Three Lifestyle Changes to Help Chip Away at Your New Year’s Resolution
Already a few weeks into 2019, many of us have already found difficulty sticking to our New Year’s resolution. And as much as we hate to admit it, this isn’t our first resolution tango. While setting goals are always encouraged as an integral part on the roadmap to success, sometimes breaking down lofty accomplishments into small, unintimidating parts yields the biggest results. For example, everyone’s favorite resolution of losing “X lbs” gets swept up in the commotion of this year’s hot diet fad, new gym memberships, and even new yoga pants to spark your success. New yoga pants are always great, but we need to accept that life is busy and complicated, and as much as magic pants are welcome, we really need to restructure our thinking. How about instead of “losing X pounds,” we create tangible and “doable” tasks will accelerate our journey toward resolution domination. So, to start, let’s focus on different numbers:
The first of these numbers — the number of glasses of water consumed in the day.
Instead of marking pounds lost on your calendar, make 8-to-10 boxes and check them off as you drink your 8 ounces…or use the water tracker on your fitness app. Hydration is the secret weapon in health and weight loss, not only keeping us full, but allowing us to restore imbalances in our body, keep our functions running smoothly, and flushing out toxins as we eliminate waste.
Our second set of numbers – 10-minute blocks.
Many people tally their daily activity by using pedometers or lifestyle heart rate monitors. And while this is very effective in monitoring your movement, you can easily make strides on your own without a fancy gadget. Not everyone has a 40-minute block of time to hit the gym. But nobody says you can’t break up your workout. Create four boxes on your calendar for 10 minutes of exercise. Whether you do sit ups, some mindful stretching, or take a brisk walk down the street during lunch break, those 10 minutes add up and give you that 40 minute work out before you know it.
The third set of numbers – sleep time.
Probably the best weight loss secret weapon is ample sleep. Very few people meet their sleep quota, and even those who get the numbers often don’t get the quality of sleep necessary to aid in rebuilding and cleaning out our system. Cheating yourself of good sleep is really cheating your body the opportunity to have enough time to repair and restore. Sometimes it’s not that easy to just ‘go to bed early,” but there are many tips to build to get that quality sleep:
- If you’re normally in bed at 11:30 PM it’s probably not reasonable to start sleeping at 8 PM. But it certainly is reasonable to shave off 30 minutes and get into bed earlier. Shave another 30 minutes off that time every week towards your goal.
- And don’t underestimate sleep-time rituals. There’s a reason why warm baths, soothing lighting and sounds, and a less-rushed lead-up to bed help children sleep better and longer. Maybe it’s time we, as adults, adopt some of those behaviors. Even if you shower in the morning, maybe try to take a warm shower or bath before bedtime. Sipping herbal decaffeinated tea or warm water with lemon and stopping snacking a couple hours before bed can help your system relax.
- And maybe most importantly, allow yourself a long break from electronic devices and screen time before you get into bed. While many of us love to binge-watch our TV shows, or get lost deep in social media, our brains swirl with emotion and activity and take quite some time to come down from that high. Reward yourself after a week of better sleeping with a TV marathon on the weekend, but during the work and school week trying to discipline ourselves will lead to better function in the morning, and gradually help us not rely on caffeine and sugar to prop us up throughout the day.
We all can drink more water, go to bed earlier, and find 10 minutes here or there for some exercise. In fact, these are easy things to cross off our checklists. Why not give them a try and before you know it, your resolution may be met.