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new year, new (healthier) you

Posted Jan 04 2012 10:57am

Does this sound familiar? Extended period of year-end holiday indulgences (and overindulgences) > New Year’s resolution to workout every single day and to eat more vegetables in a week than the entire year prior > Join a gym, go a few times, eat a few vegetables > It’s too hard or stressful, not fun > Give in to temptations and old habits > “I’ll start again on Monday”, “There’s always next year”

Everyone knows that the beginning of a new year means an influx of new gym-goers who have nothing but the best of intentions to get in shape, lose a few pounds, you name it. However, like clockwork, the crowds usually dissolve within a month.

Making a resolution to completely change your life habits overnight has failure written all over it. Why? Attempting to change everything at once adds an immense level of stress to your already busy life. Changing, breaking or making new habits requires work and conscious effort, which can be quite exhausting.

If your ultimate goal is to change your life for the healthier this year, kudos to you! Here are some tips to get you started on the right track:

  • Break your overall goal into smaller, more manageable goals using the SMART method – if your goal is to run a half marathon, try training for a 5k first
  • Make small, easy changes daily – take the stairs instead of the elevator, choose water over the usual soda at lunch
  • Take a class you’re interested in once or twice a week such as yoga, spinning, dance, boxing, etc.
  • Try new recipes – once a week, experiment with a new healthy meal, try something new to you like quinoa
  • Get outdoors! Yes, it’s winter in Northeast Ohio but that doesn’t mean you can’t get out and enjoy the beautiful snowy season! Try a snowboarding lesson at BMBW or cross-country skiing at the North Chagrin Reservation . Engaging in physical activity with family and friends is far less likely to feel like work and more like fun!

Small changes in your health behaviors and staying consistent with these changes will eventually become habits. Habits become part of us and shape each of our lifestyles. So, start small and realistic, keeping in mind your ultimate goal. The small changes you make towards leading a healthier lifestyle will be far less stressful than trying to change everything at once and they will likely snowball until you reach your overall goal in which being healthy is just a part of who you are!

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