When it comes to New Year’s Resolutions, two goals always seem to make it onto everyone’s lists: eat healthier and exercise more. While they’re are commendable resolutions, they are also hard to keep.
This year, increase your chances of success by creating a workout plan and writing it down. If you have clear objectives, you will be more likely to follow through.
If you want to exercise more in 2009, decide what you are going to do, when you are going to do it, and for how long. The Society recommends adults get at least 30 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity on 5 or more days a week; 45 minutes to an hour is ideal.
To eat better, follow the American Cancer Society’s guidelines and keep track of how well you are doing in a food diary. Get 5 or more servings of a variety of vegetables and fruits everyday, choose whole grains over processed grains, limit intake of processed and red meats, and watch portion sizes.
Here are some more tips to help you stay on track:
1. Make One Small Change Each Day. If getting in 5 fruits and vegetables everyday sounds daunting, start by eating just one apple a day until it feels effortless. The next week, try adding a small side salad to your lunch menu. Keep going until you have hit 5 a day.
2. Anticipate Situations That Might Lead You Astray. If your evening workout constantly gets sabotaged by dinner plans, carve out time in the morning instead. Or, if you are habitually at the vending machine because you are short on time, keep healthy snacks at your desk or in your purse.
3. Stay Motivated by Focusing on Immediate Benefits. Not seeing 6-pack abs yet? Focus instead on the ways exercise is already making you feel better, such as having more energy.
* The American Cancer Society’s Healthy Living Newsletter, January 2009.