How To Get Healthy In 2018
As we delve deeper into the festive spirit, the thought of new year resolutions are surely on our mind. Similarly to last year (and the year before), I’m sure many of have made a vow that we’ll ‘get fit, lose weight, run that half marathon, get stronger…the list goes on’ in 2018.
Don’t get me wrong, having a health and fitness new year goal is brilliant and I highly recommend it. However, have you thought about how you can realistically implement it? By “realistically”, I mean have you found a way to make some key lifestyle changes which are achievable and sustainable for you?
Each year I hear so many new years resolutions which involve such drastic changes that they are already given up on come February. In order to help avoid these, I’ve put together my top tips on how you can put plans in place to ensure achieving and maintaining your 2018 goals is possible.
Set short-term, long-term and medium-term goals
Most people have one main goal – whether that be to lose a stone, run a marathon or squat 100kg – which is great. Always having a long-term goal in sight is a good way to start, as you know what you’re heading for overall.
However, the achievement of a long-term goal can be quite far into the future, meaning that at times you may lose motivation when you feel like you have so far to go. That’s why I advise making both medium and short-term goals that you can focus on along the way.
For example, if your overall goal is to lose a stone, your initial short-term goal could be to make one healthy change to your diet each week. This could mean eating vegetables with every meal, only drinking 1 glass of wine on an evening rather than 2 or swapping your Friday night Dominos for a homemade pizza that contains half the calories.
This short-term goal can lead into a medium-term goal, which could be to lose an initial 5 pounds. Your weekly diet changes are bound to result in an initial weight loss, and giving yourself an aim to lose 5lbs will allow you to enjoy a sense of achievement as you continue on your way to reaching your overall goal.
Similarly, if you want run a marathon, start by consistently running 3 times per week. The runs can range from 10-30 minutes, with the medium-term goal of running a 5km distance by week 4. You can then plan to run 10km by week 8 and by week 12, you’ll be able to run 13 miles!
See how it works?
With your various goals in mind, make yourself a plan which will help you to ultimately achieve them. Write down a time schedule and commit to making specific changes or implementing workouts. If you have a free hour on a Tuesday and a Thursday evening to go for a run, book it into your diary.
Research shows that we’re more likely to follow through with plans if we make an active commitment to do them. It takes time to create a habit (at least 21 days, depending on the task), but once you have, these changes will simply become part of your daily and weekly routine. Eating vegetables with every meal and drinking diet drinks instead of the full-sugar versions will soon feel ‘normal’ if you make an effort to consistently do them in the beginning.
Stick with them
This is often then main area where people give up on their resolutions. Planning is the easy part and initially implementing them isn’t too difficult either as we feel super keen and motivated. However, sticking with them consistently can be tricky.
At the end of the day, when you feel like giving up, you need to ask yourself ‘do I really want this?’. If the answer is yes, then draw a line under any past negative feelings or slip ups that may have made you ‘fall off the bandwagon’. It’s up to you to get back on it.
Did you indulge this weekend and feel like you’ve undone all of your hard work from the week before? You didn’t, but you will if you continue to think ‘fuck it’. Yesterday is in the past, so get over it and move on. The more you get into this mindset, the more likely you are to to succeed in the long run.
Reward yourself for each achievement
It’s not all about work, work, work… you need to acknowledge your achievements throughout the journey. However, I don’t mean always rewarding yourself with cake (although that is acceptable from time to time!).
If you stuck to your diet all week, why not relax a little on Saturday and treat yourself to dinner out? Or maybe you got a PB in the gym and finally buy that new pair of trainers you’ve been dreaming about? It isn’t all about materialistic things though… being proud of yourself and appreciating how far you’ve come can be equally as rewarding.
Always look back to where you started and admire your progress. All the hard work is essentially down to you, and you deserve a pat on the back for each small achievement.
Now you’ve read this, take some time to plan your new year resolutions and when the time comes, put those plans into action. With a little motivation, hard work and consistency, anything is possible.
You’ve got this!