If you find New Year’s resolutions difficult to stick to, you aren’t alone. According to one study, 80% of people fall off the resolutions wagon by the second week of February. Luckily, this isn’t because it’s impossible to make big changes in your life or adjust the way you live. Rather, it’s because people tend to make the same mistakes each year with their resolutions.
These are some of the most common mistakes you can make when setting New Year’s resolutions:
- You go from 0 to 60 on Day 1. It’s tempting to dive right in on January 1st with your resolution. Why do you think the gym is so crowded during January? However, this is the easiest way to burn out. If you don’t normally workout, don’t force yourself to the gym every day of the week right off the bat. Pace yourself and start slow.
- You’re not specific. Too often, people make vague resolutions, such as “eat healthier” or “go to the gym more.” If you aren’t specific with your resolutions, it’s hard to know if you’re meeting them, which can cause you to lose motivation. Rather than “eat healthier,” you have a better chance of staying on track if you adjust that resolution to “eat three servings of vegetables per day.”
- You don’t monitor progress. A resolution should be measurable. Just as it’s difficult to meet the goal “eat healthier” since it’s not specific, it’s also a hard one to measure. Focus on making a measurable resolution that you can track during the year. Simply jotting down a few notes on your progress in a notebook can help you stay on track and see how you’ve progressed.
- Your resolutions aren’t achievable. If you’re not a runner and you have knee problems, you likely won’t be able to run a marathon in April. It’s important to push yourself, but you also need to understand and listen to your body. Make sure your resolutions are achievable. Start with a 5K before signing up for the Iron Man triathlon.
Still stumped on what to set for your health-related New Year’s resolutions? Here are five resolutions everyone can do in 2018.
- Make an Appointment with Your Doctor
The first step in becoming healthier is to know what you need to work on. Everyone’s body is different, and your doctor can help guide you in the right direction in deciding where and how you can improve your health.
Along with getting a physical, you may consider getting a DNA test that helps you understand what type of exercise and diet is most appropriate for your body. This can make it easier for you to establish a healthy routine that works for your body.
- Add a Side Salad to Every Dinner
Eating healthier isn’t a specific enough resolution, so it can be hard to stick to—especially when you’re eating out and the lure of a burger is much stronger than the quinoa bowl. One easier way to stick to a healthy diet is to eat a salad with every dinner, regardless of what you’re eating.
First of all, this helps ensure you get at least one serving of vegetables per day. It can also serve as the launchpad for other healthy eating initiatives, such as eating a piece of fruit with every lunch. Also, eating a salad with every dinner is easy to commit to. Keep your fridge stocked with supplies or, when eating out, order a side salad as an appetizer.
- Reach for Fruit When You Crave Sugar
According to new research, people who consume excess amounts of sugar are twice as likely to die from heart disease. Sugar can nearly be addicting for some. While eliminating it altogether can be difficult for many people, there are easier ways to cut back on your sugar intake.
Start by replacing soda and sweet desserts with fruit. Anytime you crave something sweet, reach for an apple or banana. While fruit has sugar, it’s a healthier, whole alternative. This can also serve as a good first step before cutting back on sugar intake altogether.
- Exercise Three Days Per Week
Exercise goes hand in hand with your diet. Both are essential for optimal health. For improved cardiovascular health, the American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise or 75 minutes per week of vigorous exercise.
For a specific and achievable goal, aim to exercise three days per week. If you don’t usually exercise, start small with three 15-minute workouts per week. Over time, work your way up to three 50-minute workouts per week.
Remember, you don’t have to wait until New Year’s to change your health habits! You can start at anytime. Start small and work your way up to your biggest goals.