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New Year, Same You–Only Better

Composite image of this year i am going to

If you’re like most people, you spent the holidays overindulging and are looking ahead to the New Year as a chance to return to (or perhaps begin) healthy habits. Having a game plan going into the New Year can help you hit the ground running—pun intended—so read on for tips to make lasting changes that you’ll be celebrating come next New Year’s Eve.

While the symbolic meaning of starting over as a new year begins can be motivating, this time of year also presents its own challenges that can hinder even the most resolute among us. If you aspire to workout more, make a plan for those days when the weather isn’t cooperating. Too cold temperatures or rain can make it easy to forego your daily run or walk, so have a few dvds on hand or YouTube a free circuit workout and forget your excuses. Most gyms offer great pricing specials to reel in new members, so consider joining one (preferably with a friend and a location on the way to or from work) if you haven’t had success with previous attempts with at-home workouts.  Colds, the flu and other nasty viruses can also derail your plans to eat healthy and workout. One of the most important things to remember about setting goals is to accept that you will not be perfect 100% of the time. Acknowledging there will be slip-ups and challenges along the way will keep you from throwing in the towel when your resolutions have to take a backseat for a few days. So you can’t cook at home or workout as much as you’d like because of family or work obligations or because you are nursing an illness. Just do the best you can—only eat half of your entrée at dinner, do squats and lunges for 5 minutes before bed, or be ok with going for a bike ride instead of your favorite spin class.

The best resolutions are specific and realistic. Don’t just say you want to lose weight or eat healthier. Aim to lose 5 lbs each month for the next 6 months, set a workout goal of 3 times a week (2 cardio sessions and one weight training) or cook at home and bring leftovers to work 4 days a week. Tell everyone you know about your goals so they can help hold you accountable. Even better, start a weight loss challenge at work or form a running group to train for a 5k. Knowing people are counting on you (or competing against you!) can be a terrific motivator.

Lastly, consider bringing in a professional. A personal trainer can help you develop challenging workouts you love and has the benefit of built-in accountability. A professional organizer can help you declutter your closets and de-stress your life. Cooking classes can teach you how to prepare healthier home-cooked meals. A doctor may be able to help you kick your cigarette habit. You get the idea.

Make this the year you stick to your resolutions. Do something different from what you’ve done in the past if it hasn’t worked for you. And don’t give up!

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