We all get a chance to start over with the new year, and for many of us, this means making a pledge to take better care of ourselves. Almost everyone makes some sort of New Year’s resolution to lose weight or eat healthier, but by the time February rolls around, most of us will have given up on our well-intentioned goals.
So, why is it so hard to follow through on our resolutions? We asked fitness expert Phoenix Carnevale and nutritionist Christina Persaud to identify the most common hurdles we face when trying to embark on a healthier lifestyle and give us some tips on how to get past them:
Many of us find it difficult to stick to our resolutions because we set vague, unreachable goals for ourselves, says Persaud. Another pitfall Persaud points out is setting goals that are totally unsustainable. Carnevale suggests setting small daily goals that you can build on to combat both of these tendencies. Think of something specific, like losing a pound a week, for motivation. Persuad suggests focusing on little things you can tweak in your diet, because it can lead to big results in the end. Even something as simple as switching out refined grains for whole ones is a great step in the right direction.
Being Too Strict on Yourself
Persaud says that starting a very strict diet and a difficult exercise regimen simultaneously after months (or years!) of bad habits is a set up for failure. Carnevale agrees, and stresses the fact that all or nothing approaches are not the way to go. “People can be unsuccessful with developing good workout habits because they’re trying to relive a Rocky movie!” she says. Carnevale promotes a more balanced and gradual approach to let your body adjust to the new routine. Also keep in mind that one little slip up is no reason to give up and revert to your old ways. Forgive yourself if you skip a workout one day or sneak a cookie. Just go back to your healthier ways the very next day.
Both Carnevale and Persaud agree that your mindset matters a whole lot when it comes to making a lifestyle change. Your New Year's Resolution shouldn’t feel like a prison sentence! Have fun while you strive to reach your new goals, urges Persaud. Be sure to keep the focus off of your weight and on all of the great new habits you’re learning. Carnevale suggest that you think about working out like you would a spa day or a manicure—it’s an activity that you do just for you! If train your way of thinking, you can change your life.
Phoenix Carnevale, Fitness Expert.
Christina Persaud, MPH, RD, CDE.