Can you believe another year has flown by? For most people, January is usually their “healthiest” month of the year. Improved eating and exercise habits are quickly adopted with the New Year’s motivation mentality. However, as the months linger on and the seasons change, so do our health habits. Before you know it, you are back to the very same routine you were trying to break in the first place. There are many reasons for why this set-back in our habits occurs.
- Changes implemented are simply too difficult to follow long-term. I notice this especially in individuals who make drastic diet changes without realizing that many of these “diets” are actually lifestyles that should be pursued for the long-run such as the paleo “diet” or Mediterranean “diet”.
- Lack of variety in eating and exercise habits set one up for burn-out. If you don’t allow yourself to have a little fun once in a while with your eating habits, you are most likely setting yourself up to have a major diet meltdown.
- Not having enough goals. I had one patient tell me that her initial goal was to run a 5K; after she ran the race, she no longer had any goals to work towards and found herself quickly back into her old unhealthy habits.
- Forcing yourself into a lifestyle that isn’t you. I read a great quote the other day that sums this up, “Working hard for something you don’t enjoy is called stress. Working hard for something you enjoy is called passion.” As many of you know, I love Crossfit; however, I am perfectly aware that it isn’t for everyone. Find the type of exercise you enjoy the most and stick with it!
- Taking on too many changes at once. It can become quite overwhelming when you’re trying to juggle many new habits at once and often, the new habits are the first thing to go out the window when we’re stressed out.
Considering all these factors that throw us off track, I began brainstorming for a possible solution to help people stay motivated all year long. Rather than make drastic changes all at once, why not slowly implement healthy changes into our lifestyles throughout the whole year? Let’s make our goal to be simply healthier, not perfect, for 2015. Remember the word healthy and perfect are not synonymous. I am far from a perfect eater; but I will say that I generally eat healthy most of the time, and I didn’t get to be like this overnight. In fact, you would be completely shocked if you saw the way I ate as a teenager. So, in efforts to help my readers maintain healthy habits all throughout the year, I am going to present you with “health-focused challenges” all year long to help keep you motivated and improve your overall lifestyle.
Cut out fast-food. In fact, try to see if you can go the whole month of January without going through the drive-thru. Try to make packing your lunch a priority and if you absolutely have to eat on-the-go, here are some ideas for some better options.