Strategies for Sticking to Your Health and Fitness Goals All Year Long

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Despite sincerely wanting to eat healthier, be more active, and stick to more healthful habits, many people fail to reach the goals they set for themselves at the start of each year. An estimated 92% of people (literally millions of people each year) end up falling off of their New Year’s Resolution bandwagon.

Chances are, if you’re reading this article, you probably do still want to get back on track for hitting your goals – even though you might sometimes struggle to find the time or the motivation. If you’re looking to take back your New Year’s Resolution, read on for some tips and techniques for healthier living any time of the year.

Why choose a healthier lifestyle?
Before diving into the ways to build healthier habits, it’s helpful to understand the reasons why you should make healthy choices. Healthy habits bring various mental, physical, and emotional benefits – including stress relief; reduced anxiety and depression; and reduced risk of physical health conditions.

Healthy habits don’t have to be something you do alone. Make your new lifestyle an enjoyable way to spend time with others. For example, your family can bond by preparing meals together each Sunday night. You can spend date nights with your spouse by taking a romantic walk at the park before sunset. You can spend time with your best friends by hitting the gym, rather than the bar, after work. These are just a few ideas for ways a healthier lifestyle can actually improve your social life, as well as your mental, physical and emotional well-being.

Dietary changes
When it comes to health, fitness and weight loss, one of the easiest places to start is in the kitchen. Consider adding more nutrient-dense foods to your diet. Make sure you’re getting the proper number of calories for your ideal body weight. Another important consideration is sugar. The sugar epidemic has become such a global issue that the World Health Organization (WHO) recently recommended adults limit themselves to just 6 teaspoons per day.

You should also consider reducing your alcohol intake, or avoiding drugs and alcohol altogether. This promotes addiction recovery and reduces your chances of relapse. It also sets a positive example for your children, helping influence them to hopefully create healthy habits on their own.

Sticking to it…
Forget the New Year’s Resolution; it’s possible to start making healthier lifestyle adjustments any day of the year. Of course, goals only work if you commit to them. Here are some strategies for sticking to your health and fitness goals:

First, don’t feel like you have to make these changes alone. As we mentioned above, this can be a great way to bond with your loved ones. However, if you’re unable to get your spouse and/or family on board, you may need to get creative. In this situation, consider recruiting a friend or coworker to be your workout buddy. Join a fitness-related meetup group (or use a social app) to find an accountability partner with similar interests. If you can afford it, hire a personal trainer at a local gym.

If you’ve taken all of the steps listed above and are still struggling to keep your resolution, don’t give up! It might simply be time to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. Consider possibly re-evaluating your original plan if it turned out to be ineffective. If you’re still having trouble committing to your goals, consider whether your goals are SMART goals.

When it comes to setting goals or making big lifestyle adjustments, remember to be patient with yourself. Progress is not always linear. Allow yourself the time to learn and grow, and forgive yourself if you make mistakes. Remember, it’s about the journey; not the destination.

Thanks to my guest blogger this month, Paige Johnson for this article.

Photo courtesy of Unsplash by Christopher Campbell

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