By Emily D Luebcke, MS, RD, Nutrition Care Manager in Fort Collins, CO
It’s that time of year again where everyone reflects and renews their interest to make a change – read more, complain less, or get in shape (just to name a few).
The hardest part of any new habit is getting started, and health and fitness goals are no different. It can be as simple and easy to maintain as you want or as complicating and defeating as our minds can convince us. The major key? Keep it simple and easy to maintain. Here’s how:
1. Mind over matter. Our minds can be our worst adversaries. Don’t let your mind play tricks on you, even if it means you have to say that to yourself any time your thoughts start to get the best of you as you work to achieve your health and fitness goals.
2. Diet. Start with a small change in your diet – eliminating a beverage, decreasing how many days a week you treat yourself to dessert, or adding two fruits and two vegetables into your daily meals.
3. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Aim for a simple goal, such as adding 8 ounces of water into your day. Here’s a challenge: Try replacing your usual lunch beverage or supper dinner beverage with water! You can also strive to drink a glass of water when you get up in the morning. Remember to set the glass next to your bed and alarm clock, so it is the first thing you see when you wake up.
4. Set reachable fitness goals. Setting goals too low can lead to feeling unsuccessful because results are not seen fast enough. On the other hand, setting goals too high can become overwhelming, making you feel defeated at the simple thought of them. With any fitness goal, always start slow. Pushing too hard or aiming too high while also balancing work, family, and alone time, can become overwhelming, pushing your fitness goals aside or disregarding them altogether.
5. Walk it out. Start with a walk and set a time frame. Choose a small weight-lifting regimen at first and set a time frame. If you run, start with a half-mile for 3 days a week and work up to a mile after two weeks.
6. Write it down. Write down each of your goals for hydration, diet, and fitness either in a planner, on a piece of paper you hang on the bathroom mirror, or as a reminder in your phone that pops up at the right time for you.
7. Keep it real. Set yourself up for success with small steps that are sensible and achievable or so that your mind won’t have the opportunity to defeat you.
Any time you lose focus, re-read this and re-set and recharge yourself.