So it’s a new year—a new chance to try again at making and keeping resolutions that challenge us to better ourselves.
But do you ever make a lofty goal like “get healthy,” then become so overwhelmed by how big the goal seems and, by the second week of January, you’ve given up?
In 4 Keys to Meeting Your New Year’s Resolutions, we told you that one of the keys to meeting your resolutions is to create small goals. When you create small goals that are easier to accomplish, you’re less likely to give up. As this Forbes article notes, “You need momentum, and nothing builds momentum like getting a few wins under your belt.”
Set yourself up for success by setting goals that you can easily achieve. When you meet these small goals, you’ll be building habits that will slowly transform your health for the better.
But not sure what small goals to set?
Fear not, ladies and gents, we’ve got 3 health goals that anyone can achieve.
1. One Fruit. One Veggie. Every Day.
We all know that experts recommend 3 - 5 servings of fruit and veggies a day. But if your meal habits are primarily takeout and microwavable soups (it’s okay, we’ve all been there), suddenly trying to include 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day is sort of like showing up at a marathon when you can only run for maybe a half mile (on a good day).
So instead of going all in all at once, just try to fit in one fruit and one vegetable each day: grab a banana for your mid-morning snack and pack sliced bell pepper for your afternoon slump. Looking for a quick side dish? Season with salt and pepper broccoli florets on a lined baking sheet and broil in the oven for 10 minutes, flip broccoli, and broil for another 10 minutes. Boom. Easy, cheap, and it actually tastes good.
2. One Class or Trip to the Gym Per Week.
It’s easy to go into the new year thinking that by ordering those new Lululemon leggings and signing up for that gym membership, you’ll suddenly be an exercise fiend, starting your mornings with yoga and ending your days with a trip to the gym.
Not so fast, friend.
While those goals are admirable, they are big, and as we discussed, going from zero to 100% is hard. According to a study cited in The Power of Habit (everyone should seriously go read this book), more than 40% of our daily actions aren’t active decisions, but habit. So when you’re looking to build new habits—like daily trips to the gym—you’re also rewiring your brain to break whatever old habit was keeping you from the gym in the first place.
The trick: start small.
So begin by picking one day a week to devote to some sort of exercise you either enjoy or want to try, whether that’s the Pure Barre class that looks fun or simply walking for 45 minutes on the treadmill in your apartment’s gym while you listen to your favorite podcast. If you’re still building exercise habits, we highly recommend you leave your home for this, as we all know how easy it is to say we’re going to come home and do that yoga DVD, only to get tempted by our comfy couch to binge Netflix instead.
So pull out your calendar (yes, right now!) and schedule one day this week to get out and get moving!
3. One less sugary drink each day.
When we’re deep into that report our department needs by the end of the week, we know how easy it is to just mindlessly grab a Coke from the breakroom and go hard at that Excel Sheet. And we know we don’t need to preach to you just how bad for your health sodas are—you already know, thanks very much.
But we’re not telling you to go cold turkey on your Coke (ahem, another of the 4 keys to meeting your resolutions). Take a moment to analyze your daily liquid intake; soda isn’t the only sugary beverage that sneaks into our days. Are you beginning your morning with a latte, sipping on a soda in the afternoon, and having yourself a glass of wine at night to unwind? Pick one of those sugary drinks every day, and replace it with water instead.
But you can be creative with your H2O intake: Instead of a latte, try green tea. Instead of soda, grab a sugar-free sparkling water, like La Croix. Instead of wine, go for water with fruit, like cucumber, added in for a flavor twist.
As you begin regularly meeting these smaller goals, you can begin to challenge yourself to bigger goals. Finding yourself looking forward to your Wednesday morning yoga class? Challenge yourself to two of those classes each week. Noticing that you have more energy now that you’re sipping on water and snacking on an apple for your mid-day snack? Try to replace two sugary drinks each day. It may be cliche to say but it’s true—when it comes to accomplishing our health goals, it’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon.
At Dallas Iron Fitness, we’re here to help you reach your goals—big and small. With in-person and online fitness training, we have the right program for your lifestyle.