It’s OFFICIAL… it’s 2017. For millions of Americans, the New Year is also starting with New Year’s resolutions around health.
Whether your goal is to lose weight, build muscle, better manage your blood pressure or just eat healthier,Â it’s difficult for most people to sustain those good intentions throughout the year. In January, resolutions are in full effect, but over the course of as little as 3-4 months, most healthy New Year’s resolutions are long forgotten. Don’t fall into that trap. Here are five simple tips to help you keep chugging along just like the little engine that could.
- “Out with the old & in with the newâ€Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Say goodbye to the old you and meet the new person you want to be. Take pictures of where you are today and find a picture to visualize who you want to be. Place these reminders in places you frequent, preferably by a mirror so you can see progress and be reminded of your goals.
- “Use the power of wordsâ€Â
How you word your resolutions and saying it aloud sets the tone from being impossible into one that empowers you to believe “I’m possible.â€ And don’t be afraid to share your goals with others so they can help keep you be accountable and support you along the journey. Fellas, take it from the ladies who are always great with the girlfriend power.
- “Set the stageâ€
Just as you prepare to make a meal, you make sure you have all the ingredients, supplies and have preheated the oven–everything is in place. Same with your resolutions. Do you have everything in place? Do you have a t-shirt and jogging pants ready to go? Did you place your running shoes by the door? Did you block out time to exercise on your schedule? Do you have healthy snacks or food choices in the refrigerator? (Better yet, did you stop buying the cookies, chips, and soda?)
- “Reward yourself for milestonesâ€Â
Be realistic with layered goals. For example, instead of saying you’re going to lose 30 lbs. this year, try losing 5 lbs. every month for the first six months of the year and sustain that weight loss the latter half of the year. This layers your goal into manageable and achievable bite sizes. This positive reinforcement will also keep you motivated along the way. And if by chance you don’t reach your weight loss goal, you will have still celebrated the weight you did lose along the way. **Disclaimer** celebrate in moderation! No point in totally derailing your new healthy diet with binge eating your once favorite sweets.
- “Find a reason beyond the obviousâ€
Tell yourself why these healthy New Year’s resolutions are important to you. Make them meaningful. Although many just want to look better, knowing these changes will lead to a healthier you is even more meaningful. An example of this would be a father deciding to exercise more and eat healthier in 2017, not only because he wants to lose weight to look better but because he wants to be healthy and here to walk his daughter down the aisle when she gets married. Do some soul searching as to why these changes are important to you. Once you find that reason, you will be less likely to give up as easily on your resolutions.
Nurse Alice is a nationally board-certified and award-winning cardiac clinical nurse specialist with nearly two decades of experience in cardiovascular health. She is a community health activist and freelance media health expert. She has appeared on various national radio and TV shows including Dr. Oz, The Doctors, Dr. Drew, News One with Roland Martin, Tom Joyner Morning Show and more. She is also the author of “Curb Your Cravings: 31 Foods to Fool Your Appetite.â€