Goal Setting: Healthy New Year's Resolutions
As we move into a new year, we often start considering how we can make it better than the last. We purge and deep clean; we empty our fridges of the foods we overindulged in over the holidays; and we promise to implement daily workouts, cleanses, and hobbies. As naturopathic doctors, we frequently find ourselves offering advice on how to succeed at new goals and resolutions. Here are a few of our favourite tips for setting and achieving a fresh year’s goals while finding balance in our often very busy lives.
Always be prepared
Of course, hindsight is 20/20, but one of the most important ways to help put your best foot forward in the new year is to avoid the overindulgences of holidays past! Whether it’s the Sunday brunch filled with so many tasty pastries, a summer barbeque with craft beers and chips galore, or a holiday spread fit for a king, being prepared ahead of time will help you maintain moderation all year long.
Eat before you treat
Before you head out to any event, load up on healthy vegetables and some blood sugar-balancing proteins and fats. Even a handful of nuts, some celery and hummus, or a cup full of oatmeal and dried fruit can satiate you, making you less likely to gorge on that yummy plate of croissants!
Think before you drink
Keeping well-hydrated is the key to ensuring alcohol overkill. While drinking plenty of water daily is a given, paying extra attention to your water intake is extra important when you know you’re going to be attending a party or event where alcoholic beverages will be present. If you know you’ll be indulging in a few drinks, you may wish to include some electrolytes in your water to ensure extra hydration! Space out those beverages with glasses of water in between and don’t be duped by those alcohol-free mocktails: they can be loaded with sugar and can leave you feeling hungover and bloated!
Float your bloat
If you do find that you eat a little more than you planned and are feeling bloated, don’t let it ruin your night: Take one or two digestive enzymes to help your body break down the food and kiss bloat goodbye!
New year, new workout
Anxious about exercise? Don’t be! We put so much pressure on ourselves to get fit and “bikini-ready” that we inevitably fail before we start. Rethinking how we look at exercise is key. Being active and moving our bodies is just as important as choosing a healthy diet. Not only is it a way of practicing self-care, it also helps keep our bodies strong and limber so we can face those every day challenges of parenting, like picking up our kiddos for huge bear hugs and maybe even keeping up with them at the park. Getting into the habit of exercise doesn’t have to involve complicated routines, expensive equipment, or extensive amounts of time. It’s just about moving more and sitting less!
Having someone in your house on board with your desire to exercise can be great motivation. Grab your partner or child and head out for a nice walk or run (a little healthy competition never hurt anyone!) Or ask a friend or neighbor and turn the time into a workout catch-up!
Schedule it in
Pencil an appointment for activity right in your calendar in order to hold yourself accountable. Just like you wouldn’t miss a dental appointment, prioritizing exercise means you’ll show up for it as well.
When you start a routine, you don’t have to go from zero to a hundred! Starting out slow and pacing yourself can mean avoiding injuries, and better yet, increasing your self-confidence as you meet incremental milestones. Start off with that slow walk until you feel like you can walk faster. Or aim for running one kilometre instead of trying to hit that half marathon. If you slowly, but consistently, increase your workout, you will find more enjoyment and fulfillment, reduce frustration, and get closer to your fitness goals.
The saying “the clothes make the man” is definitely true when it comes to exercise. It doesn’t have to cost a fortune but having the right gear for whatever workout you are doing is important. Breathable technical clothing for outdoor walks and runs mean you won’t unpleasantly overheat; supportive sneakers for that high intensity workout means reduced chance of injury; and super stretchy yoga pants means your downward dogs and tree poses won’t leave you feeling pinched and constricted!
Moving the goalposts
Coming up with a goal is easy; planning and implementing that goal is much more difficult. That’s why gyms love those New Year’s resolutions that have people rushing out for year-long memberships that they never actually use! If you’re having a hard time following through on your goals, you’re not alone. And while there are no sure-fire ways that promise goal-setting success, there are a few tricks that help make reaching those goals a little bit easier.
Being accountable to someone can be helpful to encourage you to push towards your goals. We can all use a gentle nudge sometimes, and having a friend or family member to check on, motivate, and help you stay on track can be worth its weight in gold!
We all struggle, and it’s important to remember to go easy on yourself. You will have days you don’t want to work out or eat healthy or stick to your goals. And you’ll fail. But that’s okay! It doesn’t mean that you have to throw in the towel and give up! Just commit to starting again…and again if you have to!
When you’re trying to make changes in your life, the best way to see success is to make sure they’re reasonable. Are they feasible for where you are right now in your life? Just like you wouldn’t expect to be a CEO of a large corporation within months of graduating school, being realistic about what you can give, how much time you have, and what tools you have at your disposal will help you set reasonable, and achievable goals. Goals that are achievable give us encouragement and motivation, and once we accomplish them, we can always add more!