Stick with your New Year’s resolution to get healthy

Is “improve my health” at the top of your New Year’s resolution list? Use the following tips and strategies to maximize your success.

Make realistic goals

Effective goal-setting is all about balance—in choosing a goal, you want to find a sweet spot between a goal that is challenging but not overly daunting, but not too easy either. Try to choose a goal that allows for some flexibility, as a goal that requires “perfection” is likely only to leave you feeling discouraged when circumstances make it difficult to stay on track or when your will power is fading. For example, if you have a sweet tooth, try reducing the number of sweets in your diet rather than vowing never to eat sweets again.

Remember that it’s a marathon, not a sprint

We have all heard the saying “slow and steady wins the race,” and in this case it just may be true. Especially if your goal centers on beginning a new exercise program, start gradually and build your endurance slowly. You may feel like it is too easy at first, but if you push yourself too hard in the beginning, soreness and fatigue can burn you out quickly. Start progressively and your body will thank you as it adjusts to exercise outside of its normal parameters. If you are new to exercise, consider simple ways to be active to start building endurance.

Find a workout buddy

Whether your goal is to join a gym, to start running, or to run a 5k, find a friend, co-worker, or family member to join. Having a fitness buddy can help hold you accountable, keep you motivated, and celebrate with you as your reach new milestones. He or she can also help to make your experience fun! When you exercise with another person, you may find yourself focusing on the joy of the shared experience rather than the number of minutes you have left in your workout.

Prioritize your health and wellness goals

As life becomes increasingly busy, it can be easy to lose sight of your progress and maybe even give up on the goals altogether. To help combat this, write your goals down and keep them readily visible. You can attach them to your refrigerator or desk. Keep your friends and family up to date on your progress—knowing they can check in on you can help you stay focused. You may even want to set up regular times—once every two weeks, for example—to assess your progress, or you can carve out a special time each week that is dedicated solely to your goals.

Check out your work’s wellness programs

Companies are continually focusing on new ways to support employees’ health and wellness goals. Ask your human resources department if there are any programs that can help you achieve your health goals. Common programs include group workout classes, access to fitness facilities, or partial reimbursement for gym memberships; yoga or meditation classes; or access to dieticians.

Embrace technology

Apps and wearable technology can help you stay on track with health and fitness goals. These tools can track health-related data such as calories burned, heart rate, and distance traveled to provide you with accurate information so you can continuously monitor your progress. Technology can also make your workout more enjoyable—music can help keep your energy levels high throughout your workout, and listening to a podcast or educational presentation can exercise your brain.

With these strategies in place, you’ll be well equipped to embark on your New Year’s resolution with success!

SLPC 26328 12/14 (exp. 12/16)

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