It’s that time of year again: gyms are packed, and motivation is high. ‘Tis the season for change! But between classes, work and everything else that takes time and energy, it can be easy to let those resolutions for a healthier you slip away. Here are some tips to help you achieve your health goals, which can be ever so elusive for many:
1. Have a goal, not a resolution. Let’s be real; “I want to get in shape,” is not a goal. It’s boring, non-specific and not going to get you anywhere. When you start saving money for a new car, do you say, “I want to save money?” No! You have the exact make, model and color picked out. Health and fitness goals should be the same. Be it specific. If losing weight is your aim, set incremental goals. Give yourself a deadline. Start small to build confidence and then start swinging for the fences.
2. Form a plan. Have a workout routine in place. You’re much more likely to skip out on gym time when you’re winging it than if you know exactly what you need to do. Something as small as a 12-week program including resistance training and cardio workouts can be a great motivator and takes away the guesswork. (Men’s Health is a great resource to find quick, effective, workouts, regardless your level of fitness, such as the “The Busy Man’s Workout,” a fully body dumbbell routine.)
3. Make it fun. There are literally hundreds of different ways to exercise and improve your diet. If you don’t enjoy running, don’t run. If you’re a beginner, don’t be afraid to try new things. We have an array of classes available for free at the recreation center on campus. I’ll never forget the first time I tried yoga; I thought it was strange going in, but now it’s part of my weekly routine. Also, find a workout buddy to provide accountability and motivation.
4. Pump your brakes. It’s important to understand that results will not come overnight. A diet “cleanse” or excessive exercise is going to be inferior to long-term adherence. Start out slow. Make exercise a habit, then increase intensity. Don’t attempt to cut out all vices of your diet at once. Ditch soda for a few weeks, increase your vegetable intake for a few weeks, and, before you know it, in a few months you’ll have a completely new and healthy diet.
5. Just stick to it. It’s time for some honesty. Improving one’s health isn’t easy, but it isn’t walking-up-the-Plumb-Hall-stairs hard, either. There will be days when you want skip a workout or eat an endless amount of Oreos, but take it one day at a time. Understanding every workout and diet change is one step closer to your goal. Incorporating change each day makes the successive day easier.
If you see me around campus this year, don’t be afraid to flag me down and ask a question or share your success. Let’s do this!