How to get back on track
Friday, 25 January 2019
The festive season is behind us once again and lots of us have made promises to ourselves for a better year ahead. But no matter how committed you are to a healthy lifestyle, there are always plenty of challenges along the way. So it should comes as no surprise that, for many of us, our New Year’s resolutions have not survived much past the end of January.
It is hard to stick to a resolution, particularly if it challenges your daily routine or if it is a big change. But a good way to achieve a goal is to break it down in smaller sections, so you only need to focus on one step at a time and not worry about the whole (possibly lengthy) journey.
Whether you are planning to increase your physical activity, eat a healthier diet, drink less alcohol, give up smoking, or just to increase your health overall, the following tips might help get you there.
- Plan ahead – lay out your workout gear and pack your gym bag before you go to bed. Get up a little earlier, so you can get off the bus or train a stop or two before and get some ‘incidental exercise’ in. Plan your meals and have them prepped and waiting for you, if possible.
- Be aware – track your fitness and dietary habits by writing them down. Apps like MyFitnessPal or the Apple Health app can be useful. If you are looking for a more diabetes specific app you could try Glucose Buddy, Glooko, or MySugr.
- Reduce clutter – if you clear out things that might distract you, you are more likely to succeed. Throw out that piece of leftover pizza or Christmas cake, get rid of those cigarettes, poor that half bottle of vodka down the drain… in doing so you will also get rid of the temptation.
- Eat earlier – by having your biggest meals earlier in the day you will be less likely to pig out at night. You will also be burning off those calories before hitting the sack. If you feel hungry you can trick your stomach in thinking it is full by drinking a large glass of water or by having some veggie sticks (this is also a good way of increasing your intake of vegetables, vitamins and nutrients).
- Share the love – find a workout buddy, even if it is just your dog! By setting a time with a friend or a personal trainer you will be held accountable. And nothing will get you out of bed more quickly than someone ringing your doorbell.
- Reward yourself – there is no better way to stay on track than the knowledge of a reward at the end of it. Avoid food rewards as they are likely to undo a lot of the hard work, but focus on pleasurable reward like a new pair of runners, a massage, or a copy of your favourite trashy magazine.
- Set SMART Goals –SMART goals are Specific, Significant or Stretching, Measurable, Meaningful or Motivational, Achievable, Attainable or Action-oriented, Realistic, Relevant or Rewarding and Time-based, Trackable or Time-bound. Anytime you attend one of our workshops you will receive a SMART workbook that will enable you to track your goals
Getting back on track can be harder than starting a brand new routine, because when you begin ‘again’ you will remember how you used to feel and that can lead to ‘stinkin’ thinkin’. It might help to remember that you are not the same person you were before, that you have learned from the previous experience (even if it is how NOT to do it).
This leads me to the final tip:
- If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again (and again, and again…) Just like learning to read or write, taking small steps is a key component of mastering new skills. It does make sense though to try it a different way if it does not work out for you after a few attempts.
The most important thing is to set realistic goals. New Year’s resolutions don’t have to be directly related to your health or career. The most successful resolutions are:
- To learn something new – it will sharpen your mind and enrich your life
- Impact something larger than yourself – think about your impact on other people
- Actually commit to a work-life balance – develop strict boundaries between work and play; consider designating time right after work to unwind (exercise could be an important component to this).
No matter how many reminders you set on your phone or how many post-its you stick on your fridge, New Year’s resolutions are unlikely to last the whole year. However, this does not mean that you should give up on making resolutions altogether. Try focusing on one of the areas above, and you may see that this year’s resolution is more manageable than in the past.