The turning of the calendar to a new year gives everyone the opportunity to make a fresh start on some aspect of their lives. Tackling challenges toward better health are some of the most common resolutions, but only a fraction of people who begin on health quests in January are still at it six months later.
Some people want to stop smoking, others desire to lose weight and still others seek to increase their fitness. Regardless of the ultimate goal, the lack of success may be due to an overly ambitious start and a failure to focus on the process, not the results. Let’s look at five tips that can help keep you on track for your “new year, new you” pledge.
Just because it is a new year doesn’t mean you have changed your identity. If you were reluctant to exercise on Dec. 30, that still will be the case on Jan. 1. The key is to be realistic about your expectations for yourself. It is OK to make a slow start and just be persistent. You don’t have to achieve huge levels of success in the first week. For example, if you want to quit smoking but know that you will struggle, start by cutting back your total number of cigarettes for the day. Reduce the number you smoke by one per day until you are down to zero. Then, focus on maintaining that new status quo. Let yourself off the hook for setbacks and just try again the next day.
Getting going on an exercise regimen is one of the most challenging pledges, especially if you have been sedentary in the past. Going all-out in the first week is a bad idea. Set yourself up for success by predicting difficulties and getting tools to help. For example, there are many benefits of compression garments you can take advantage of. These articles of clothing keep your muscles warm and can prevent strains while reducing recovery time after workouts. Garments wick sweat away to help avoid rashes and chafing, meaning you will be more comfortable and more likely to continue exercising. Finally, the right amount of compression can help oxygen move through veins and reach the muscles that need it.
Allow Recovery Time
People working toward better fitness might choose weightlifting or yoga classes as tactics for reaching their goal. These should be done on an every-other-day basis at most, otherwise, serious injury could result. It is vital that no matter what your health goal, you allow your body time to recover after every strenuous outing. There is no shame in taking a day off. It prevents burnout and keeps you interested. Remember, it is the journey, not the ending, that is most important in the long term.
When you do make progress on your path to improved fitness and health, even baby steps, it is important to note the achievement in some way. For example, for every five pounds you lose or 20 miles you run, you could treat yourself to a little massage session or update a chart where you are tracking your progress. Letting your friends and family know about the milestone can also help hold you accountable for continuing to work hard.
Consider Mental Factor
Your mind and body are connected, so if you plan to improve your body’s fitness, don’t forget to work on your mental health as well. Working on gaining a positive outlook on life and about your appearance can help keep you in the resolution game longer. If you strive to improve your mental strength at the same time you are working on your muscular strength, you will be able to reap the rewards of both for the long term.
Improving your mental and physical fitness is a wonderful goal. These tips, from starting at a reasonable rate to taking advantage of the benefits of compression garments, should help you get going and stay on the path toward success.