5 tips to help you reach your wellness goals in the New Year
There's something energizing about the New Year. It's a time to start fresh, erase past failures and begin again with a blank slate. It's also the perfect time to commit to fitness goals or shed bad habits once and for all. Unfortunately, most of us lose the enthusiasm needed to complete our goals before we cross the finish line -- more 80 percent of New Year's resolutions fail by February. But it doesn't have to be that way. These five simple tips can help you achieve your wellness goals for good.
1. Set realistic goals. No matter how big or small your goal, it's important to start slow. Want to run a 5K? Begin by running a couple days a week for 10 minutes at a time, then gradually increase the frequency. Trying to eat healthier? Make it a point to eat at least one serving of vegetables at every meal. Small steps pave the way to long-lasting habits. Having an "all or nothing" mindset will likely backfire, and you'll risk burning out and going back to your old ways. So, if you indulge in a donut or skip a workout, don't use that as an excuse to throw in the towel. Just pick up where you left off and do better next time. Remember, it's about progress, not perfection.
2. Mix it up. Don't get stuck in a rut. Switching things up not only prevents boredom but also can prevent plateaus in your fitness or weight loss goals. Every couple of weeks, try something new, whether that's changing your rep set, taking a new fitness class or cycling instead of running. You'll work new muscles and see faster results.
3. Write it down. Schedule workouts or other self-care activities ahead of time and track them in your calendar. When you complete a workout or self-care activity, cross it out. If you fail to complete the activity, circle it. When the month is over, use your calendar to reflect on your progress. Did you work out or meditate as much as you had planned? If the answer is no, ask yourself why. Maybe Mondays aren't the best days to run, or it's too tough to get to yoga during rush hour. Take notes and adjust your schedule as necessary. If you're trying to lose weight, consider keeping a food diary—you might be surprised by how much you're really eating.
4. Get enough sleep. Sleep is arguably the most important step in accomplishing your fitness and wellness goals. Without proper rest, your body can't function properly, and low energy levels can zap motivation. Plus, studies show that lack of sleep interferes with appetite-regulating hormones, which can lead to overeating and poor food choices. There's also evidence that sleep deprivation is linked to high levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, which is associated with belly fat. Aim to get at least seven to eight hours a night.
5. Use the buddy system. Find a friend who shares similar fitness or wellness goals and commit to holding each other accountable. Send each other daily texts of encouragement, set exercise dates and make plans to make healthy dinners together. You may even want to throw in a little healthy competition, such as tracking each other's steps or seeing who can go without dessert for the longest.
All these tips can help you stay motivated, but if you need a little extra boost, programs like the Reid Healthier Wellness Club can help you stay on track. At no cost, Reid Healthier Wellness Club members can track and earn rewards for healthy activities, meet new friends who share the same goals, enjoy free wellness presentations, cooking classes and much more. Become a member at www.reidhealthier.org.