For many of us, a new year signifies a fresh start. This often means setting fitness resolutions to move towards our highest potential in terms of health and fitness, which is awesome!
However, when health and fitness resolutions are highly restrictive, or are too much of a sudden change from your former lifestyle, they’re often thrown aside after only a few weeks.
Regardless of what anyone says, I don’t believe this means you lack motivation! Instead, it means it’s time to rethink those goals.
To create real change, it’s important to make New Year’s resolutions that can be followed for life, and that uplift you rather than lead you to feeling deprived.
Here are my top 5 New Year’s resolutions you can actually keep.
1. Increase your whole food intake
Often, people set goals not to eat junk food, which only makes them focus more on junk food! They think about all the delicious things everyone else can eat, but they cannot, until they give up and launch themselves face-first into a mountain of Doritos.
An easier way to do it, rather than focus on what you cannot have, is to decide to increase the amount of whole foods you are consuming.
Whole foods are simply foods that are in their natural state when you purchase them, and have not been processed. They include fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains, meat, poultry and fish.
2. Move more!
You may have heard the new catchphrase going around: sitting is the new smoking. Yes, inactivity is that bad for us!
The good news is, setting an intention to move more can be as simple as buying a standing desk if you have a sedentary job, or parking the car a couple of blocks away from work each day.
Start where you can, and know that every positive change adds up.
Psst: My free Fit, Lean and Strong challenge starting on 4 January 2021 is another great way to increase your movement levels! Sign up to my newsletter before January 31 to be a part of it!
3. Get more sleep
We all know that sleep is fundamental to our health, and when our sleep isn’t in order, it can make any other health and fitness goals much more difficult to achieve.
In order to improve sleep quantity and quality, there are some simple things you can do, such as reducing the blue light from your computer and devices. Blue light can suppress the production of melatonin (sleep-inducing hormone), so filtering it out can help you sleep better.
To do this, you can purchase some eye glasses that filter out the blue light on your computer and phone at night. There are also free apps available both for Android and iPhone that do the same thing.
Setting an alarm an hour before bedtime to remind you that now is the time to turn off the TV and put away the mobile phone can also make a big difference!
Pick up a book instead, your overworked brain will thank you for it.
4. Go grocery shopping less, and go in the morning
We all know that it’s important to have a well-stocked fridge and pantry in order to prepare delicious, healthy meals! But many people who do their groceries in the evening, or straight after a hard day’s work, find themselves more likely to be tempted by the junk food aisle.
If possible, make a New Year’s resolution to go to the supermarket on a set day each week, with a prepared list, in the morning. If you do decide to get yourself some treats, I’m not suggesting you should feel guilty about it. But for most people, at this time of day they’re far less likely to go over the top!
5. Cut back on empty calories in drinks
Yes, this means reducing sugary beverages and alcohol, but you don’t have to eliminate them!
You can make small, sustainable changes like reducing the sugar in your coffee from two teaspoons to one, or from one teaspoon to a half teaspoon. It really does make a difference!
If you’re a fizzy drink lover, you can replace those sugary drinks with Kombutcha. Some brands are better than others (I like Remedy), and while it may take some getting used to, you’ll eventually love it!
While alcohol can fit into a healthy diet, too much is not only bad for your health, but the excess calories can really add up.
An attainable goal in terms of alcohol really depends on where you’re currently at, but one simple technique is to simply drink a cup of water after every alcoholic drink.
Switching to light beer instead of full strength, and using low-calorie mixers for spirits such as soda water with a dash of lime, can also be helpful.
Remember that small changes are the ones most likely to last.
The bottom line
While most New Year’s resolutions are only kept for a short period, healthy resolutions that are realistic and sustainable can help you reshape your life in the long-term, and improve your health and fitness.
If you like any of these New Years Resolution ideas, let me know which ones you’re going to implement! (Perhaps you have fitness resolutions I haven’t included on this list, I want to hear those, too!).
All the best for the New Year! Let’s do this!