It’s that time of year when we all make a health-related resolution. We’ve made them (and heard them) all before: “I’m going to lose 50 pounds…” I promise to workout everyday…” “I’m going cold turkey on all unhealthy foods…” “ I promise to get eight-hours of sleep per night…” We get excited about our health resolutions and may even pledge allegiance to them even to the point of placing our hands over our hearts! However, months, weeks or even days later we’ve abandoned our well-intended resolutions.
Instead of making your health a New Year’s resolution, make it a lifestyle. Do the following:
- Losing weight– don’t pledge to lose a large amount of weight. If the goal isn’t reached when you expect, you may give up. Instead, focus on losing one-pound a day. Over time, it adds up!
- Exercise– don’t promise to exercise everyday. Given your job, family and other responsibilities, it may not be sustainable. Instead, start by working out 3-days per week, with a rest day between. When you exercise, start with a 10-minute interval cardio exercise. It can be treadmill, stair climber, bike, elliptical or other. Follow that with circuit training; an upper body exercise followed by lower body exercise. Alternatively, you can do burpees. Then follow the circuit training ( or burpees) with a different 5-10 minute cardio exercise. This way, you’re exercising every part of your body on a single day. Then the following day you should rest to allow your body to recover.
What’s most important is that you uncompromisingly stick to your exercise schedule. If you exercise at a gym, head straight to the gym after work (even when you don’t “feel” like it). If you exercise at home, don’t head toward the couch or turn on the TV. Head directly for your workout area and get started immediately (even when you don’t “feel” like it).
- Eat– don’t pledge to go cold turkey on unhealthy foods. That rarely, if ever, lasts. Take baby steps. For example, instead of trying to go cold turkey on soda (that includes diet soda) and/or energy drinks, wean yourself off by replacing at least one can/bottle of soda/energy drink with two-eight-ounce glasses of water per day. Instead of eating white bread, consume whole wheat bread. Instead of consuming bread everyday, consume (whole wheat) bread only on the days you exercise so the body can use it as energy during exercise.
- Sleep– don’t promise to get 8-hours of sleep per night. That may not be reasonable given your work or family schedule. Instead, go to bed 15-minutes earlier each night for two weeks. Then add another 15-minutes each night for the next two weeks and so on.
Make health a lifestyle instead of a New Year’s resolution and you’ll never have to make another health-related New Year’s resolution again.