New Year's Resolutions
Most of us make New Year's Resolutions. They usually include eating healthier and exercising more. Our intentions are to adopt our new habits with the goal of being healthier or losing weight so we can be around a long time for our families. We get gung ho, buy new running shoes, get a gym membership, fill our grocery baskets with salad makings, low fat foods, and away we go. That is what the first week or two looks like.
So what happens? Before the month is up we get discouraged and are tired of sore muscles. We throw in the towel and quickly go back to our old self defeating habits. The few pounds you lost start to creep back and so do the excuses. Why, year after year, do we go through this pattern only to beat ourselves up and feel like a failure?
Here are a few tips to help make your New Year's Healthy Resolutions a reality in 2008.
First, remember that some of the things you would like to change are usually behaviors you have usually been doing for years! Also remember that it takes at least 30 days to develop a new habit. So trying to change everything all at once is just setting yourself up for failure.
Small changes make a big difference over the long haul. Start small. For example, pick one thing you would like to change. Say you want to stop eating so many sweets. Now, write down your ultimate goal. I would like to limit my desserts to just once a week. Now, break that goal down into small steps. You can start as small as throwing out the first bite of every dessert you eat. This small start may sound trivial and may not seem to make a difference at first but keep going. Next, you can cut out one dessert a week. Keep doing the small steps until all of a sudden you realize that you have reached your goal and it really wasn't so painful. It may take 6 months to reach this goal but if you take it in small steps it seems easy.
Here are a few suggestions for getting a start on your health goals.
March in front of the television during the commercials. This will get your body used to moving again if you haven't been exercising. You don't have to buy a membership to a gym to start an exercise program. Just start moving!
Park at the furthest end of the parking lot at the grocery store.
Substitute one unhealthy lunch a week with a salad.
Buy whole grain bread instead of white.
Substitute Stevia for sugar in your coffee.
Drink tea instead of coffee.
Eat white meat of the chicken instead of the dark meat.
Substitute whole grain cereal for the sugar bombs.
Replace your vegetable cooking oil with olive oil.
Cook brown rice instead of white rice.
These may seem like trivial things to start with but if you keep adding small things, they then turn into big goals. Any step in a healthy direction is a great one.!
After I had my baby, I needed to start back into my exercise program. I just started with walking around the block with my baby. It was a nice time for the both of us. Then I found that I wanted more…I started running for 15 minutes a few times a week. This turned into wanting to do a 10K then a marathon. Now when I started with my program I never even dreamed that I would run a marathon. The more I did, the more I wanted to do. You don't have to have a goal of running a marathon. My point is that just the small step led to bigger and bigger steps. You start to realize your potential when you start slow and accomplish small goals.
Small changes in your diet really add up to big results as well. Your body will want more and more healthy foods once you start. In the long run, if you take it slow, you won't even crave the old habit foods.
Reward yourself! When you reach even the smallest of goals, it is important to treat yourself. This can be as simple as relaxing for 20 minutes in the bath, getting a massage, or buying yourself that new sweater. Don't beat yourself up if you slip. Just start over with the next meal, or the next day and keep going.
Most important, tell people your goals. Write them down. Both of these steps empower the goals. People will love to support you if you share your goals. Find someone with similar goals. A work out buddy keeps you accountable and makes it much more enjoyable. Get your children involved in your goals. Have them make little goals for themselves as well.
Here's to a healthy and happy 2008!
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