It’s not easy, we know. That’s why we’ve put together a few tips to kickstart your health journey. If you have other resolutions, like quitting smoking, these tips can still be used to get you started on the right track.
Visualize Your Steps and Change Your Thinking
First thing’s first, take some of the pressure off. Thinking about what you can do to live a healthier lifestyle is a good start. While you’re going about your day - taking a shower or commuting to work, visualize yourself working out, doing a specific exercise, preparing a healthy meal and eating that meal. This will help you build and strengthen neural pathways, which are key to developing new habits. When you visualize something regularly, it becomes a thinking pattern, which will help you make decisions.
Motivation Is a Myth
We’ve all been guilty, at some point, of getting excited and starting a running routine or going to the gym, only to find ourselves full of excuses for why we can’t continue when we’re just a few weeks into the new habit. That’s often because we rely on motivation to fuel our actions. The truth is, motivation and willpower are quick-burning fuels. A good trick is to approach your fitness or sports goal the same way you would approach work or school. Just do it. Get up, get dressed and go! You don’t only show up to work when you feel like it, do you?
One Step at a Time, but Take a Step Every Time
You may have many resolutions that you want to work on, or your main resolution might include many steps. It’s important to tackle each challenge one at a time. Pick a goal, implement it, and then integrate a second goal, and so forth.
You might be excited to achieve your goal in just three months, but hold on! Trying to get there too fast might tire your brain and make you give up before you’ve reached your objective. Instead, spread your resolutions over the whole year, or longer. The secret is to be consistent. Get yourself a calendar and mark the days and times you plan to go for a run. Make a food list before heading to the grocery store, and pick a day to prepare meals. Choose a day and time to participate in an online fitness class. Forget the strict rules and don’t put pressure on yourself as you get started. If you feel like doing a few push-ups on your way to the living room, go for it! Just as with the visualization technique, your body also has a memory. Doing something regularly makes it become an integral part of your life, and then it’s easier to keep at it over time. Once you’ve integrated a healthy habit, make it more interesting by taking things up a notch - try more advanced training programs, increase your running distance or discover new recipes.
Follow Your Heart
There are many ways to reach a fitness goal, and it’s important to enjoy what you’re doing - even if it is challenging at times. If you hate running, don’t run. You can burn as many calories, if not more, with HIIT workouts. You can also exercise at home with inexpensive equipment such as resistance bands, a pull-up bar, a medicine ball and a yoga mat. Feel like pushing yourself a little harder? Level-up with different training techniques. Try incorporating negative repetitions when executing an exercise; control and slow down on the lowering phase of the lift to a 3-5 seconds tempo.
The Foods You Eat Will Affect How You Feel
You’ve most likely heard this before, and it's true! You might not have meal prep and major healthy eating goals, and that’s fine - to each their own!
But whatever your goals and resolutions are, eating well and with intention will influence your energy, recovery, sleep quality, mood, and ultimately…your results. Did you know that a diet high in refined sugars can impair brain functions? Eating the right foods helps create good bacteria in your gastrointestinal tract, limits inflammation, improves your nutrient absorption, and (surprise!) activates neural pathways from your gut to your brain.
Think about it, do it, do it again, enjoy it!