It’s a new year, new you— insert the meme with Robert Downey Jr. rolling his eyes—-. We have all been here before, January 1st, the day you feel socially pressured to identify how you will improve yourself in the new year. I know I have been a part of hundreds of conversations with friends and co-workers about what we will resolve to do in the new year, while simultaneously joking about how fast we will give up on those said resolutions, 2 months- 3 weeks– 2 days– later that afternoon.
Now let me tell you how many times I chose “lose weight” as my resolution. I probably said something to the effect of “I will lose 30 pounds” or “I will lose 50 pounds” or “I will lose all the weight I need to be considered ‘skinny” every single year from age 14 to age 26. And if you are interested in know how successful I was with those resolutions, you can read more about my weight loss journey on this blog post from Question Nutrition.
On my 27th New Year’s Day, I took a different route. I didn’t resolve to lose weight. My resolution was simply to “do better” in terms of my personal health, and while that is very broad, it ended up becoming a series of small actions and choices that added up to a big change in my lifestyle in the long run.
Below are 10 health and fitness related resolutions that are approachable and achievable and if you still have that “I need to lose weight!!!” feeling deep down inside, well the side of effects of these resolutions just may help you with that.
1. Try new fruits and vegetables— Maybe you have seen your cubicle neighbor chowing down on jicama sticks and wondered “what the hell is he always eating?” You should ask him about it, he will probably share some with you. Or you could just buy your own at the store. Committing yourself to trying new fruits and vegetables is a lot more approachable than “eating MORE fruits and vegetables”.
2. Go with a friend or family member (or by yourself) to a new workout class — How will you ever find out just how deeply you will fall in love with zumba, hip hop abs, extreme pilates or ballerina bootcamp if you don’t give it a try? Odds are you have someone in your life who is always yakking about their new kickboxing class and if you are honest with yourself you are just a tad bit interested already. Well this is the perfect time of year to give it a try! Before you know it you could be on the fast track to opening your own aerial yoga studio.
3. Go to sleep earlier. — Sleep is a crucial part of your health! If you are out running for miles and miles, or hitting the gym twice a day for weights and cardio, but slacking on the amount of sleep you are getting, you are not going to achieve the full benefit of your workout or nutrition plans. Just say “no” another episode from season 3 of Desperate Housewives and get to bed!
4. Drink more water. —– Your definition of “more” is yours to decide. “I’m going to drink a gallon of water everyday and track it on my water app” will likely get old quickly. You could drink half a water bottle before each meal and you’ll be surprised with how this can help you with portion control and overall satiety with your meal. If you are already one of those people who walks around with their gallon jugged marked with black sharpie for daily goals, then choose something else!
5. Find a whole grain product you can live with and make the swap. –— Who hasn’t heard by now that whole grains are better than processed grain? Unfortunately to many, they do not necessarily TASTE better than those vilified processed grains. I’m willing to bet though that you can find a whole grain pasta or english muffin that doesn’t make you gag. Brown rice is actually pretty tasty when you get used to it!
6. Take the extra steps (move more). — As I write this I may the last person left in my peer group that does not have a step tracker of some sort permanently melded to my wrist. Taking more steps is super on trend right now (thanks Fitbit!). Park in that far parking spot (assuming you feel safe doing so!), walk all the way back to that shelf in your office instead of rolling in your chair.
7. Try new condiments on your food. — I love ketchup, mayo, and honey mustard. It’s no secret that these condiments are bad news if you are tracking your food. I’m not saying to eliminate them by any means, but why not say hello to some new condiments? Mustard packs a powerful flavor punch with few calories and no sugar. Sriracha hot sauce can make anything taste better! Dipping your chips in salsa instead of queso is a healthier choice as well.
8. Say nice things to yourself. — Odds are if you have repeatedly resolved to lose weight, you likely have some body image issues to accompany those weight loss wishes. It truly is amazing how saying nice things to yourself (out loud, as weird as that feels at first) can be a game changer with all types of feelings you have about your life. If you find yourself saying something negative to yourself like “my nail beds suck” then give yourself two compliments to neutralize that negativity such as “Legs, you did an amazing job walking me around all day and even going for a short run!” or “My arms sure are great for hugging my family”. What a cheese-fest, I know! But don’t knock it until you try it.
9. Drink less sweetened soda (including diet sodas!) and drink more unsweetened drinks like water, tea, and club soda. — Notice how I didn’t say “stop drinking sweetened sodas”. Giving up something completely can be way hard and leave you bitter, leading you to just give up. I’m a big fan of eating my calories rather than drinking them. So often I will just choose to drink water or unsweetened tea with my meal and have that slice of cheese on my burger or dip my chicken in some honey mustard. I still love the “feel” of drinking an ice cold carbonated beverage so you will always find me stocked with La Croix sparkling water.
10. Plan your meals. — Now this could mean a 4 hour shop and meal prep session every Sunday to set yourself up with all of your breakfasts, lunches, and dinners for the work week. OR it could just mean to be intentional with your eating schedule and not let yourself go too long between meals and snacks. If you aren’t letting yourself get to that “hangry” state of mind, you will be more likely to stick with some of the other goals mentioned in this post. Even starting with a weekly dinner menu for your family. This change is not about obsessing over the contents of your meals!
Hopefully one (or more) of these resolutions resonated with you. All of these changes are easy to add into your life anytime of the year, not just in January because everyone says we should.
What’s your resolution this year?
I am a runner and fitness fanatic who is dedicated to living a healthy lifestyle 80% of the time. I live in Texas and divide my time between raising 3 children, teaching, and living a fit life.