Most of us will agree that making lofty resolutions at the beginning of the year is in vain. What’s the point if you’re going to break them? The fact is that most of us are likely to make and break our resolutions in just 15 days. That’s not even to the end of January! Still, it would be a shame not to take advantage of that motivated feeling at the beginning of the year. Here’s how you can make and stick to your resolutions.
Ease into it
Don’t leap into a heavy exercise regime from nothing. You’re more likely to hurt yourself and cause damage mentally by discouraging yourself than actually make progress. January is a tough month for most people – after a month of celebration and expense, it’s the “back-to-reality” month for the finances which can cause a lot of stress.
Make exercise a way to get rid of that stress rather than add to it. Find time to go for long walks or jogs with friends or family as a way to relax. It’s a ease into exercise and de-stress without spending oodles of money.
No quick fix diets
Starving yourself will do the opposite to good for your health. Depriving yourself of good food will mean associating those well-meant resolutions with discomfort and misery. No diet is going to offer you the answer to your health problems. Rather, focus on getting your five-a-day quota of fruit and vegetables, drink lots of water and avoid too much alcohol and processed foods.
Put it down on paper
What do you want to achieve this year? Write it down and keep it somewhere safe. Now that you’ve pledged to improve your health, start investigating steps on how to achieve this. Start small — four 30-minute exercise sessions a week, a better diet and one outing during the weekend that has you doing something physical, like a long walk or hike. You could even look at entering yourself into short races in your area to help motivate yourself to exercise. There’s nothing quite like a set goal to work towards.
Get a gym buddy
You’ve set your goal and planned how you’ll get there but it can be quite lonely doing it on your own. An exercise buddy can really help motivate you and keep you focused on the prize, whilst keeping your company while you sweat your way to better health.
Don’t beat yourself up
You know the saying: “you’re only human.” Well, it’s true. You are. Which means you’re bound to have one or two off days. Don’t beat yourself up about it. Just shrug it off and keep going. Giving up is easy to do but if you’ve laid out a plan to lead a healthier life in 2012, then giving up is not an option.
Stay away from the snack aisle
If you don't have it in your cupboard, you are less likely to be tempted to eat it. Keep your eye on the goal and get rid of those tasty little temptations from your fridge, freezer and pantry. Try keep your food as "fresh" as possible. Fresh fruit and vegetables, some protein in the form of poultry or fish and a reasonable amount of carbohydrates prepared without frying or adding mountains of salt. Another key is to avoid drinking sugary juice and fizzy drinks. These are packed with calories and fat and will only reverse the hard work you put in. Stick to water and the occasional cup of tea or coffee. A cheat every now and then is not the end of the world, but try to keep them to a minimum and as any crazy sports coach will tell you, keep your eye on the prize!