According to published research by Statistic Brain, 46 percent of us vowed to improve our health this year, and resolutions for 2018 will likely pan out the same. Another study reports that 80 percent of us will fall off that healthy bandwagon by February. Don’t be too hard on yourself. With commitments to your education and other interests, sticking to healthy habits is challenging. The goal of healthy changes is to focus on progress, not perfection. Here are a few tips to help you make healthy habits stick.
It’s the new year, and we’re all excited about getting in shape, but many of us bite off more than we can chew and end up getting frustrated. Healthy choices are not an all-or-nothing deal. Don’t blow off your workout because you have an exam. Try walking to class. 10 minutes of brisk walking will improve brain function while burning calories. Ignore commercials that promise you’ll lose 20 pounds in a month. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a reasonable monthly weight loss goal is 4-8 pounds, but in one’s later years that could drop to 2-3 pounds per month. Just a few pounds a month will go a long way to improving heart health.
Use a Fitness Tracker
Better than tracking how long you spent at the gym, lay down some more valuable hardcore numbers like how many calories you burned and the maximum heart rate you achieved. Innovative technology like the Fitbit Ionic and Jawbone’s UP2 easily track your workouts, sleep, and more. Plus, these devices can enhance your favorite outfits. Good old standbys like MyFitnessPal.com has an excellent database of foods that make tracking calories easy and fun.
Find Joy in Everyday Changes
Making positive changes in your health shouldn’t feel like a huge burden. Figure out small changes that fit your personality and are exciting for you. Would you rather go for a hike than run a mile on a treadmill? Does a four-minute Tabata fit your schedule better than an hour of powerlifting? Are you a yoga guru? Go ahead and indulge yourself in whatever makes you feel empowered. If a bowl of ice cream after a stressful day of Monday classes makes you happy, then take that time for yourself. As long as you focus on the 80:20 nutrition plan of eight parts healthy and two parts indulgence, you will see positive changes over time.
Being part of an online community or hiring a personal trainer are all great choices if you actually commit to them. What’s more important is being accountable to yourself. Guilt doesn’t always motivate us. It often backfires and causes us to give up or lose sight of our ultimate goal of healthier habits. Only you can take charge of your health and reduce the risk of diseases like cancer, and obesity.
Many other serious illnesses like heart disease and diabetes are also linked to poor lifestyle choices. Committing to a healthy routine now will pave the way to good health in the future. Once you find joy in healthy choices, your new and improved lifestyle habits will stick. You may want to share these healthy traditions with your own family someday.