In our last blog, New Year’s Resolutions You Can Keep in 2018, we recommended resolutions that were attainable in baby steps, with continuous improvements each week, every two weeks, or every month.
For example, if you have not exercised in a long time, and you resolved to work out rigorously for one hour every day, that may be more than you can reasonably do initially. Instead, work your way into exercising ...
- Commit to a light 20-minute daily walk.
- After two weeks of good momentum, increase your speed and/or add 10 minutes to the walk!
By instituting small, achievable objectives to diet, exercise, and lifestyle you can build confidence and lead to remarkable long-term results (versus trying to go from 0 to 100 on January 1st and expecting immediate progress).
Even with a continuous improvement regimen, we recognize that the challenge to fulfill a big list of New Year’s resolutions can be daunting and even stressful for those of us who struggle on the journey to improved outcomes. It is easy to become discouraged after 1-2 weeks of failing to meet a long list of resolutions - but don’t give up hope!
Now is the time to do a review to re-set your goals and strategies for the year. To start a healthier 2018, make it even simpler: pick one thing and focus on it.
It can be a singular diet resolution, a single exercise routine or one lifestyle improvement. Make that "one thing" your hobby or your specialty!
- Reduce added sugars from your daily consumption.
- Add more fruits and vegetables to your daily routine!
- Introduce more good fats like nuts and avocados at snack time, or fish for protein.
- Cut out bad carbs like rice, pasta
andpotatoes that raise blood sugar levels and contribute to weight gain.
- Take a simple 20-minute walk every day.
- Sign-up for a beginner yoga class!
- Resolve to do a daily aerobic exercise at a health club or in the comfort of your home.
- Decrease the number of cigarettes (if you smoke).
- Lower levels of alcohol consumption (if you drink).
- Improve your bedtime and sleep routines.
If you have a hard time choosing, start with exercise, because it lowers blood pressure, raises the heart rate and it keeps your brain young!
Track Your Progress: Create a Calendar or Scorecard
Whatever habit you choose as your focus, be sure to try to improve
If you decide to exercise ...
slowwith a 20-minute light daily workout, like a walk or some at-home aerobics.
- Write down the number of calories you are losing after each workout, as well as how you feel physically and mentally (even if you do not feel so well in the beginning).
- Review your progress to determine how much you can raise the bar after one or two weeks, or a month. You could increase the workout time by 5-10 minutes, or increase the level of intensity in your workout (like increasing your speed if you are walking or doing some other aerobic activity).
What about a dietary resolution?
- It can be as simple as eating 2 servings of good fats, such as nuts, avocados, olives, or artichokes every day.
- After 1-2 weeks, take the next step by increasing your level of vegetable intake to 2 cups per day.
- When you have achieved one month of a healthy dietary routine of good fats and vegetables, raise the bar by decreasing your bad carb intake.
Best Practices to Maximize Success
Complement your singular focus by improving your knowledge on that "one thing." Read books and articles to maximize your efforts for success.
A lifestyle resolution may be for you to focus more on improving your health education. You will be amazed at the opportunities you discover for continuously improving your health through increased education.
- If you are a type 2 diabetic, start with Sarah Hallberg’s Ted talk, “Reversing Type 2 Diabetes Starts with Ignoring the Guidelines.” These 15-20 minute videos are a terrific kick-start to help you achieve the primary objectives of your "one thing."
- Take the next step and pick up the latest book on the subject. A terrific example is Dr. Mark Hyman’s new cookbook, Eat Fat, Get Thin.
The impact on your overall health from just one new focus can lead to trying other new healthy routines. For example, a new exercise habit curbs your appetite and makes it easier for you to fight those cravings for bad snacks. A healthier sleep pattern results in more energy to try new exercises or plan healthier meals.
The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step ... however, focusing on that one lifestyle change for better health can get you so much closer to the healthier outcomes you desire.