“I’m going to start working out and eating healthy once the New Year starts.”
It’s that time of year again, when many head to the gym in an attempt to keep a New Year’s resolution to exercise more. About 11% of gym memberships are purchased in January, more than any other month in the year, according to a recent survey, and a recent poll found that, of the nearly 30% of respondents who said they are making New Year’s resolutions, 50% said their top resolution was to exercise.
If that goal has been on your New Year’s resolution list for the past however many years and you’re still finding a way to stick to your health-oriented plans, we’re not judging you. We’ve all been there.
Here’s a few things to consider before starting out on your health regime:
Make exercise (or just movement) a habit
There’s a widely held belief that it takes 21 days (some say 28) to form a habit. It stems from a book plastic surgeon Maxwell Maltz wrote in 1960 in which he wrote that it takes a minimum of 21 days to make a change in one’s life.
To get going, integrate some movement into your day, however small – whether it’s 5 minutes of stretching or a 15-minute run/walk around the block before you get in the shower – and do it until it becomes second nature.
It’s important to be consistent, or you will come up with excuses and reasons not to exercise – but equally important to understand that if you miss a day, all is not lost.
Make goals, not resolutions
Trackable goals – meaning goals with specific deadlines and specific actions you can take – are better than more general resolutions. Resolving to ‘be healthier’ can leave you in a limbo, never knowing if you’ve actually achieved what you set out to do, or even what you really intend to do to achieve it. Resolving to work out three times a week, however, is an actionable, trackable goal.
Keep a food (and drink) diary
While it’s not a good idea to obsess over calories, when you’re starting out, it’s useful to keep track of what you’re consuming to understand where unexpected or excessive calories come from.