Have you set some new year’s resolutions to create healthier habits in 2021? Many people worry about their resolutions failing, even with the best of intentions. By approaching your goals differently you can turn things around and hop on the path to success.
Firstly, while it is so appealing to want to go for the quick fix diet or fitness challenge, changing habits is the long term solution. When you approach your new year’s resolutions, start with your goals. Once you have the goals that you’re aiming for, break them down into smaller sections.
For example, if you’re thinking of becoming vegetarian, start by educating yourself about the health benefits and consequences of being vegetarian. Then talk with your health professional about your health, and supplements that you might need to take to maintain health. As everybody knows that vitamin and mineral supplements can be expensive, the next step might involve researching health products and finding the best deals that are on offer.
As you can see, it isn’t about jumping into new habits without breaking them down first. They are much less likely to work if you haven’t done your planning.
Once you’ve broken down your goals, it’s time to put your new habits into action. Remember, it isn’t a race. It’s about forming new habits. For example, if one of your new year’s resolutions is to lose weight, your actions could include a reduced calorie intake and regular exercise. But how are you going to action these changes?
Some people are able to create their own meal plans with fewer calories to lose weight. Others might find a program easier. There are programs such as the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet that provide recipes that you can cook. They include menu plans and shopping lists to make it easier to manage. But many people find it easier to join a weight loss program such as Weight Watchers Reimagined. If that works for you, then great. Many of these weight loss programs have tools to help you form healthier habits for the long term.
If you’re a busy person, meal kit deliveries could suit you better. You could opt for ready-made meals such as Youfoodz or the Good Chef, where they offer portion-controlled meals. Some of these ready-made meal companies also offer calorie-controlled meals where meals range from 350 calories to 500 calories. If ready-made meals aren’t your favourite, there are many meal kit delivery services such as Hello Fresh, that now offer fresh food boxes with the ingredients that you need and recipe cards to make the meals. They are promoted as being tasty, quick, easy to cook, and fresh too.
Now that we’ve covered the different weight loss options that you can put into action, it’s time to look at some exercise goals that are achievable. Many people set unattainable goals when it comes to exercise. Keep in mind that if you’re older, you should consult your doctor before you make changes to your physical activity routine. They might recommend that you work with an exercise physiologist or a physiotherapist to get you started.
In any case, a new exercise plan needs to progress at an achievable rate. If you go too hard and fast, you could injure yourself or end up running out of energy and losing motivation. So the goal is to build up to the recommended amount of exercise per week. The Australian Government Department of Health resources acknowledge that doing any physical activity is better than doing none at all. But they do recommend 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week if you’re able to do so. This will reduce health risks and improve your health and wellbeing.
After you’ve made the commitment to increase your exercise regime, make a list of exercises that you enjoy or that you think you’d like to engage in. It could be heading to the squash courts with a friend once a week. Or it could be briskly walking your dogs for 30 minutes each day. It doesn’t matter what the activity is, as long as you’re physically able to do it.
Socialising is a good motivator to exercise. By joining a walking group or a cycling club, you’ll not only get to exercise, but you could have the added benefits of friendship too. Some people are able to commit to solo exercise. That’s great if you can. However, others often need incentives, such as a yoga membership, a gym membership, or even a weekly personal training session. The key is to set small goals and build up to the overall goal of 30+ minutes of exercise at least 5 times per week.
Everybody knows that too much alcohol is bad for your health. But we often drink too much over the festive season. Setting healthier habits for the new year often includes the goal of reducing alcohol intake. While no alcohol is best for your health, reducing alcohol is still going to improve your health. The Department of Health’s revised alcohol guidelines state that “healthy men and women should drink no more than 10 standard drinks a week and no more than 4 standard drinks on any one day.” This will reduce the risk of harm from alcohol-related disease and/ or injury. They also acknowledge that the less you drink the lower your risk of harm from alcohol is. So, what can you do to reduce your alcohol intake?
Firstly, you can visit your G.P. to discuss reducing your alcohol intake. They can help you with a plan of action, and assist you in managing withdrawal symptoms. They might suggest a plan that includes counseling and medication management.
Many people need extra incentives to help kick the habit. Something like Dry January, Feb Fast, or Dry July offers community engagement and encouragement. Some campaign to change the conversation about alcohol and/or to raise much-needed funds for causes.
Health Direct offers some great tips for cutting down your alcohol intake. Some of the great tips include drinking water before you drink alcohol. That way you’re quenching your thirst with water, and not trying to do so with a cold beer. You can also opt for water or a non-alcohol beverage between drinks. Also, finish your drink before you start another. Don’t let the restaurant staff top up your glass before you’re done. That way you can keep track of how many standard drinks you’re having. And also remember that a glass of wine or a beer is typically more than one standard drink.
Whatever your new year’s resolution goals are, setting healthier habits in 2021 will have you feeling better, whether it’s increasing your exercise, improving your diet, or reducing your alcohol intake.
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