We’ve all been there before. Every year you make an effort to live healthier. You might eat more greens, take more time on the treadmill, or try to get more sleep.
But for most who set out to make the effort, it can be challenging to make that dream a reality. Sooner or later, your busy schedule gets in the way, or the nagging urge to revert to old habits is too hard to resist.
Is your New Year’s resolution for 2020: “I want to be healthier”? Do you want to create a goal and stick with it—not letting your health goals fall to the sideline after the holiday season?
Here are six ways you can better improve your health—and stick with it—in 2020 and beyond.
1. Select a Goal
It’s hard to know where to start if you don’t know where you want to end up. Before you start implementing healthier lifestyle choices, you need to know what those choices will mean for you.
Do you want to exercise more? Do you want to eat healthier? Or are you just looking to create a more balanced sense of self?
The more specific these goals are, the more successful you will be. For example, if you want to lose weight, set a reasonable goal for yourself to complete weekly, monthly, and in the long term. You can also set goals in other ways—like running a mile under a certain time or lifting a certain weight.
Be sure to select goals that feel compelling to you, but are also attainable. You should want to accomplish these goals—they shouldn’t feel like a chore. At the end of the day, you need to make sure these goals are manageable for you to hit. If you want to lose 50 pounds in a week, it’s likely not going to happen. That disappointment could keep you from ever trying again.
2. Consistency is Key
For most who want to jumpstart their way into healthy living, the first few days or weeks go by smoothly. But after a certain period, people start dropping off. You might notice this especially around February or March in the gym—attendance starts to go down when gym-goers realize that their New Year’s resolutions might not be as attainable as they once believed.
To better boost your chances of sticking with it, you need to be consistent. When you make healthy living a habit, these lifestyle choices will become easier and easier.
Try making a clear commitment to yourself, verbally or on paper. Then, sit down with a trusted family member or friend to talk through this commitment with them. This will encourage you to stick with your goals—even when things get difficult. It won’t just be you holding yourself accountable, but also an outside party.
3. Don’t Focus Just on the Physical
When committing to a healthy lifestyle, many make the mistake of focusing primarily on physical goals. This could include losing a certain amount of weight or gaining a certain amount of weight.
But these physical milestones aren’t all you should be considering. It’s important to focus on mental—as well as the physical—to achieve a balanced state of health.
Be sure to incorporate this into your goals. This could include attempting to be more mindful in your day to day life, taking some time to meditate each day, or creating a journal to outline your progress and outline how you’re feeling about obstacles.
This mental and emotional focus will not only make things more fun for you, but it will also make things feel more approachable and manageable.
4. Be Mindful of Health Concerns
While some may fail to commit to a healthy lifestyle due to a lack of commitment, others may find it challenging due to health concerns. These health limitations might keep you from reaching your full potential.
For example, if you have arthritis, you may find certain kinds of physical movements impossible. In other cases, you might be missing key ingredients to boost your metabolism and convert food into energy for exercise. Harold Jones from Patch MD explains that those with Crohn’s disease have a harder time absorbing biotin in their bodies.
It’s important to be mindful of this when creating your plan. Focus on the exercises you’re able to do—and find the treatment you need to get yourself back to top shape.
5. Use a Rewards System
Setting goals is one thing, but you want to make sure there’s an incentive to complete those goals successfully. The accomplishment should be its reward—but other small rewards can help you stay motivated on a day to day basis.
Depending on your personal preferences, the reward could vary. It could be a small portion of the food item you’ve had cravings for, taking a day off from your exercise, giving yourself a bubble bath, buying yourself something nice, or even just taking the time to pat yourself on the back for a job well done.
You can incorporate food rewards, however, it’s important to make sure you don’t go overboard, as this can be counterproductive. Stick to something small on an infrequent basis.
6. Start Small and Break It Down
When you’re committing to a significant change in your lifestyle, you’ll probably feel overwhelmed at first. A lot goes into being healthy—including exercise, diet, sleep, water, and more.
If you’re looking to improve your holistic health, take the time to break down your goals into chunks. For example, separate your goals for your exercise plan, diet plan, sleep schedule, water consumption, and more. You can start with small, but significant changes, like drinking eight glasses of water a day or doing 10,000 steps a day.
I Want to Be Healthier: Making the Commitment and Sticking to It
Living a healthier lifestyle is no simple challenge. You’ll have to succeed where many others have failed.
When it all comes down to it, taking the leap into a healthier lifestyle is all about setting clear goals, making a decisive commitment, and sticking to it. It’s about waking up in the morning and saying to yourself: “I want to be healthier,” no matter what.
Just by taking a small step each day towards living a healthier lifestyle, you’re already setting yourself on the path towards a better, healthier self.
Looking for that extra boost to get you out the door and in the gym? Check out our fitness and health 101 sections to learn more about how you can start living healthier today—and every day.