Let's actually keep our New Year's resolution this time
How many times have you made the resolution that the new year will mean a new, healthier you? Only to succumb to juicy, fried fish and chips on a hot summers day at the beach? Or for those of us in cooler climates, several steaming hot mugs of cocoa, topped with whipped cream and marshmallows.
Let's make 2015 a different year. Let's make it the year that we stick to our New Year's resolutions. Let's actually get healthy in 2015!
Set a tangible health goal
"When you aim at nothing, you're sure to hit it."
So you've said "I want to be healthier in 2015", but what do you actually mean by that? The first step to actually make 2015 a healthier year is to work out what it would look like for you to be healthier.
What does good health look like to you? What would getting healthier mean for your body and your life? Do you want to exercise more? Do you want to eat more vegetables? Do you want to shed some weight?
At the beginning of 2014, I too made the pledge to have a healthy year. My goal for the year was to eat healthy meals on weekdays. I cooked meals at home for most weekdays and I took a packed lunch to work with me. In fact, I only bought lunch once in the entire year.
Eating meals that I cooked myself meant that I saved a ton of money, I knew exactly what I was eating and so knew I was being healthy. Doing this during the week meant that I could relax on the weekends, and it meant that I didn't need to worry about holidays.
Specific – target a specific area for improvement.
Measurable – quantify or at least suggest an indicator of progress. Assignable – specify who will do it. Realistic – state what results can realistically be achieved, given available resources.
Time-related – specify when the result(s) can be achieved.
Make those goals SMART:
Turn "I want to eat healthier" into "I will eat five serves of vegetables and two serves of fruit every day"
Turn "I want to get fitter" into "I will exercise twice a week, or a total of 104 times this year"
Turn "I want to lose some weight" into "I will lose five kilos in the first six months of the year by tracking what I eat"
Once your goal is set, work out what you need to do to start. Take time to write a list of steps, things you will need to do and things you will need to change.
Find a way to stick it out
It's all very well and good to write down your tangible goal and get ready to start, but what about when the going gets tough? How will you push through the hard days and really stick it out?
Nothing keeps you accountable like sharing what you're going to do with another person. Ask a friend to keep you in check and make sure you stick to your goals. Most friends would be happy to help you become healthier. Ask them to eyeball you frequently, and whenever you're feeling like quitting give them a call.
Even better than having a friend keep you in line, have a friend join you on the journey. Two is always better than one, and having a friend along will make it twice as fun. Find a healthy eating buddy, or a training partner, or someone you can cook healthy meals with. If they live nearby then they can physically join you as you exercise. But distance shouldn't stop us. You can partner up with someone on the other side of the world. Email or Facebook them when you've finished a workout, or swap pictures of the yummy dishes you have both made.
If you're still not sure whether you will stick it out, consider signing up for a paid program. Put your money where your mouth is and commit. There are several options out there for every budget. Sign up for local exercise classes, or join a gym. Book some session with a personal trainer. If you're looking for something a bit more, consider joining a program like Weight Watchers or Michelle Bridges 12 Week Body Transformation. They are both fabulous programs that seek to educate people how to make healthy changes and live a healthy lifestyle.
You may have made the same resolution every year, and pledged to be healthier. But, 2015 can be your hear for health and fitness, if you know what you want that to look like!