Did you make any New Year’s resolutions at the beginning of the year? How are they going? This is a great time to pause and look back at what has happened during the first semester. Have you lived these months the way you wanted to? Have you improved in the areas that you wanted to improve ? Each day seems to go by so fast, but if we stop on purpose to analyze our year, we will be able to see if we are steering in the right direction or if changes are necessary.
According to a study made by the University of Scranton and the Journal of Clinical Psychology, 45% of Americans usually make New Year’s resolutions. The top three are: lose weight, get organized, and spend less. According to the study, 8% of the ones who made the resolutions are successful. It’s not easy achieving a goal, especially when it is something so big and involves so many aspects of our life, but maybe the problem is not how big the goal is, but our strategy to reach it.
Let’s take one of the most common resolutions: to lose weight. But let’s go a little deeper and let’s say that the goal is to have a healthier lifestyle. In our excitement of the New Year and our desire to improve our life, we declare this as our resolution, but we don’t give it the thought it needs and we don’t set up a step by step plan. We try really hard; we stop eating certain foods and do some exercises but when we don’t see the expected results we feel discouraged. Don’t let that frustration make you give up, read these tips to get some ideas to define your own plan and achieve your goal:
Be realistic: The before and after photos are great and I am really happy for the people in them, but many times they can be misinterpreted because it gives us the idea that huge results can be achieved fast and easily. We don’t get to see the journey that person had to go through. Good things take time, they require giving up things we really like and making smart decisions and that is not always something we smile about, at least not at that moment. Be realistic, know that achieving your goal is going to be hard and will require discipline and tough decisions, but it’s ok because you can do it.
Be on the move: If you want to lose some weight and keep fit, include moving into your everyday. Park a little further from the store, take the stairs, play active games with your children, use the proper techniques during house chores and turn them into exercise sessions, spend more time outdoors, turn off the TV and put away your electronics. You still will need a defined workout time and routine, but all of these activities will keep you energized throughout the day.
Be creative: Being healthy is lots of fun, so be creative and make it fit your lifestyle. How about turning the next “girl’s night out” into a “girls day out” and go hiking at a beautiful park. Why not make eating at home more fun and share the work by letting members of your family choose recipes and take turns cooking. Even little ones (with adult help) can be involved and believe me, children learn so much from cooking and they tend to eat everything they prepare.
Be on the lookout: Know yourself. If you have a clear idea that at certain time of the day you crave unhealthy foods, then make sure you have eaten something healthy before. If you know that when you get hungry you eat whatever you have close by, then make sure you have healthy snacks with you at all times. If you know that your body needs to eat small portions often, be prepared. If you know that when you are sad, distracted or nervous, you eat certain unhealthy food, then keep an eye on what are you putting in your mouth and why are you doing it. Are you really hungry or are you allowing your emotions to dictate what you eat. Don’t get caught off guard.
Be on a journey: Changing eating habits is a process that takes time. Don’t give yourself two weeks to achieve a huge goal, instead, determine that big goal and establish the steps needed to achieve it and enjoy the journey. Define dates for each step and celebrate each achievement. When your goal becomes an inner process, its effects will last, it will be a lifestyle and good decisions will become habits. You decide the destination, you define the path and you follow it. It’s your journey.
I am going to be honest; achieving a healthy lifestyle is not always easy. I say to myself that I am going to be a strong fit woman no matter my age and I know I can do it, but sometimes I also know I am not doing enough to achieve it. That is when I ask myself, “How badly do I want this?” If I want to be able run around chasing my grandkids years from now, traveling abroad without getting tired, I need to do things now. But in my now many times I am too busy or too tired to do what I should do. Life is a balance and time for us needs to be a priority. This is a process and every decision counts, every victory big or small is celebrated. So… what is your resolution? If you really want to achieve it, set yourself up for success, because you can.