If you find yourself making the same old New Year's resolutions year after year, it's time to refresh your thinking!
Our LiveLighter team let us know everything we need to plan for a fresh start in 2022.
If you plan to go from takeaway on the couch to homemade kimchi and a hectic workout schedule in a week you're unlikely to succeed. Choose one or two things to work on at a time, achieve them, and then build on them.
Most of us can stick to a crazy-restrictive diet for a while and lose a little weight. When we go back to our lifelong habits the kilos spring back on and we beat ourselves up about our lack of self-control. The truth is that being overly restrictive about what we eat does little to help our mental or physical health. If it's unrealistic in the long term it won't work - and that's the diet's fault, not yours. Instead, choose an achievable goal to improve your eating habits, like drinking less soft drink, having less alcohol or avoiding the office biscuit tin.
Find your groove
Find ways to move your body that you enjoy rather than forcing yourself to exercise for weight loss. Hit the gym if that's your thing, but there's loads of other options to choose from; social sports, walking the dog, circus class, gardening or playing at the park with your kids.
The key is to find what works for you! Make your New Year's goal to explore a new activity each week until you find one that sticks. Research shows that exercise that you enjoy, gets you socializing, allows you to de-stress or builds your confidence is easier to keep up than exercise done with the goal of improving appearance or losing weight. Find something you enjoy and you'll make it a habit for life!
Focus on how food makes you feel
Rather than making weight loss the end goal of doing more exercise or drinking less sugary drinks, switch up your thinking to focus on how these changes will make you feel make you feel rather than how much weight they make you lose.
Weight loss is complicated, and improving our eating habits doesn't always lead to a change on the scales. The danger is that having only weight loss goals can mean abandoning the positive changes if we don't see any change on the scale. Remember that eating well makes us feel good and will improve our health regardless of whether it leads to weight loss.
Set yourself up for success
Whether your downfall is the stash of crisps in the pantry, party pies at the office morning tea, or churros and chocolate dipping sauce on a girl's night out, sticking to your goals can be really difficult if your environment doesn't support you to make a healthy change. Think about the environmental factors that get between you and your goals and find ways to address these, for example:
- Avoid keeping junk food like crisps and chocolate biscuits in the house
- Bring in a plate of seasonal fruit or vegie sticks and dip to share around for morning tea at work
- Catch up with friends for a walk or fitness class rather than a coffee and cake
Be kind to yourself
Planning to start a new habit at the start of a week or year is really common. Humans are funny creatures, and starting fresh is very appealing! The downside though, is that we can get addicted to fresh starts and clean slates. Which means that at the first sign of trouble (chocolate pick-me-up at work, a missed work-out) we think "oh it's all completely ruined now, I've failed, I'll start fresh on Monday".
Changing habits is often a case of two step forwards, one step back. Habits of a lifetime aren't changed in a week! One blow-out meal or one missed work out is not a big deal. Acknowledge what happened, and plan for next time (keep healthy snacks at work, get gym clothes together the night before). And get right back on that horse! Not next Monday, not next January 1st, but at the very next opportunity.
For more information
- We deliver the LiveLighter program, which aims to encourage Australian adults to lead healthier lifestyles - to make changes to what they eat and drink, and to be more active. You can find lots of great tips, resources and information at livelighter.com.au.