It’s late February, and the excitement of a “clean slate” and “fresh start” of a new year has likely worn off. Now, the real work sets in.
Life doesn’t always go as planned, even if we have the best intentions and positive goals. If your New Year’s goals included nutrition or fitness and you’re not quite where you’d like to be, don’t give up! Slow and steady wins the race, and where there’s a will, there’s always a way to get back on track. Consider these tips to help you achieve your nutrition goals.
- Take your time.
If you miss one day or one milestone along the journey, don’t sweat it. Big changes won’t happen overnight, but you need to start (or regain momentum) somewhere. Instead of thinking of all the goals left to meet or diet overhaul you should make, start with small changes to what you eat and drink. Begin to reduce your sugar slowly before cutting it out completely. Plan to work out at least once a week, then build your stamina. Sometimes things don’t go as planned, so even when you slip up, pick yourself back up and continue moving steadily along.
- Identify and remove barriers.
What factors are preventing you from making changes? Maybe there are always sweet treats in the company breakroom, or your family’s busy schedule leaves little time for 1 hour or more of physical activity each day. The best way to move past or minimize these barriers is first to recognize them. Then, have a plan of action for when you encounter them. How will you respond when you see those treats in the office? Can you wake up an hour earlier each day or watch one hour less of TV to make time for fitness? Be prepared.
- Celebrate your successes.
Our brains are wired to want rewards. Each time you receive a positive response, you’re more likely to repeat that habit. When you reach mini-goals along the way, reward yourself. Make a big deal out of it! Buy yourself a new pair of running shoes when you reach your goal or reward yourself with an activity you love. Think of each small change as a big win as you build positive habits and find new ways to reach your goals. This will encourage these positive behaviors and set you up to successfully make lasting changes.
- Use the resources available to you.
From fitness apps to nutrition reference guides, there are plenty of community resources available to you and your family. ChooseMyPlate has plenty of tips, recipes, and resources to help you build healthy eating habits—they even have a new app, Smart Simple with MyPlate, that allows you to pick simple daily food goals, see real-time progress, and earn badges along the way. It’s all about meeting healthy eating goals one at a time. LiveWell Frederick’s community partners also offer resources for Frederick County residents of all ages. You can find plenty of additional resources for support on our website, too.
- Be active together.
Don’t do it alone. Find a buddy with similar nutrition or fitness goals. Swap healthy recipes, meal plan and prep together, and start a new physical activity. It’s easier to stay on track when you have a supporter, cheerleader, and confidante to keep you motivated and hold you accountable.