Many of us likely made a New Year’s resolution, whether it was to exercise more, eat healthier or remember to write 2016 and not 2015 by this summer.
However, these decisions to improve our life for the better can fall to the wayside, and we often get back into the same routine that we had hoped to change, especially if we aren’t seeing the results we expected.
If you aren’t meeting the goals you set for yourself to improve your health, it may be time to try another approach. Marty Reed, a registered nurse at Ascension Via Christi Hospital in Manhattan, offers a few tips below to help you restart your resolution or give it new a boost of energy.
Evaluate how you exercise
If your resolution was to exercise more and you aren’t seeing results or just gave up, mix things up. If you were trying to eat healthier, you wouldn’t eat green beans every day. You would have variety in your diet, eating different fruits and vegetables. Try to view your workouts the same way, especially if you’ve been doing the same routine and you find it’s hard to stick with it. If you walk on a treadmill, add incline. Step off the elliptical and try an indoor rowing machine or a spin class. You may find that some variety will add some excitement to your exercise routine.
Reduce your portions
Maybe you are eating healthier that you did last year, but you haven’t seen much improvement. You may be eating too much. A recent patient in cardiac rehab learned he was often eating three times the recommended serving size and lost 10 pounds just by measuring out his food. You may feel a little hungry sometimes, but eating too much may be what is hampering your efforts to be healthier, even if you are eating better options. Eating a little bit less during meals may not seem like it will make that much of a difference, but remember, success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.
Be accountable and encouraging
It can be hard to undergo a lifestyle change on your own, so try aligning your self-improvement goals with a friend’s. This accountability could help you stick to your plan of becoming a better you. Also make sure to encourage those around you who are making healthy changes. All of us can benefit from a pat on the back or a word of encouragement, and the echoes of your kind words will ricochet back to you in ways that you can’t imagine.
Listen to yourself and think positive
If you are doing all of these things, but aren’t happy with your progress or have just given up, try taking time to listen to your inner voice. Your body may be trying to tell you how to improve yourself, you may just not be aware of it. We can often be our own biggest critics, so changing our mindsets to telling ourselves what we’re doing right and not what we’re doing wrong could give you the positive boost you need to accomplish your goals and improve throughout the year.
Reed knows that setting goals to improve ourselves and sticking with them can be difficult, especially if we’re trying to break habits that we’ve been doing long-term.
“If you do the same things you have always done, you will get the same results,” Reed emphasizes. “Lifestyle changes are never easy, it often has to do with our attitudes and what we believe about ourselves just as much as what we do physically.”
Just because you didn’t stick with your New Year’s resolution doesn’t mean you have to wait until 2017 to give it another go. You can set a resolution to improve yourself anytime, whether it’s the start of a new season, new month or a random Tuesday.