If your New Year’s resolution is to get healthier, you’re not alone. About half of the people who made a resolution going into 2021 are planning on exercising more, losing weight, and eating healthier. For people who are looking to focus on their health for their 2021 resolution, we want to offer some tips to help you stick to your goals and feel great all year long.
1. Prepare for Success
Before you enroll in that weight loss program or splurge on pricey exercise equipment, do some homework to determine where you’re currently at, what your goals could look like, and how you’re going to work towards them.
First, talk to your doctor about what you want to achieve. They’ll be able to recommend where to start based on where you are physically and mentally. They may also refer you to a dietician to help you develop healthy eating habits and a diet plan you can stick to.
Next, consider talking to a personal trainer to develop a workout routine. With your trainer, you can set realistic goals to work towards and break down smaller benchmarks for success along the way.
2. Create a Plan
Based on what you’ve discussed with your doctor, dietician, and trainer, you’ll be able to schedule your activities to integrate wellness into your life, rather than treating it as an afterthought. This will make it more likely that you’ll treat health and fitness as part of your lifestyle, and you’ll be more successful at staying on track.
Dedicate a time every week to meal plan, grocery shop, and prep your meals for the week. Set your schedule with your trainer and block time off for your activities. Whether it’s an hour-long yoga class or a fifteen-minute lunchtime walk, treat these appointments as non-negotiable. If you’re starting out with shorter exercise blocks, getting in the habit of blocking this time for yourself will help you in the future as they get longer.
3. Involve a Friend
It can be intimidating to tell a friend about your goals, especially when they’re around weight loss. But involving another person in your journey can be the best way to improve accountability and provide support when you need it most. Whether you have someone who wants to play tennis with you once a week or someone who you can just text for some encouragement when you’re feeling down, leaning on your social circle is one of the best ways to achieve success.
4. Don’t Overdo It
When you’re starting out, it’s common to feel motivated to go all-out. But just because you’re focused on your fitness goals doesn’t mean you should lose sight of the process. After all, you want to be building better habits that result in a healthier lifestyle—not to run a 5k once and never run again. Pushing too hard or making too many big changes at once are a surefire way to cause burnout and a return to your old ways. Plus, over-exercising before you’ve set the foundation can lead to serious injury. Remember to practice mindful self-care, and keep in touch with how you’re feeling to build up to where you want to be.
5. Be Realistic
The best way to reach your goals is by making them achievable. After all, if you reach your goal, you can always set new ones! But setting an unattainable initial goal can result in discouragement and lead you to give up too soon. Again, work with professionals to decide what goals can look like for you. Maybe it’s to run a 5k, lift a certain amount of weight, or bike a certain trail by the end of the year. Whatever your goals are, it’s important to avoid injury and prioritize how you feel—both mentally and physically.