Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions by Making Lifelong Resolutions

New Year’s Statistics

Weight loss and healthy eating are popular New Year’s Resolutions. After the holiday season, the average American gains 1-2 poundswithin a month and this can be a shocking finding one morning on the bathroom scale. So we all hit the gym and the grocery store to put our best foot forward. 45% of Americans make a resolution, but only 8% of these individuals have continued their goal by the end of the year. For most of us, this probably is not surprising because we are the 92%ers that make a goal that loses our attention or becomes less of a priority. Making a goal you can stick with is the very first step to a successful New Year’s Resolution.

How to Make a Resolution
If you have decided on making a resolution then the first step is picking your goal.Maybe you have decided you want to lose weight, eat more fruits and vegetables, exercise more, or all of the above. Why did you choose this goal? Write down a list of reasons why you want to attain this goal. Think short term and long term. Long term benefits will help provide motivation for lifelong changes. Lifelong changes are the most important for your health. Yo-yo dieting and fad diets may provide short term benefits, but they can also be very harmful to our bodies. Keep this list somewhere safe and go to it when you are feeling unmotivated.  Now, make your goal SMART. No, I am not being a wise guy, it is an acronym.

Instead of “I want to work out more”, say “I want to run on the treadmill 3 days a week, then after a month, I am going to re-evaluate my goal”.

Instead of “I want to eat healthier”, say “I want to eat 5 servings of fruits or vegetables at least 3 days a week, then after a month, I am going to re-evaluate my goal”.

S: Specific
Be as specific as you can be. This will help you focus your goal on what is most important to you.
  • Include the plan (ex: exercise type, length of time, etc).
  • Ask yourself questions (ex: How could your diet be healthier? What does a healthy diet look like to you?).
M: Measurable
You have to be able to easily tell if you completed a goal. Goals can be measured by adding numbers, time spent, days per week, etc (ex: 30 minutes, 3 days a week, 5 servings, 3 days a week).
A: Achievable
Starting your goal off too aggressively will increase your risk of burning out. Ask yourself if this goal is realistic? You can always re-evaluate your goal and intensify it.         
R: Relevant
Is this relevant to the motivators (the reasons why you want to attain this goal)that you wrote down? Is this goal going to help you reach those reasons?

T: Time-based
  • Plan for the month (ex: then after a month, I am going to re-evaluate my goal).
  • Set a new goal every month (ex: yoga 1 day a week, making half grains whole grains)

Healthy Eating Tips
  1. Eat more fruits and vegetables! They are delicious and nutritious!
  2. Eat a nutritious breakfast. Jump start your day and your metabolism.
  3. Make snacks count. Use two or more food groups in a snack, like fruit and yogurt.
  4. Watch your portion sizes. Keep measuring cups and spoons on the counter when making your plate. Visit for more information on serving sizes.
  5. Limit drinking your calories. Water should be the number one beverage choice!
  6. Choose carbohydrates wisely: Make half your grains whole. Whole grains include more vitamins, minerals, protein, and fiber.

Physical Activity Recommendations:
30 minutes of aerobic activity at least 5 days a week
  • Aerobic activities include: cardio machines, spinning, running, swimming, walking, hiking, aerobics classes, dancing, cross country skiing, kickboxing, etc.
2 days a week of strength building activities
  • Strength building activities include: weight lifting, resistance exercises, body weight exercises, etc.
Incorporate more flexibility activities
  • Flexibility exercises include: yoga, stretching, etc.
Remember to start slow and at your own pace. Something is always better than nothing.

Happy New Year from the HERC!


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