New year, new you?
Do you start each new year with a plan to be fitter and healthier, only to find within a few weeks that all your plans have gone out the window? A lot of people can relate to this situation and wind up feeling disappointed and frustrated.
So what can you do if you find yourself in this situation? How can you make your lifestyle healthier and stick to it?
Trying to change multiple habits all at once can often be overwhelming, making it easy to give up before you've even started. Just one small change at a time can make a huge difference to your health and wellbeing. Whether your goals are around doing more regular physical activity or eating healthier food, before you start make time to decide what is important for you and what is achievable.
Some of our tips might help you on your new start:
Set realistic goals. Research has shown that people who set goals have more success with making change. Make sure your goals are attainable or you'll set yourself up to fail. Instead of trying to avoid eating a particular food ever again, you are more likely to be successful if you plan to have a small amount on special occasions.
Be specific about your goals. If you are specific about your goals, you are more likely to achieve them. For example, instead of saying “I want to do more exercise”, a more specific exercise goal would be “I want to walk for 30 minutes on 5 mornings each week”.
Choose an activity you enjoy. If you don’t like getting wet, swimming is probably not the best activity for you. Maybe a walk around the park, a dance class or going to the gym appeals to you. Try something new.
Exercise with a friend or in a group. You are more likely to continue with an exercise program if other people are involved.
Share your goals. Tell your family and friends about your goals. They can support you and may even become your exercise buddies.
Have something to work towards. Sign up to a fun run or walk. This can be very motivating and can help keep you on track.
Clean out your fridge and cupboards. Throw out or give away all those foods that are temptations. You are less likely to eat those tempting foods if they are not there!
Plan your meals and snacks in advance. By being organised and having ingredients to make healthy meals and snacks on hand, you will be less likely to eat processed foods or buy take-away. Write a list of all the healthy meals and snacks you would like to prepare for the week ahead. Then check to see what you have in stock and write your shopping list so you can prepare them.
Never go grocery shopping hungry. Try to do your shopping after you have eaten and you will be less likely to buy processed snack foods.
Move more and sit less. Try walking to the shops, parking your car further away from your destination and using the stairs rather than the lifts (even for part of the distance). If you catch public transport, stand instead of sit, and perhaps get off one stop earlier and walk the rest of the way.
Be kind to yourself. If you don’t do everything you plan all the time, don’t be too hard on yourself. No one is perfect and we all have ups and downs. If you slip up, don’t give up; start again. Don't let a lapse be a trigger to give up on your goals.
Words by Eileen Collins, Diabetes Nurse Educator at Diabetes Victoria
|Do you need help to reach your health goals? The Life! program can help. Call 13 7475 or learn more about it here.|