Every year, by the time late December rolls around, hundreds and hundreds of men and women vow to lose weight -- or at least get healthier. You are, more than likely, one of these people. Yet, two weeks into January, your motivation plummets, and by February, you've forgotten all about your New Year's resolution.
In a Her Campus article, Hannah Orenstein explores a few ways that you can keep your health resolutions all year long.
We're all too familiar with the common New Year's phenomenon: As you watch the ball drop, you vow to maintain a 20 foot distance from all carbs and dedicate the rest of your life to the treadmill. But by the first week of January, your pasta cravings are becoming hard to ignore and you skip more than a few days at the gym. By the middle of the month, you indulge in bagels on a daily basis and your sneakers have collected dust. Sounds familiar, doesn't it? According to Psychology Today, the top two most common New Year's resolutions are to lose weight and exercise more often. It's no surprise that these lofty, vague goals are often not fulfilled by the end of the year, which can easily make you feel like a failure. Rather than setting yourself up for potential disappointment, start 2011 off on the right foot by making a healthy New Year's resolution that you can actually keep.
Here are seven suggestions for realistic, attainable resolutions that you might actually enjoy keeping:
Who should try it: Have you always wanted to learn to kickbox? Are you interested in trying out that hot yoga class your friends are all raving about? Sign up for a new class if you're ready to shake up your exercise routine or would benefit from the social aspect of a group class. How to keep it: Enroll in the class and mark it on your calendar to remind yourself to go back week after week. Once it becomes part of your routine, it's easy to work up the motivation to hit the gym. As an added bonus, a class is a great way to meet new people. (Feeling shy on the first day? Enlist a friend to work out with you.)
Who should try it: Everyone! Your mom was right when she told you to eat your veggies. According to the Center for Disease Control, you need two servings of fruits and three servings of vegetables per day. How to keep it: Grab-and-go fruits like apples and bananas make great snacks because they don't require any preparation, aren't messy and don't need to be refrigerated, so keep a few in your dorm room. In the dining hall, head to the salad bar. Opt for dark, leafy greens instead of iceberg lettuce (which is composed of mostly water and doesn't have many nutrients) and fill up on a variety of vegetables.
Who should try it: Pressed for time? This resolution is for you. How to keep it: You can burn calories and tone your muscles without going to the gym. Rather than riding the escalator or elevator, take the stairs. Instead of taking the closest parking spot, park farther away and walk. Here are more ways to fit exercise into your day.
Who should try it: If you have trouble working up the motivation to go to the gym by yourself, a workout buddy can help you stay on track. How to keep it: Find a workout buddy by asking your friends, emailing out over sorority or extra-curricular list-servs, and posting on Facebook and Twitter. Look for a buddy with similar fitness goals and create a schedule that works for both of you. Keep in touch with him or her to ensure you both hit the gym on a regular basis. Once you're at the gym, challenge your buddy to do an extra set of reps on the weight machines or spend another five minutes on the treadmill. Rachel Kossman, a Her Campus Contributing Writer and student at Northeastern, says some friendly competition keeps her motivated. "Sometimes, when I work out on my own I'm tempted to give up earlier than I usually would. Having a friend next to me on the elliptical encourages me to keep pushing myself."
Who should try it: All you stressed out, over-worked students juggling a full course load, 12 extracurriculars and an internship, I'm looking at you. How to keep it: Catching a few extra z's can be difficult, so try out a few of these strategies: Go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day, develop a relaxing pre-sleep routine (for example, reading for 20 minutes before bed) that will signal your body that it's time to rest, and avoid caffeine after noon. Find out more tips to getting more sleep.
Who should try it: Starbucks addicts and soda drinkers. While the occasional white chocolate mocha or diet coke won't kill you, downing sugary drinks on a regular basis can lead to obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay, among other problems. How to keep it: Set a limit of one or two sugary drinks per week. Carry a refillable water bottle throughout the day and sip on that instead. If you're still craving the carbonation of soda, try switching to seltzer.
Who should try it: Have you ever refused to try on a certain size because you thought it was "too big" for you? This resolution will be a good challenge. How to keep it: Keep in mind that sizing changes from brand to brand; just because you wear a six at Forever 21 doesn't mean you wear a six at H&M. It's good to let go of any preconceived notions about what size you "should" be wearing. When you're shopping, take a few different sizes of the same item into the dressing room and try them on without looking at the tags. Finally, remember that you're not defined by numbers -- be it size, weight, bra size or something else. Wear what fits and what makes you feel good, regardless of what the tag might say!
Are you inspired to make a healthy resolution this year? The "me movement" is a pledge to enjoy the holiday season while staying healthy. Founder Rebecca Scritchfield explains, "The me movement is all about good self care and meeting our own health and wellness needs. It's a reminder that when we put our needs first, we can better care for others and we can perform our own day to day tasks with more energy and positivity." The movement focuses on making healthy New Year's resolutions, whether they're one of the resolutions we've featured here or one of your own choosing. Scritchfield recommends that your resolutions should "look more like goals, be specific, measurable and have a plan; be realistic and attainable; be positive and caring toward yourself."
Instead of making the same old "lose five pounds" resolution year after year, make 2011 the year you take charge and form a healthy resolution. Which of these seven are you most excited to try? Leave a comment below and let us know!
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