Now that 2018 is here and resolution season is in full swing, a lot of people are taking on the goal of achieving a healthier lifestyle. While this is an enormously popular resolution, a large portion of folks never follow through in the long-term, sooner or later falling back on their old habits.
If you’re hoping to avoid that rut this year, then focus more on lifestyle changes you can realistically stick to throughout the year. Here are just a few ways you can start sticking to your resolution this year:
Set A Solid Routine
If there’s one thing that causes us to stray from losing that holiday weight, it’s not establishing the right routine to support our success. From your diet to the amount of activity you get, your everyday routine majorly factors into how healthy your lifestyle is, which is honestly not great news for most people. In fact, according to the HHS, less than 5 percent of adults participate in the recommended 30 minutes of physical activity per day.
If you find yourself part of that group, one of the best things you can do is start brainstorming ways to change your routine. Although the two best places to start impacting your health are improving your diet and exercise habits, don’t assume that means eating nothing but salads and running a few miles everyday. Getting healthy is all about balance, and if you’re leading a sedentary lifestyle, committing to a mile-long run every morning isn’t going to bring balance into your life. It’s not realistic or sustainable (yet!).
Give up the crash diets and intense exercise programs and focus on small, sustainable changes to your established routine. For example, if you tend to drink a lot of soda, you could commit to replacing one or two cans of pop with a glass of water each day. You’ll cut calories, be more hydrated, feel better, and be more likely to stick with the change over time because you are only modifying your routine, not completely overhauling it. You don’t have to give up soda for the rest of time, you just have to get it out of your daily routine.
Replace Bad Habits
If you have bad habits that are a part of your everyday lifestyle — like the pop example above — you should focus on replacing those habits with healthy ones first. Even the smallest changes, like switching from a beer with dinner to a glass of red wine, can have a tremendous impact in your health.
You would be surprised how easy it can be to make simple swaps that make a dramatic difference; you could start taking the stairs instead of the elevator, for example, or start parking your car in a more far away spot in the parking lot to get in a few extra steps. Other changes could me almost indiscernible, like cooking with olive oil over butter — you probably won’t taste a big difference, but those changes add up. Sometimes these habits can be as easy to replace as stocking up on different staples at the grocery store, such as buying Stevia instead of granulated sugar.
Other bad habits are harder to replace, though. According to the CDC, approximately 15 percent of U.S. adults are smokers who struggle, despite all evidence against the habit, to give up their cigarettes. Nicotine is a highly addictive drug, which means smokers are not only combatting their personal habits (like reaching for a smoke after a meal or while driving), but also a chemical trigger surrounding that habit. That’s why many smokers have found success in quitting by first transitioning to vaping. Since brands like Juul offer vaporizer products that feel more like cigarette smoking and provide a nicotine fix, smokers can more effectively wean from cigarettes.
Don’t Forget About Your Financial Health
Your financial health plays a big role in your overall wellness, since stress can have very damaging physical and emotional health effects. According to a survey by GoBankingRate, as much as 69 percent of Americans have less than $1,000 in savings, which means most of us are just one financial crisis away from some seriously stressful times.
While none of us can make money fall out of the sky (sadly), there are a few things you can do to start getting yourself out of debt and saving money for the things you really want to do in life. List all of your current debt obligations, including the balances, interest rates, payment schedules and minimums, and any other associated fees or relevant information. This will help you develop a plan of attack, since you’ll be able to see which debts are costing you the most money in interest and can work toward paying those down as quickly as possible (pro-tip: a balance transfer could dramatically cut your interest payments).
How are you trying to take on a healthier lifestyle this year?