New Year’s Resolutions are extremely charged; either you’re someone who loves them and has them front and center in your mind, or you’re “not a New Year’s resolution” person. If you haven’t set a resolution, this post is for you.
The New Year is an exciting time for most people because they get a chance to reflect and determine where they want to be during the next year. Health-related resolutions are very common; this is important to note as there is increasing evidence of declining health in the US, seen in the decrease of the average American life expectancy in 2021 (CDC).
Unfortunately, many people begin the new year enthusiastically pursuing their goals, yet by February, the one-year gym contract is basically useless because they are not sticking to their plan. I hope to give you a few ideas that will help you maintain the vigor and enthusiasm needed to make lifestyle changes.
Here are my 7 ways to make healthy changes that will still be part of your life in 2024!
First, we have to organize our ideas and find a strong motivator…
1. Brainstorm and dream about where you want your health to be and write it down in a journal. Rate on a scale of 1-10 how healthy you feel right now in the beginning of 2023 and where you want to be by 2024.
2. Write reasons why you want to make this change. Some examples include: my mental health improves when my physical health improves, I want to be around long enough to see my great-grandchildren, or I want the increased energy and vitality associated with great health.
3. Write what would happen if you didn’t make these changes. Perhaps your health would decrease, or you wouldn’t get that raise at work because you wouldn’t have the energy to give it your all, or maybe your social life suffers because you aren’t feeling your best and need more down time.
Then we need to choose how we are going to do it…
4. One of the most important things about making changes is making them fun and doable. I don’t suggest that you set your sights on running the SF Marathon if you hate running or if running hurts your body. Make sure that what you choose is fun TO YOU. For many of my patients, it’s a movement-related sport like yoga, surfing, or skiing. For others, it’s gardening or going on walks. Just make sure that it’s something that you enjoy and can perform regularly. I would also encourage you to pick a few other activities that are fun to you so you can cross train. See if you can find a partner or friend who also wants to make positive health changes in ’23 because there will be days when you start feeling down and it’s always good to have someone else pushing some then.
5. Start gradually. If your goal is to surf three days a week and go to the gym two times and currently you’re only surfing three times a month, start with one or two days of surfing and one day at the gym a week – especially if your body isn’t used to it. This will instill confidence, begin building your body up to your goal, and reduce the amount of aches and pains that may occur depending on your level of conditioning. Be sure to tell me about any soreness or strains that are bothering you because they will start to show up if you’re pushing yourself more.
6. Make a schedule of your workout plan and hang it somewhere visible. I would encourage you to check off the days that you meet your goal; this serves as a small pat on the back. Make sure that you include rest days in your schedule and build in gradual increases so that you can continue to reach your optimal goal. Rest days can also serve as fill-in days. We all know that life can consume you, and some days you may just feel like relaxing with a book instead of running three miles. Just make up your missed day on your next rest day. It is equally important to set up your support team, which can mean your chiropractic appointments here at ProActive, acupuncture, and/or massage.
7. Reward yourself by setting up intermittent reviews and rewards. Go through and set what will happen if you reach your goal the first week, month, 3 months, etc. Perhaps you’ll buy yourself a new pair of running shoes or even a flight down south to get some sun and relax and do some hiking. This is an important part of goal setting and achieving those goals.