It's that time of the year ... That is, the end of the year, when we're thinking of fresh starts and New Year's resolutions.
Or maybe not.
You may want to lose weight, get fit and eat healthy—but sometimes New Year's resolutions seem a bit lofty with busy schedules packed with commitments.
You may start the year off strong—with a spring in your step, even—and then lose endurance halfway through January.
You're not alone.
Consider these seven tips for setting and achieving realistic New Year's wellness goals.
Resolutions to "lose weight" and "get fit" and "eat healthy" are difficult to track and measure. Goals should be specific, so you know when you've achieved them.
Rather than resolving to "work out more this year," commit to working out three days a week, for at least 30 minutes. Rather than resolving to "eat healthier," commit to eating one leafy green or vegetable with your lunch and dinner each day.
Forming habits are important to achieving goals, and habits take time. Whether you want to lose weight or eat healthier, you need to schedule time in your day to make it happen. Make room in your schedule for exercise, shopping or meal preparation—and then mark it on the calendar. Make an appointment. Set it as a priority, just as you would for work or one of the kid's extracurricular activities.
A few weeks before the new year is a good time to troubleshoot your schedule. Find out if you have any stumbling blocks, and make the necessary adjustments.
Find a community.
Sometimes, you just need people to keep you accountable. Do you have a friend who is interested in joining you on one of your wellness goals? Is there a class or group you could join?
Your goals don't have to be the same as the people around you, but you could still work together to help one another achieve them.
Goals can be daunting—especially if you want to lose weight, get fit and eat healthy. You don't have to tackle everything at once. Start small and narrow, and then branch out a few months into the year.
Figure out exactly what motivates you: Is it progress? Community? Feeling better?
Whatever motivates you will help you get the job done, so make sure that's accessible. It could be a cool new blender for smoothies, running shoes or an exercise instructor.
Make a Plan B.
Sh-tuff happens. You might get tied up at work and miss a workout, or lose the time you need to make a healthy meal.
Don't let a slip up become an excuse to ditch your goals altogether. Better yet? Don't wait until you stumble to figure out a recovery plan. Make a plan now, like finding a way to order in healthy food, or a day you could reschedule a missed workout.
Commit to a little ... less?
Too busy for New Year's resolutions? Sometimes meeting a new goal and making time in your schedule means cutting something else out. For instance, do you scroll through social media before bed? Limit your time, or cut it out completely.
Written by Cassie Westrate, staff writer for West Michigan Woman.