It’s the time of year again when many of us try to shed all the holiday excesses and make great attempts to get fit and healthy as the new year begins. For many, it’s a fleeting attempt, however, as soon enough we indulge our tastes in all kinds of unhealthy foods and give up on going to the gym, or even doing a gentle jog every few days.
It’s not surprising. By one estimation, a whopping 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail just a few weeks after making them. Perhaps we get caught up in all the revelry at year’s end and think we can easily achieve anything we want during the following one — until reality sets in during the long and dark days of January when we return to work and deal with all the usual struggles of life. Who can be dealing with resolutions now?
It doesn’t have to be that way, however, and wouldn’t it be great if by the end of 2019 you had at least made good on your health and fitness resolutions for the 12 months? It’s not that difficult, if you know how — here are some tips to get you going with your very own health and fitness regime and keep you on track throughout the year.
Know what you want to achieve
One reason so many New Year’s resolutions fail is that they’re just too vague. You might know what you want to achieve, but the aim might be too broad and you might not know how to get there. It can be a bit like wanting to be fit and healthy enough to run a marathon, but you’ve no idea how to train or if you could even run that far at all. The simple answer to any new programme is this: baby steps. Plan or make an outline of what you want to do and start out very slow.
So if you’ve never really run, for example, but want to be able to tear around the park like all those fit people you often see and who make it look so effortless, the key is to run short distances and gradually add to that as the days and weeks go by. Rome was not, after all, built in a day — and it’s incredibly beneficial to keep a written or computer diary where you can record your progress and see how you’re doing. You’ll be amazed at the confidence and motivation it gives you to keep on going.
Focus on your diet
There’s little or no point in embarking on a fitness and health programme if you don’t also pay keen attention to what you’re putting in your mouth. Working out and then rewarding yourself with a huge burger and tons of chips is not going to achieve very much — apart from a bigger waistline — and soon enough you’ll feel discouraged by lack of progress in losing weight and getting fit, and you might just give up.
If you’re wondering what the optimal diet is for health and fitness plans, the answer is anything that is not processed or, at least, where very little has been done to alter its natural state. You might think something like white rice, for instance, is a healthy choice, but actually it’s not — all the fibre and nutrients have been stripped away in the grains’ husks and all you’re really left with is starch that will turn into sugar and fat in the body. Opt instead for wholegrain rice — you’ll get far more nutrients to support your health regimen and you’re sure to enjoy the nutty taste all the more.
Give up smoking
This is also a time of year when many people who have been longtime smokers finally try to quit their unhealthy habit. It’s a battle, as any smoker can tell you. But the good news is that it’s now so much easier, and with top health authorities like the NHS and Public Health England advising that people use vape kits to quit because of the high success rate, it’s certainly something to consider. With these kits, you get the best e-cig for you and it will have the nicotine you want but none of the toxic chemicals found in burning tobacco.
A little bit of planning, and a lot of determination and staying power will ensure that you’ll meet all your health and fitness goals this year.