Have you set a New Year’s resolution to get fit and failed in the past? Don’t feel too bad. Studies have shown that about eighty percent of New Year’s resolutions fail. So, what can you do differently in 2023? Here are five suggestions to up your chances of success!
Start small and set realistic goals
If your goals are too lofty, you aren’t likely to meet them. For example, if you set a goal to run a marathon in sixty days and you haven’t been running, you aren’t likely to achieve it. For behaviors to change, you need to set SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound) goals.
For example, you might set a goal to walk thirty minutes a day at least three days a week for the next four weeks. Once you achieve that consistently, perhaps you move on to something else. Focusing on changing habits can be much more effective than setting big goals. And give yourself a break! If you mess up, all is not lost. Show yourself a little compassion and get back in there!
Stand up at least every hour and move
Most of us live rather sedentary lifestyles. The CDC says that one in four American adults sits more than eight hours a day. Sitting has been called “the new smoking” and can result in wide-ranging health problems. Getting fit isn’t all about exercise. Our bodies were made to move, and to be fit we need to move them!
Even if you are exercising regularly, it is extremely important to move throughout the day. Make a conscious effort to stand up and move around at least once an hour. Do some stretching, take a short walk, and maybe throw in a few push-ups or sit-ups.
Do something you enjoy
There are two common reasons why people don’t exercise regularly.
- No fun
- No time
Interestingly enough, we often make time for activities that we find fun. So, find something you enjoy and do that! If you hate to run, then don’t try to start a running program. If you like to dance, look for opportunities to do that. The best exercise is the one you will do.
Exercise with a friend
Most things are better if you do them with a friend, including exercise. You are also more likely to be compliant if you have someone else to answer to. Look for someone with similar goals and interests and who has a comparable fitness level and schedule. Then, cheer each other on and hold one another accountable.
Many people seem to think that fitness and diet are two separate things. You work out to build your muscle, and diet to lose weight, right? Wrong. Diet and fitness are more interconnected than you might think. The truth is that diet is just as (if not more) important as fitness when it comes to achieving results. You can’t out-exercise a bad diet.
Some general guidelines for eating right are below but note that these are general recommendations and they may differ from person to person depending on your specific situation.
- Eat more whole foods and avoid processed foods
- Eat five or more servings of fruits and vegetables every day (Healthy Eating Pyramid)
- Watch the sugar, consuming no more than 24 grams a day (American Heart Association recommendation for women)
- Eat breakfast and include some carbs and protein (WebMD)
- Drink water, consuming about 11.5 cups a day (U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine recommendation for women – includes other beverages and fluids from foods)
Now, you have some tips for success. Let’s do this, ladies!