If you’re like most Americans, your New Year’s resolution bit the dust about a month ago. But not to worry, it’s never too late to recommit yourself to healthy living. If you want 2017 to be the year you make healthy habits stick, here are some tips for making a permanent commitment to health.
1. Make Healthy Habits Fun
One of the reasons we don’t stick to healthy habits is we don’t think they’re fun. Of course, we’d rather eat cookies and cake, veg on the couch binge watching our favorite shows, and staying up late than going to bed at a reasonable hour. Getting up before the crack of dawn to work out and drink a protein shake doesn’t sound like fun to anyone, and if your resolution centers on activities that you don’t want to do, you won’t do them.
That’s why you should amend your resolution to include fun healthy habits. One way to make sure you stick to this amended resolution is to include your friends. Go hiking with your significant other, meet up with a good friend at a yoga class, or go to the new trampoline hot-spot with your kids.
If you’d rather have fun getting healthy with your dog, go for it. Find a class that gives both of you a workout and builds muscle. You can do cardio, strength training, and stability moves with your dog while working on obedience with him. If a class isn’t for you, you can do outdoor activities such as kayaking, paddle boarding, trail running, and rollerblading with your furry friend. If you don’t have a dog of your own, consider volunteering to walk an elderly neighbor’s dog or starting a side gig as a pet sitter. That way you’ll have a four-legged pal to workout with, but won’t have to take on the other responsibilities of owning a pet.
2. Make More Manageable Goals
It’s easy to shoot for the stars when you make a New Year’s resolution, but you need to be more realistic now that the new year is well on its way. Re-evaluate your original resolution and be as specific as you can. Make sure that you include measurable goals. Some people find that writing them down and hanging them in conspicuous places in the house is a surefire way to stick to your resolution. Start small and build up when it comes to lifting weights, running a 5K, and planking for more than a minute. It may be helpful to choose an end date and work backward to set monthly goals that will get you to your overall goal.
3. Hold Yourself Accountable
Sometimes, people have trouble sticking to their fitness goals because they aren’t being held accountable. It’s easy to argue with yourself and give in to that devil on your shoulder; it’s harder to be accountable to others. One strategy is to find a friend or accountability partner that can keep you on track. Decide whether you will text each other once a day, send photos of healthy meals throughout the day to one another, or catch up with each other a couple of times a week.
Some people find that joining online groups is the best way to stay accountable because there are several people to connect with, share struggles and triumphs, and reach out to when you get frustrated or reach a plateau. Facebook groups especially are popular with people because they are easy to check into throughout the day and people are participating nearly around the clock.
If you’re more of an introvert or don’t want to share your fitness journey with others, you can purchase a fitness tracker that will help you stay on track each day regardless of how busy you get. Fitness trackers virtually eliminate excuses because they track your heart rate, the number of calories burned, and your steps taken each day. Depending on which you purchase, you can get your data online and track results for given periods of time.
A quick caveat: while holding yourself accountable will play an important role in meeting your goals, perfection isn’t possible. There will be days when you simply can’t squeeze in a workout. There will be days when you can’t resist the urge to eat that extra cookie or doughnut. And that’s ok. If you find that you’re stressing yourself out about meeting your goals or starting to slip into bad habits because you’ve put too much pressure on yourself, take a moment to reset. Healthy habits aren’t built in a day and they aren’t wiped out in a day, either. Slow and steady wins the race, so be kind to yourself, always.
Yes, 2017 is now well under way, but you don’t have to toss your New Year’s resolution for health to the wayside if you’ve fallen off course. Find ways to make getting healthy fun, re-evaluate your goals, and find a way to hold yourself accountable, and you’ll soon have a permanent commitment to health that you can carry to the end of the year and beyond.
Author: Paige Johnson