The start of a new year can feel like a fresh page. A new beginning and a great time to resolve to focus on our health again after an indulgent December. Many of us choose new fitness goals, better eating habits or stress management resolutions to make our new year the healthiest yet. However, once the motivation falls to the wayside, it is all too easy to slip back into old habits before we know it.
So how do we stay motivated for longer than a few weeks? We’ve taken the most popular health resolutions to support you along the way.
The New Year Diet
According to Behaviour Specialist Dr Heather Mckee, 80% of diets fail in the first year, and even more in the second. There is zero long-term evidence on the effectiveness of dieting. What the research actually demonstrates is that dieting leads to overall weight gain.
This doesn’t mean you need to throw in the towel and eat your Christmas specials all year long, but it does mean that ‘diets’ aren’t the answer. The alternative isn’t a quick fix but instead, it comes in the form of building wholesome habits into a long-term healthy lifestyle.
A study by the American Psychological Association revealed that developing good habits is more important to meeting health goals than mere ‘self-control’. In terms of nutrition, these habits should focus around including more vegetables and plant-based items, drinking more water, starting with a nourishing breakfast and eating with a focus on nutrients not numbers on a calorie counter.
The 7 days a week fitness goal
Increasing the amount of exercise in your day has proven effects on your health. Whilst the gym classes are fully booked throughout January, all too often by February only the dedicated members are managing to maintain their weekly class. But what sets the ‘maintainers’ apart from the ‘start again on Monday’ folk?
Any Personal Trainer will tell you they’d prefer you work-out once a week for 7 weeks, rather than go 7 days in a row and never return. Just with nutrition, making your exercise goals a habit is the key here. When it becomes part of what you do and a part of your weekly routine, that’s when you see lifelong results.
It can also benefit to exercise with a group or a partner. Doing this makes you accountable and according to social fitness network Strava, joining a club leads to people being three times more active than those who are not.
The ‘de-stress’ resolution
With stress topping the chart as a key contributor to poor health and disease, many of us are looking for stress management solutions to our busy lives. But when time is precious and you have a never-ending to do list, self-care often is the first thing to go. How then, can you incorporate stress management into an already busy day?
We can’t prevent stressful events, but we can add moments of calm into our lives in small doses. A calming Epsom Salt bath or 10-minute daily meditation practice is a great way to reduce the anxiety you may be experiencing and help you focus and improve overall quality of life. To help you maintain this goal using technology could be the key. The Mindfulness App provides users with timed guided or silent meditations from 3 to 30 minutes that will suit your busy lifestyle. Reap the benefits of a calmer mind in the same time it takes to brush your teeth.
Whatever your goal may be this year, look at setting one new small habit a week. By building up these small goals slowly, in time the healthier habit will become the automatic choice and will lead to your long-term healthy lifestyle.