Everyone uses the New Year to set resolutions. Many focus on weight loss or exercise and then quickly become bored. It’s sad, but true – living a healthy lifestyle takes time and effort and often involves a bit of trial and error as you learn what really works best for you.
Yup, that’s right. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution to living a healthy lifestyle. Yes, there are tons of guidelines you can follow, but everyone is different, with unique needs and tastes. The good news is that it’s not unrealistic to put together a healthy lifestyle plan – one that will ultimately result in improved strength, greater endurance, better overall health, and maybe even some weight loss if that is what you are looking for.
Set Realistic Goals
Actually, start with knowing what your goals are – long term and short term. Then break them down into manageable chunks. Need to lose 50 pounds? Start with losing the first 5. Want to run a mile without stopping? Start with that first quarter mile. Want to eat salads with every dinner? Start with 2-3 times per week. Remember, any good habit takes 21-30 days to make (or break, if you’re looking at bad ones). Be patient.
Set goals to simply move more. Our ancestors used to farm and do a lot of manual labor. We tend to sit on our butts or stand in one place. Get a pedometer or a Fitbug and track how much you move each day. Set goals to move a little bit more each week. You’ll be surprised at how that extra movement adds up.
Assess Your Vices
What bad habits do you need to break? Do you drink too much? Do you smoke? Do you eat fast food for breakfast every morning? Be honest with yourself – no one is watching. You don’t have to quit each of these things cold-turkey, either. You eat McDonalds for breakfast 5 days per week? Cut down to 4, then 3. Take your time as you look for healthier alternatives. Small changes are still changes.
Sleep. We all talk about it. No one gets enough of it. Don’t try to suddenly go to bed 3 hours earlier than normal. Adjust your bedtime by 15 minutes each day or week until you’re finally going to bed, and getting up, at a decent hour. Talk to your doctor if you aren’t sure how much sleep you really need – and listen to your body. If you’re tired, you’re tired.
Lifestyle changes are meant to last a lifetime. You don’t need to make 100 changes at the same. Pick one or two little things you want to change in your life, focus on them for a while, and then add another. You’ll be glad you made the effort.