same goes with food. Ask yourself: “am I going to eat only fresh fruits and vegetables with very little bread and meat all year long?” Maybe. But also, most likely not. It’s too vague and too broad of a goal. So get specific. What will your diet add and what will your diet take away each week or month? Do it incrementally so you don’t get too overwhelmed. Can you measure how much you add and take away each week? Is it possible, i.e. achievable? Are you really going to do it? Make sure it is a relevant diet change or nutrition adjustment, so you don’t just start eating gluten-free cookies even though you don’t suffer from celiac. And give yourself a big goal by the end of 2021, and scale it back into 12 monthly, or 52 weekly, smaller goals.
3. Track Progress
Dr. Gail Matthews discovered during her research that you are 42 percent more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down. Keep track of everything! If you can get into the habit of keeping track of the exercise and dieting you are engaged in, you’ll be more likely to stick with it. But don’t rely on this alone, you need to have the plan and the goals in place first and keep track as you go to help you stay on course. Make it a daily commitment. Did you ever keep a diary or daily journal when you were younger? Do you keep one now? Get yourself a notebook or daily planner and put all the details of your exercise and diet down in that record and make it a goal for before you go to bed. Ask yourself: what did I do for exercise today? What did I eat today? Did it help me achieve my goals? If it doesn’t fit with the plan, make sure you change the routine the next day.
4. Buddy Up
We’re not meant to be alone. This is especially true when it comes to making huge changes in your life, like making a New Year’s Resolution you aim to achieve. Having a partner in this endeavor, or “using the buddy system” has been shown to improve results dramatically. In fact, Dr. Benjamin Hardy, Ph.D, found that “ … having a specific accountability partner increases your chance of success to 95%.” So when you go on that diet or new exercise routine, have a friend or loved one be there to hold you accountable. One method that works is having a workout partner. Plan to meet at a specific time each for a workout and hold each other to it. For nutritional changes in life, do it with someone you care about, and who cares about you. If you are both going on this journey together, you are far more likely to succeed.
5. Cut the Bad & add the Good
Bad habits are so easy to pick up and so hard to let go of. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to get rid of bad habits. For example, limit yourself to drinking only water and no soda or artificially flavored beverages. Add more fruits and vegetables to your diet. If you’re not sure which diet works for you, download our free ebook that lists five scientifically proven tips to reduce and manage your weight through organic and natural dieting.
6. Be Consistent
Tony Robbins once said, “It's not what we do once in a while that shapes our lives. It's what we do consistently.” If your new exercise plan or diet is something you only do occasionally, or even most of the time, it is doomed to fail. Keep it going. The first 4 steps outlined thus far are the basis of this truth. Whatever you start, you must finish. Once you get going on this new journey you must keep motivated to endure the plan until the end.
Therefore, you must make a plan and do a really good job with it. What are the day-to-day, week-to-week, and month-to-month steps you are taking? Make sure you set the right goals and make them specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely. Don’t let yourself get off track! Rather, keep track of your progress by writing down what you do each day. A bonus of this is seeing the progress you make as you engage in this New Year’s Resolution. Also, buddy up with someone you trust who will motivate you and push you at times to finish what you started. And be sure to cut out the bad habits and bad foods that prevent you from achieving your goals.