Now just last week I posted an article about College New Year Resolutions, and not surprisingly, one of them was to get healthy. Now I get it; college is a huge life step, so why not make the best of it? Plus, since you’re not in high school anymore, this is your chance to create a new identity. It’s a new year, a new career path (you may even be starting your first semester of school in a few days) so why not start off by making yourself the healthiest ‘you’ you can be? I thought so.
But before you start off on some crazy plan (I’m going to run 14 miles a day!) and then quickly abandon it (as an avid runner even I can’t commit to running 14 miles a day), let’s get a few more useful habits into place.
1.) Clarify what and why you want to change. If you think the only thing keeping you from being happy is your weight, you’re wrong. There are a lot of factors that determining your happiness and you need to address all of them. That means that by “getting healthy”, you also need to address your mental state of mind. Are you stuck in a dead-end relationship? Do something about it. Are you constantly getting taken advantage of people? Make a change. Your physical appearance, contrary to popular opinion, has nothing to do with these two things. Your weight does not determine your self-worth.
2.) Address all areas of your health. That means not just exercising more often, but watching what you eat, making sure you’re drinking enough water, getting enough sleep, managing stress better and being more aware of your mental health. All of these things combined create a healthy identity, not just one or two on their own.
3.) Be specific, and write it down. You want to work out more? Great! How much? How often? Don’t just say “more”; make a goal. Two times a week? Three times a week? An hour each time? Write that down. Or maybe it’s a fitness goal, like you want to run a 5k by the end of the month. Write that down. Maybe you want to learn how to cook and decrease the amount of meals you eat out by 50%; leaving only three times during the week where you will eat out. Write that down.
4.) Be ready for set-backs. Research shows that habits are never actually broken; they are just replaced by stronger habits. You are never actually going to lose your sweet tooth, but you will become much better about giving into it all the time. Now keep in mind, research also says that it takes roughly three weeks straight for a new habit to start becoming second nature. That means if you abandon your goals by the second week, you really haven’t even given yourself a fighting chance! So if you miss the gym one day don’t sweat it, just go the next day. Gradually, you will be able to make a change.
5.) Keep things interesting. I mentioned earlier that I’m a runner. One of my goals every year is to run 365 miles by the end of the year (1 mile per day). However, I also know that I don’t run on treadmills. I get bored and frustrated. Outside I can run 10 miles, but on a treadmill I barely make it 2 miles before I move on to something else. If I relied on treadmills there’s no way I’d reach my goal, but by creating routes around my house I’m much more likely to stick to my plan.
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What are some ways you plan on being more healthy this year?