The beginning of the new year is often seen as a time of rebirth, a chance for individuals to start anew.
Each January, millions of Americans resolve to better themselves – many focusing on their health. However, approximately 80% of all New Year's resolutions fail.
This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try. It means that you need a plan in place and must be realistic about the challenges ahead.
Check out five of the most common New Year’s resolutions and how you can achieve your goals:
1. Lose weight
One of the most popular resolutions is also one of the most difficult to achieve. People want results immediately, but losing weight takes time. Each day presents a new opportunity to make a change: improve your diet, be more active or embrace a healthier lifestyle overall.
Keeping track of what you eat will help you realize change is happening even if it’s not yet visible. It is also very helpful to have a support system in place for those days that are a bit more challenging than others.
Take it one step at a time and plan for bumps in the road.
2. Fit in fitness
Getting into better shape doesn’t mean you have to spend countless hours at the gym or on the track.
For the average person, a good fitness program consists of exercises that work the entire body and lasts between 30-60 minutes throughout the day. Cardio work improves the health of your heart, lungs and blood vessels. Weight-bearing exercises enhance the function and health of the bones, muscles, joints and connective tissues.
Start slow and if you are unable to commit a full 30-60 minutes at a given time throughout your day, spread it out. Go for a walk on your lunch break, ride your bike after work or do a few reps while dinner is in the oven.
3. Quit smoking
Regardless of how long you’ve been smoking, quitting will be a challenge. Research the various methods available and be prepared to try different ones until you find the one that works best for you.
As with losing weight, let others help you. Tell your friends, family and co-workers about your plan and explain to them that you would like their support throughout your journey. It also may be helpful to talk with your healthcare provider as they will have suggestions on how to lessen the urge.
4. Get more sleep
Have you been unsuccessful in past quests to get fit, lose weight or eat healthier? Perhaps your plan to healthier living is missing one of the most important pieces of the puzzle: sleep. A lack of sleep has been linked to a greater risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes, among other things.
Although everyone has different sleep patterns and slightly different needs, it is recommended that you get at least seven hours of sleep per night. If you have trouble doing so, try avoiding electronics an hour before bed. The blue light emitted from your television, laptop or smartphone can trigger alertness, keeping you awake longer. Also, try to stick to a schedule, regardless of the day. If you go out late on Saturday and sleep in on Sunday, you may have trouble being ready for Monday morning.
5. Cut your stress
We all do it. Work is overwhelming, we have a list of chores we need to take care of or we are trying to stick to these New Year’s resolutions. We put added stress on ourselves, which leads to a lack of sleep, poor eating choices or other unhealthy habits.
Make sure to make time for yourself. If you’re like many, you have vacation time saved up – use it. Don’t make yourself available 24/7. Turn off your smartphone, television and computer for an hour a day.
Removing unnecessary stress will go a long way in helping you achieve your other New Year’s resolutions.
Here’s to a healthier you!