As much as it’s the time to be in the moment, it’s also a time when many people start thinking about the future.
“In the New Year…” gets thrown around quite a bit this month, as many decide to open up a new chapter in their lives, revisit something they once did, or adopt a lifestyle change in hopes of a better future.
New Years’ resolutions can be great, and if you’re hoping to improve your health with the hopes of adding more years and better quality to your life, then even better.
Just remember one thing: it’s not all going to happen in January. Or February. Or even March.
The process is ongoing when it comes to making a long-term, sustainable change.
So when you flip your calendar to reveal January 1, think of it as the first day of the rest of your life, not the first day of a challenge that you’re trying to complete as fast as possible. Making dietary adjustments, starting a workout regimen, or implementing any change in lifestyle will take time.
If your resolution is to eat better, do so incrementally. Make daily food swaps for healthier alternatives, but don’t overhaul your entire diet in one fell swoop. Trying to make too many changes at once is unsustainable and can lead to resentment.
The same thing goes for an exercise program or weight loss routine. Start slowly to acclimate yourself. If you’ve never exercised before, you don’t want to start running or hitting the gym every single day for an hour.
Instead, start small and build strength so you can eventually do more. Gradually increase frequency and intensity so that you’re in full swing next year and can set even loftier goals.
If the plan is to work out at a gym, start with two 30-minute sessions per week and some walking on the other days. As the weeks and months pass, increase your workload.
Small, incremental change is the best way to build a routine, adhere to resolutions, and, most importantly, sustain them well into the future.