“New Year, New You” is a phrase that’s often used when discussing New Year’s Resolutions. Making a fresh start and giving yourself another chance to improve yourself seems wise when a new calendar springs into action. But as with many things in life, keeping a resolution can be difficult, particularly when so many other things in life demand our attention. With that in mind, here are some suggestions for how you can make resolutions that don’t stress you out and keep a focus on body positivity.
It Starts With A Mindset
Exercising may be an important part of getting fit, but it definitely isn’t the only part. In the same way, going on a special diet or keeping track of your weight isn’t the only way to track your progress. Also, physical fitness is not the only type of wellness that you can resolve to improve on.
For many, the wellness battle begins in the mind. In a world where many people struggle daily with depression, anxiety and other mental illnesses, one of the best ways to start becoming healthier is to practice good mental health habits. That can mean practicing self-care, seeking support from others, going to counseling and getting advice from your doctor. It also means starting by seeing and accepting yourself for who you are as a human being worthy of love and respect, no matter your physical appearance or your habits. And since everyone, no matter who they are, can benefit from self-improvement, this is a good launching point for making goals that help you become an even healthier version of yourself.
Make Achievable Goals
Statistically, more people go to the gym in January than any other month. They get excited about making a fitness goal at the beginning of the year but, unfortunately, many of them burn out by the end of the first month. The same is true for many other goals people set for themselves in the new year. That’s why we want to encourage you to set achievable goals that won’t end up causing you to want to quit or leaving you discouraged if you’re not hitting them like you thought you would.
Setting achievable goals looks different for everyone. They should challenge you, but not be impossible or so difficult that you hate them. When making an exercise goal, for instance, many people turn first to running. But running is not for everyone, and it can put a lot of stress on your body. Some people don’t even like running, but they do it anyway because it’s an easy exercise to start doing. If running is not enjoyable or is hard on you physically, this resolution may not last long.
If getting more exercise is your long-term goal, consider starting with a short-term goal of simply getting moving. Many other movement-based activities exist that can also help you work out, such as swimming, biking, jump-roping, yoga and many more. It can also help if the goal of exercise is not about looking physically better but about feeling better in your body, with more endurance, stamina and strength.
The two main ideas to remember about setting achievable goals are to do something you’ll actually enjoy (at least somewhat) and to start small. Maybe your schedule doesn’t work for going to the gym three times a week. But you probably could take a short walk a few times a week. Perhaps your schedule is so packed that you only have an hour or two to yourself each day. You can use that hour to go to a weekly fitness class, in which a coach will guide you through an exercise routine with other people.
Most people begin to feel better emotionally and physically even after a mere week of starting a movement activity. There’s also a certain joy in getting moving through doing something you enjoy, such as dancing, skating and jump-roping. Doing these activities with others also increases enjoyment and the likelihood that you’ll continue pursuing that activity. It also helps you see that having fun, taking care of yourself and surrounding yourself with body-positive influences is just as important as the “get fit” aspect of exercise,
Choose Goals That Are Friendly to Your Body
Hitting the gym for some hard weight-lifting or cardio exercise is not realistic for everyone. Neither is choosing to do a dramatic diet change. Additionally, for goals like these, it’s advisable to consult with your doctor first.
Start with goals that get you moving in the right direction, even if they’re small. For instance, you could start adding more greens to your plate and cutting down on (not cutting out) carbs. You could also begin measuring your wellness progress with heart rate measurement and blood pressure tests rather than a scale. If you’re tech savvy, there are also plenty of apps you can use to keep track of your progress. You could even just take a short time each day to have alone time, writing in a journal, reading, meditating, going for a short walk, practicing deep breathing or whatever else relaxes you. When it comes to starting to make healthy choices, it’s almost always best to start small and work up. Choosing such goals and building up over time are far more friendly to your health. They are much more body-positive than putting yourself through the grinder of rigid discipline that will only stress you out more.
Don’t Worry About First-Time Perfection
It’s important to remember, too, not to punish yourself when you make a mistake or miss a day. Shaming yourself or feeling guilty will actually encourage a thought process that leads to giving up. Give yourself permission to not be perfect on your first (or second, or third, etc.) try, and try to find someone who will do it with you and encourage you to keep going.
If you want to make a goal, especially a fitness goal, don’t wait until a specific date like New Year’s Day happens. Waiting for a specific time when you feel ready may help you keep track of your progress on a calendar, but in reality, there’s no better time to start a new goal than today!
We Can Help!
At Community Access Network, our priority is your health. If you have wellness goals that you want to reach, we’d love to help you get to them. We also would love to encourage you to make choices that are good for every aspect of your well-being, so you can feel comfortable in your own skin. Make an appointment or visit us today so that together, we can help you improve your life.