It’s understandable if exercise and healthy eating go awry this holiday season. Schedules are busier, stress is higher, and tempting sweets are everywhere.
New Year’s celebrations may bring more of the same, but still keep you on track.
Once you’ve made up your mind, it’s a great start.
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Many people make New Year’s resolutions around this time of year and then abandon them a month later, says Stephen Moore, an extension educator at Ohio State University LiFEsports. If you want to stick to healthy habits, try setting some SMART goals instead of one-size-fits-all solutions. These types of goals are:
SMART goals can address all aspects of life, including emotional, health, social health, financial health, and physical health.
Start by writing down your goals and then plan your steps to reach them
To get started, write down your goals. Then find small steps you can take to reach those goals. For example, “Wanting to improve physical health is a pretty broad spectrum,” said Moore.
An easy way to reach this goal is to add a few minutes of exercise each day (as easy as walking up and down the stairs at work, not the elevator).Enjoy walking with an app that records your steps
Another way to reach this goal is to drink more water. eat more fruits and vegetables; and make diet swaps, such as swapping out Greek yogurt for sour cream in selected dishes.
Moore recommended replacing fatty foods with salads, fruits, vegetables, and grains.
“The more colorful the meal, the better,” he said.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s MyPlate guidelines encourage people to eat more fruits and vegetables, lean protein and whole grains, and recommend that half of your diet be made up of fruits and vegetables.
Fruits, vegetables, protein, and whole grains contribute to feelings of fullness while providing the nutrients our bodies need. You can eat less of other richer foods.
small goals to achieve big goals
On the OSU Extension Live Healthy Live Well blog, Washington County Family and Consumer Science Program Assistant Megan Zwick suggests a healthier life in the new year with a few “small goals” to help you reach your goals. I write that I am choosing a style. These include:
- don’t buy soda for a month
- Go to the gym, take a walk, or move 3-4 times a week.
- Write in your diary three nights a week.
Breaking your determination into small sections doesn’t look intimidating, she writes. Some of her other tips were to dream big, commit to yourself, and learn from the past.
Consistency is also important, says Moore. He said he may not reach his goals some days, but it is important to keep trying.
Here’s another great tip. Think of your health like a savings account. Everything you put into your account accumulates like compound interest. Even if you start with 10 minutes of exercise a day, you’ll be fit and healthy by this time next year.
Think about what works for you and what areas of your health you would like to improve. Start small and aim high. Happy new year!
Laurie Sidle is a 4-H Program Assistant in Family and Consumer Sciences and the OSU Extension. She can be reached at 330-264-8722 or firstname.lastname@example.org..
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