2020 was a challenging and trying year for a lot of us. However, 2021 is the time to start brand new in all areas of life, including your physical health. In 2020, you may have started your health journey, paused your journey, or hey – you decided to wait until this year to get started. Wherever you are, if you want to work towards a healthier lifestyle – here are five tips to keep at your goals and to stay motivated!
- Focus on the Smaller Picture More than the Bigger Picture
This saying sounds contradictory, but the smaller goals you set matter! For example, if your overall goal is to lose 25 pounds in the next five to six months, your smaller goals would be to lose at least five pounds each month. When you focus on the bigger picture, 25 sounds so far away, and it can be easy to get discouraged and quit – because it seems like you’ll never reach that number. On the other hand, if you focus on losing five pounds each month – the discouragement lessens, and you’ll be more motivated to workout. Before you know it, the smaller goals will add up, and those 25 pounds will be a thing of the past! This mindset will take some time to become routine – but once you get there, you’ll be glad you did!
- Make Exercising a Habit
It’s not easy to squeeze in an exercise session in our busy lives – but if you are determined to change your lifestyle, then exercising is a must. The Center for Disease Control recommends “at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity, or an equivalent combination each week.” Remember that “smaller picture” mindset we talked about earlier? It applies to concepts like this. One hundred fifty minutes sounds stressful, but in simpler terms – it just means getting at least 30 minutes of exercise five days a week. That sounds a lot more doable, right?
When you exercise, here are some quick tips to remember:
-It’s best to be consistent. Choose days and times that work best for you, and stick to those days!
-Choose an exercise activity that will make you sweat, but do not overwork yourself or go past your limits! If you are brand new to any exercise activity, start at a beginner’s level and work your way up to more advanced material!
-Open yourself up to new things. If you’ve taken Zumba classes for a while, switch it up and try brisk walking or running on a treadmill. It’s a good challenge for your body and mind, and you’ll discover what types of exercise fit you the best!
-Workout with someone if you can! Working out with others can give you that extra push, and you’ll be working with someone who has like-minded goals!
- Make Changes to Your Eating Habits
What your body consumes is so important – what you eat not only affects you physically but mentally and even spiritually. I have polycystic ovary syndrome (more known as PCOS), and to re-regulate my body – I had to make significant changes to the way I ate. One example occurred during my first two years of college. I consumed high amounts of carbohydrates – and I didn’t even realize. Those high intakes caused me to gain weight, and soon clothes that used to fit me became difficult to wear. When I got serious about getting my body back to a healthier weight, I drastically cut down on my carb intake. Now, I consume less than 45 grams of carbs a day – and it has helped me lose so much excess weight. With that being said, however, it was not easy to do. I had to eliminate or limit products and foods (bread, pasta, etc.) that I grew up eating. There were some days at the beginning where I wanted to give up, but I knew it wouldn’t better help me. I’m so glad I didn’t give up back then because now – my body is less dependent on carbs, and I feel better. Of course, my methods for changing eating habits may not work for you, so research diets and eating habits online, and you’ll find what works best for you.
- Be Patient with Yourself
If you don’t take anything else with you after reading this article, I hope you’ll remember this. Being patient is the key to reaching your goals. One of my overall goals in my health journey is to lose 30 pounds, and I would say I’m about 90% there. However, getting there didn’t happen overnight. There were times I hit plateaus – and I got bothered because it seemed no matter how hard or long I exercised – the weight would not go away. However, after calming down and telling myself that if I kept eating right and exercising regularly – the weight would go away, and I would be even closer to my goal.
Results are not going to come overnight. Sometimes they’ll take weeks or even months. What will make or break your goals is your patience and perseverance. If you follow the tips above and encourage yourself to do your best – you are well on your way to becoming a better, healthier you!
I hope this article inspired you to keep working on your health goals or start your health journey! Remember to keep a driven, patient, and perseverant mindset and surround yourself with positive things! Good luck!