Two of the most common New Year’s resolutions are to eat better and exercise more, but sticking to resolutions is incredibly difficult. Don’t think you’re alone in the battle. Research by fitness tracking app Strava analyzed over 800 million user-logged activities in 2019 to find out the day people are most likely to give up on resolutions for the new year. This day, dubbed “Quitter’s Day,” falls on January 19th, 2020. But just because many people give up on resolutions, doesn’t mean you have to be one of them.
Eating right and exercising are extremely crucial for your vascular health. Regular exercise and healthy eating can lower your blood pressure, help you manage stress, reduce the risk of diabetes, and more. And if your resolution is to quit smoking or vaping, don’t miss our blog on how e-cigarettes affect your vascular health.
The cold weather and dreary January days can make staying on track difficult. So for anyone feeling the mid-January slump that wants to keep going with healthy resolutions, here are tips to help.
Make your goals measurable
Instead of “lose weight” or “eat right,” try to tie numeric values to each goal; this makes them easier to achieve and can keep you on track. For example, losing one pound per week is something you can measure, and it will make you feel great seeing those pounds add up! For eating healthy, try a goal such as cooking healthy dinners five or six nights per week, which will help limit eating out (where it’s harder to order healthy items). For smokers, start by speaking with your doctor and creating a measurable plan to cut down on tobacco use. Your physician will be able to help you find solutions to cut cravings.
Try not to create too far-reaching goals, because you may get frustrated. Of course, losing 10 pounds in a month would be wonderful, but when you’re just getting started, it’s important to stay realistic. Always speak with your doctor about any health-related goals as well.
Establish a rewards system
Goals are easier to achieve if we reward ourselves with someone as we go on. Rewards can be on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. For example, if you hit the gym five days this week, treat yourself to a movie or a dessert on the weekend. Try not to go too crazy on rewards – since you don’t want to undo your hard work, but treat yourself when you hit your goals.
Work with a friend
Being held accountable makes maintaining resolutions easier because you have the support and someone to build you up when you feel like you want to quit. Try to find a buddy with a similar resolution or let some friends and family members know you want to check in with them on how you’re doing. They can help you stay motivated and keep going during the down times.
Know it’s OK to slip up
Everyone who makes a new year’s resolution slips up at some point. What’s important is that you don’t let this derail you and you keep going with your year’s plan. It’s almost impossible to stick with a resolution through the whole year without breaking at some point. From busy lives to a hectic work schedule, something will get in the way, so remember that’s OK!
For all health-related resolutions, make sure to speak with your physician. They may offer additional resources or tips to help you get going and stay on track in 2020.