Every January I really hate going to the gym. I spend the majority of the time searching for an open parking space and once inside I’m fighting other members for a cardio machine, a free weight or even a spot to stretch. While it’s incredibly frustrating, I know in a month the overflow will have dwindled down and things will return to normal.
New Year’s resolutions–they are what create a surge in gym memberships and an increase in healthy food purchases the first of the year. Unfortunately, it’s not long before those resolutions are forgotten, gym memberships go unused and healthy eating becomes a distant memory. Why is it so hard for many people to keep their resolutions? Many times it’s because they set goals that are unrealistic.
If you are someone who hasn’t exercised in years, how likely is it that you’re going to immediately start hitting the gym every night? Yes, there are people who stick with that extreme of a change, but they are certainly not the norm. A more attainable goal and a resolution you can keep would be to tell yourself you’re going to start walking for at least 30 minutes, at least 3 days a week. Or, maybe you can sign up for a fitness class twice a week. It won’t be such a huge time commitment and you won’t burn out after a few weeks. After a couple of months, if you find yourself enjoying the extra activity (and feeling better from it!) you can add more days to your schedule or add another activity.
Likewise, if your idea of a well balanced dinner is hitting the fast food drive-thru, an entire diet transformation overnight will most likely be a hard resolution to swallow (pun intended!). You’ll be more likely to succeed if you start substituting individual items with healthier options. For example, instead of chips with your sandwich at lunch, try a piece of whole fruit, celery and carrots with low fat dip or a small salad with low fat dressing. You can slowly begin to replace more and more of your diet with healthy alternatives over the following weeks.
Change doesn’t happen overnight. Think baby steps to being successful in keeping your resolutions. I’m including a link to our Meal Planning and Shopping section of the Fruits & Veggies More Matters web site. It will give you some great ideas on how to begin making those changes. Who knows–maybe you’ll find yourself setting much higher goals next New Year’s!