When it comes to New Year Resolutions, small habit changes add up to bigger, attainable goals. At least this is true according to Prevention magazine in an article titled, “21 Ways to Welcome 2021.” The article suggests that “ambitious” goals that might be far reaching (especially in a pandemic) can set us up for disappointment. Instead, they suggest focusing on simple tasks we can implement to, over time, make a bigger impact. I loved all of the suggestions but, of course, I focused on the health and fitness ones. You can find the full article here: https://apple.news/AfFvm6o-1Riad0EL4m8vYlw
Here are a few of the ones I gravitated to:
Meal prepping for an entire week, especially for a family of four, is daunting. They suggest planning for three meals. Buying groceries and coming up with 3 recipes allows for more flexibility. You can switch gears when something unexpected comes up or gives you the opportunity to improvise using what’s leftover in the fridge. I don’t know about you, but for me, this seems to take the pressure off. Like, “oh, I don’t have to be a gourmet chef every night?”
Being stuck in a rut with a workout routine is real. If you feel like this is you, they suggest seeking out inspiration – like watching a documentary on a related goal like training for a virtual 5k. There are some Netflix shows they recommend watching with related topics like, “Rising Phoenix” or “The Pack”. Relating to other people’s success stories just might give you the push you need to achieve your own fitness goals.
Adapting a fitness routine outdoors and setting yourself up for being comfortable for winter sports is another suggestion. Natural light every day can be mood boosting and if you take that one step further and do something active outside it has maximum benefits for your health. Make sure you have the right equipment for winter weather. Being cold outside or not feeling safe during your activity can set you back.
Build on What’s Working
Build new habits on top of habits you have already established. For example, if you are already an early riser, take 15 minutes and develop a meditation routine in the morning. Or, say you already make lunch every day. Try adding in a fresh vegetable to what you are making. Maybe you have established a cardio routine every week, but are lacking in strength training. Every time you finish your cardio workout, take 10 minutes to add in strength training. Adding little tweaks to habits you already have established is an easier way to develop new habits.
If you track your activity, don’t forget to track your downtime too. Making sure you are allowing yourself enough time for recovery and that you’re getting enough sleep – this is just as important as tracking your movement. Using a tool like Whoop, or the various Apple, Fitbit, etc tools available, can help track not only the times you are active, but it will also track the times when you are inactive.
You know the saying, “misery loves company?” Well, if you have a certain fitness goal, like running a marathon, find a buddy. Instead of trying to run the full 26 miles, split the mileage up with your partner with your end goal of running 13. Then with a combined goal, you both finished the marathon. Or if you and your buddy have a goal of doing a certain number of hours of yoga in a month split that number in half. Working together on a combined goal holds you accountable, pushes you and splitting the task makes it more attainable. Who knows, working this way could ultimately help you obtain the original goal and could be more fun and less agonizing along the way.
And last, but certainly not least, when developing a new fitness routine, don’t forget the core work!!! So often core training is missing from a workout plan. Which is unfortunate because a strong core is just as important as being strong everywhere else. Many aches and pains can be attributed to having a weak core, so don’t neglect it. Work it just as much as the rest of your body, if not more.