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When you first set a fitness goal, you’re so motivated to stick to it that you might feel almost invincible. Perhaps you pinned an inspirational poster on your wall or set daily reminders on your phone. As the weeks and months pass, the poster has fallen off the wall and is laying in a crumpled heap. Those daily reminders you set? You turned those off weeks ago. As the months roll on, your daily life sometimes gets in the way. From work to family to all the other things you juggle each day, it can be easy to lose momentum on your fitness goal.
Of course, this doesn’t mean all hope is lost. You don’t have to become one of the millions of people in the US (and elsewhere) who give up on their healthy goals each year. It’s now or never, and, as Kefi Mind explains below, now is the perfect time to take back your goal for healthier living!
Increase Healthy Habits
You already know that you need to increase your daily activities to incorporate healthier habits — but what exactly does that mean? You can start by adding physical activity to the list. Whenever you get the urge to check your Facebook newsfeed or watch Netflix, challenge yourself to get up and get moving instead. For instance, you could go for a run, try an online workout or hit the hiking trail. You could also go for a walk or take a fitness class at a local gym. Read more on Lifestyle Medicine options as well.
Another activity that you can incorporate is decluttering, and then keeping out the clutter long term. Where there’s too much “stuff” – that is, unneeded amounts of items like old magazines – there’s stress, so reap the health benefits of decluttering, which will also remove undue anxiety in your home. Reducing paperwork is one of the more daunting aspects of decluttering, but it's made easier with online tools that allow you to save documents electronically. Avoid overloading your cloud storage by using Adobe Acrobat to compress a PDF online. The reduced file size also makes it easier to email documents when needed.
Life Chief Nation points out that many people respond well to a reward system for reaching their goals. By incentivizing your efforts, you can hit the reward center of your brain and bask in your accomplishments at the same time. And your incentives could be anything. Perhaps you treat yourself to a massage after finally reaching your goal to work out five days a week. Or maybe you allow yourself a trip to the movies or your favorite museum. It could also be as simple as allowing yourself a few extra hours to sleep in on a Sunday or taking an hour to read a book.
Plan for Recovery Time
A good workout will leave you feeling sore the next day -- and that’s a good thing! As your muscles heal, they’ll be stronger and ready for your next run or fitness class. As you start to see and feel the results of your efforts, it’s important to plan out rest days to allow your body to recover. Rather than pushing yourself to the limit every day, schedule active recovery days. Do some light yoga, go for a leisurely walk or enjoy some gentle stretching. You can aid your recovery too by investing in treatments that help your muscles recover faster, such as a warming wrap with clay beads for your neck or back, or a vibrating massager to iron out the kinks.
Cut Back on Sugar and Caffeine
With experts recommending that you cut out so many foods and food ingredients from your diet, trying to plan healthy meals can feel overwhelming at first. From fats (including trans fats and saturated fats) to calories, from salt to sweeteners, from gluten to artificial additives, where are you supposed to start?
The BBC reports that some experts now recommend starting with sugar. This includes many beers and, yes, your favorite carbonated or caffeinated drinks. By reducing your intake of caffeinated beverages, you’ll reduce your daily intake of caffeine, calories, and sugars. For the best results, try to read labels (or better yet, cook your own fresh foods at home). Set a goal that you will try to limit your daily sugar consumption to just six to 12 teaspoons per day.
This one should be part of any health-conscious goal. In addition to adding unexpected calories, carbs, and sugars to your diet, alcohol can cause a number of health conditions and weight gain. By reducing your alcohol intake — or avoiding alcohol altogether — you can eliminate the risk for alcohol addiction and reduce your risk of developing a variety of conditions that have been linked to alcohol consumption. And of course, it’s still possible to have a happy, healthy social life without the need to partake in alcohol.
Now is the perfect time to forgive yourself for falling off the bandwagon. Start developing a plan to get back on track. Your body, mind, and soul will thank you for it.