Written by Jim McNerney Coaching Team
The holidays have come and gone, leaving in their wake many new memories of time spent with friends and family to cherish. Unfortunately, many of us are also left with an extra few pounds, thanks to the dual temptations of holiday foods and extra time to relax.
Now that the new year is here, the time is right to reverse the worst of the holiday effects. Too often, getting back on track is easier said than done, and for many, it can be tempting to just continue the holiday slide well into the new year. For that reason, here is a list of five achievable steps geared toward getting your health back on track this year.
- Change your outlook. Many people never make it past the weight-loss goal-setting phase because of guilt over gaining the weight in the first place. However, guilt isn’t a helpful emotion, and it often hampers our efforts to make the changes that prompted it in the first place. Keep in mind that the .5% average weight gain over the holidays only translates into a little over a pound for the average American. Focus your energy on actionable steps instead of feeling guilty.
- Develop a routine. One of the largest hindrances to personal health over the holidays is a lapse in routine. Instead of heading to the gym or taking a morning jog, maybe you’ve been lazing with friends and family or attending parties. If you had a good workout and eating regimen prior to the holidays, commit yourself to returning to it. If not, make a commitment to exercise on a regular basis.
- Start gently. So many New Year’s resolutions fall flat because people throw themselves into a regimen or diet they’re not yet equipped to maintain. Think of your fitness year as a marathon and remember that no marathon runner ever started training with a full 26.2-mile run. Instead, runners start with an achievable distance they can handle and build up to the full event.
- Set weekly goals. Too often, people trying to get back on track after a workout or healthy-eating drought set a general goal with no real end point. Goals like “lose weight by the end of the year” are difficult to track, and therefore it’s easy to lose motivation along the way. Instead, set smaller, weekly goals you can achieve to boost your confidence and keep you on track. Goals like “increase my run by ten minutes” or “cut my soda consumption to three cans per week” provide you with an actionable objective you can easily monitor.
- Partner up. Health and fitness goals are much easier to stick to if you surround yourself with others working toward the same endpoint. Better yet, it’s much easier to incorporate healthy foods if everyone in your household is on board. Enlist your partner or other family members to join you in your goals and hold each other accountable. If you live alone, find a friend, coworker, or gym buddy to help keep you on track.
No matter which fitness or healthful eating regimen you choose for the upcoming year, remember to be kind to yourself first. Returning to an ideal diet and exercise isn’t a punishment for pounds gained; it’s an opportunity to be healthy this year. Build on your successes and use their momentum to develop a routine that helps you get back on track.