Many of us make resolutions as we enter the New Year. Some resolutions include getting a better education, pursuing a better job or becoming a better manager of personal finances. However, one of the most common resolutions we make is related to health. Health resolutions can include getting fit, losing weight and/or eating healthier. Unfortunately, weeks (or even days) after the clock strikes 12 AM on January 1st, we’ve abandoned our New Year’s health resolution.
Here are 5 tips to assist in maintaining your New Year’s health resolution for 2014.
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Set attainable goals: With a genuine desire to achieve our health resolutions, we often set unattainable goals. When we fall short of these goals, we can become discouraged and abandon our resolution. For example, pledging to lose 50 pounds in 2-3 weeks can be difficult to attain. Pledging to lose a pound a week, on the other hand, is more attainable. Achieving an attainable goal can build confidence in your ability to reach your ultimate health objective.
Don’t pledge to workout everyday: Pledging to workout everyday may be difficult to maintain and may not allow the body time to recover and repair itself. Instead, aim to do 3 full body workouts per week with 1-2 days rest between. Include interval cardio training and combination exercises in each workout. For example, include an interval run or bike ride that involves consistently changing pace (i.e. slow, fast, slow, faster, etc.). A combination exercise, for example, may include push-ups followed by body-weight squats with a 30-60 second active rest between. An active rest can include marching in place, jumping jacks, dancing, etc. On rest days, do something leisurely active to keep the body moving (i.e. take the stairs to your office instead of the elevator, pick-up lunch instead of having it delivered, etc.). The body gets weak if the body doesn’t move.
Establish 1 new lifestyle change per month: Research has shown that those who develop a wellness-based lifestyle not only lose weight, but also keep the weight off. Here are examples of monthly lifestyle changes.
- Drink less soda: Soda and other sugary drinks can contribute to belly fat and expand your waistline. Attempt to drink one less soda per day per month. Replace the soda amount with water. For example, replace a 12 oz. soda with a 12 oz. glass of water.
- Get high quality sleep: high quality sleep can have a positive effect on appetite control, muscle growth and energy. Attempt to go to sleep 15 minutes earlier per night per month. Continue this process until you are able to go to sleep at a reasonable hour to get 7-8 hours of sleep.
No condemnation: If you fall off the proverbial wellness wagon, don’t condemn or punish yourself. For example if you find yourself on a junk food binge, don’t skip subsequent meals to make up for the damage. Skipping meals can slow metabolism, cause the body to store fat and may cause more overeating. Similarly, if you miss a scheduled workout, don’t workout for consecutive days to make up for the workout missed. Not allowing your body to recover between workouts can increase susceptibility to injury. Instead of these tactics, simply resume your wellness-based lifestyle.
Don’t give up: Be patient with yourself. It took time for us to develop less-than- healthy wellness habits and may take time to develop healthier ones. As Thomas Edison once said “Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.”