How is your New Year going so far? Many of us made resolutions that required us to do everything, drop every bad habit, improve your health and fitness, overhaul your entire life!
Not so fast.
Studies find that the kitchen-sink approach to new year’s goals and resolutions is simply too drastic to be sustainable. Instead, start 2018 with a gesture of kindness to yourself by setting some intentions (rather than the win-lose vibe of goals) for realistic changes you can incorporate gradually into your life.
Small changes in diet and lifestyle add up. Less really can be more, especially if ‘more’ leads to getting discouraged and giving up. Here are a few ideas for moving in a healthier direction:
Have fun: Don’t punish yourself with an exercise plan you don’t enjoy. Hate the gym? Go somewhere else! Not in love with your current exercise activities? Try one new thing, whether it’s a class a friend recommends or something you’ve wondered about. Reputable fitness outlets offer new student specials for you to try it before you commit. At Balance Studio we strive to offer an array of classes from cardio to relaxed, basics to barre, Pilates to Rock N Roll yoga flows!
Don’t go it alone: Just starting a fitness regimen? It can seem daunting – and lonely, when it feels like everyone else has been doing it forever. Either find a friend or acquaintance in the same boat, so you can launch this thing together, or ask a more experienced friend to take you along for the ride and impart their wisdom and enthusiasm. Scheduling exercise with a partner increases the chance you’ll stick with it. During the month of February we have “Share the Love’ classes with team teaching and when you bring a new friend with you to class you both get a coupon to a Free beverage at Seabird here in Cohasset!
Shut it down: The health benefits of 7-8 hours of sleep per night are huge. You can do this. Turn off the TV and the phone. Drink a cup of tea. Close your eyes. If this is way out of the norm for you, start by setting two “early to bed” nights each week. Chances are you’ll feel so good on those mornings after, you’ll do it more often.
Bon appetit: One of the most important things you can do for your body and mind is to feed them well. Easier said than done, as we all know. Try any of these that feel manageable:
Eat protein at breakfast. (The cream cheese on a bagel doesn’t count.) For sustained energy until lunch, we’re talking stuff like eggs, Greek yogurt, nuts, protein powder in a smoothie, leftover meat or fish from last night’s dinner.
Coffee: Whether you brew your own or buy it on the go, order or make coffee half-caf. While you’re at it, wean yourself off milk and sugar in that cup. It can take over a week to adjust to the taste of un-doctored coffee, but it’s worth it. Did we mention the coup at Seabird for a Free beverage when you and a new friend come to a “Share the Love’ class?
Green is Good: Put something – anything – green on your plate or in your bowl every night. Ideally at lunch too. That can be as simple as a wedge of avocado or some green apple, or as gourmet as sautéed chard with herbs and root veggies.
Veggies: Declare some days or meals “vegetarian time.” What works better for you, a couple of dinners each week, or perhaps daily lunch? Use those meals to increase plant-based eating. The kids will survive – they need it too!
Home Cooked: If your family eats out often, aim to cut that down by even one meal per week. Save money and boost nutrition – virtually anything made at home is healthier than restaurant food.
As we welcome 2018 and look ahead with hope, there’s no point in going cold turkey on every indulgence and becoming an overnight Iron Man competitor. The tortoise and the hare will tell you – slow and steady wins the race.
Featured pieces originally printed in Life on the Rocks January 2018 issue.