Start 2023 Right - Get Fit and Healthy for the New Year
Are you ready to start 2023 off on the right foot? As another year passes, are you determined to make meaningful changes in your life and develop healthier habits?
If so, getting fit and healthy this coming new year could be the best plan for achieving your goals.
From improving your physical health to giving yourself a boost in energy and confidence, making an effort towards fitness can provide many benefits - and with a few smart strategies, anyone can get started.
Read on to learn about some of the key steps for tackling health and fitness this New Year:
Slow & Steady Wins The Race
For years, we have been sold the idea that the quickest way to get fit is through fixes; vast majority of which turned out to be flashy fad diets and extreme workout plans. But the truth is that significant and sustainable progress comes from taking small, achievable steps.
Creating a manageable routine of activities and healthy eating habits can help you stay on track without getting overwhelmed or discouraged. No one is asking you to become a fitness guru overnight; start small and work your way up!
Set Goals & Track Your Progress
Many people don't seem to realise the importance of goal setting, tracking and how these can be incredibly powerful tools for success.
You get a front-row-seat view into what's working, what isn't, and how to adjust your plan for better results.
It also serves as a great reminder when things inevitably begin to slow that you've made progress and you can continue to do so - with the right attitude.
Set "Realistic" Goals
We all have that dream of waking up one day in the "perfect" body, and the truth is, those dream are great to have... The problem comes when we forget about the part in the middle; the actual doing of the work to get us to that stage.
It's important to set realistic goals for yourself. Don't expect to achieve the body of a supermodel in two weeks flat - that's not how the world works!
Set achievable objectives, and track your progress against them as you go.
Stay Active Anywhere, Anytime
Getting fit is not just crushing it in the gym to then go home and flake out on the couch! Staying active can happen anywhere, any time. If you don't have the money or resources for a gym membership, there are loads of at-home workouts - even apps to choose from; meaning you can work out literally anytime and anywhere!
The great thing about exercise is that once it becomes part of your daily routine, it's hard to go back; muscle memory stays in your for a lot longer than most of us have been told and having the odd days of skipping workouts or doing something that you wouldn't ordinarily will not wreck your fitness or send you back to the Dark Ages.
The key is movement, in any way you can - that means walking a little further from where you parked your car, taking the stairs instead of the lift... maybe even doing household chores. It ALL counts!
Try Different Types of Exercise
If you don't love the idea of getting on the treadmill, don't! There are plenty of activities that can help you get fit and healthy - so find one that you actually enjoy.
From dancing to martial arts, there's a whole range of options out there; try something new and take it from there.
Exercise doesn't have to always be sweaty or strenuous - sometimes just practising a few stretches or even opt for a relaxing yoga session can also be beneficial to your health too.
Combine Different Types Of Training
For those who already have a solid workout routine but are looking for something a little extra, a great way to mix things up is by combining different types of training.
For example, if you're already doing strength training and cardio workouts - why not add in some HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) or even Pilates? It's a great way to challenge not just your body but your mind, stay motivated and make progress.
Push Your Comfort Zone
Ah, enemy #1 - the good ol' zone of comfort...! Your brain is designed to protect you in any way it can and is always on the lookout for any threats, real or perceived.
When it comes to fitness and getting healthy, pushing your comfort zone is key; because that's where growth happens!
It going to be a bit uncomfortable at first, let's face it - but if someone told you progress was easy, they'd be lying... Remember to take it one step at a time, keep going and don't give up.
Seek Out Supportive People
"No man is an island" (John Donne, 17th century) - much as we sometimes feel like we are alone it's always great to have the support of a network of people around us.
True support is invaluable because, let's be honest; not everyone will 'get' your fitness goals or be on board with what you're trying to achieve. Some may even go as far as sabotaging you under the guise of trying to help... More often than not, that is a them-problem, rather than yours!
Surround yourself with people who believe in you and want the best for you - they'll be a great source of motivation, encouragement and even advice when needed.
Track Progress Beyond the Numbers
At the risk of treading on anyone's toes - Health is not just about numbers!
It's true, the scale will tell you how much you weigh and the measuring tape can tell you your waist size; but it won't tell you how strong or flexible you are.
You don't necessarily have to log every single exercise session and food intake daily - but do take stock of where you are now, compared to your starting point and acknowledge the progress made thus far.
Making a conscious effort to track progress will help you stay focused, motivated and on top of your game; whether that be running faster, lifting heavier weights or simply feeling healthier.
Harness Technology To Achieve Goals
There are so many digital ways of tracking progress and setting goals - apps, watches, fitness trackers of all sorts to name a few.
Using technology can help you stay on top of all the little things that count towards your overall goal, such as steps taken per day or even food intake; all this data can help you make better decisions when it comes to health and wellbeing.
Even the reminders that you are able to set via these apps become invaluable in helping you stay on task.
Focus On Habits Rather Than Calories
“You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems.” James Clear - Atomic Habits.
Building better habits around health, wellbeing and fitness is often the missing link towards achieving your goals.
Focusing on the bigger picture rather than individual tasks makes it easier to track progress long-term; create systems that support you and make sure you stay consistent.
By understanding how habits work, you can start to build better ones that are sustainable in the long term.
Be Mindful Of Your Inner Dialogue
We all know it's important to surround ourselves with good people, however, we often forget how important it is to be our own best friend too.
Having a positive mindset is key towards achieving any goal, and it’s something you can work on every day.
When the Sh*tty Committee starts that negative talk, remember: You're not requuired to listen to them! They are rarely right and more often than not, they speak from a place of fear.
Take the time to be mindful of your inner dialogue and practice self-love instead - keep going, you got this; because you do.
Plan Ahead For Healthy Meals
Meal-prepping has become increasingly popular in recent years; for good reason; it makes your life a whole lot easier, saves you money and ensures that you have healthy meals ready to go.
Many people fall off the wagon so to speak because they don't plan ahead and end up reaching for unhealthy, convenient options when short on time or energy.
Having everything pre-prepared takes the guess-work out of it, and makes sure you’re eating healthy with minimal effort.
Don't Let Temptation Derail You
For those who share their home with others (partner/children/room-mates, etc.), it's important to note that temptation can be quite strong.
It may feel like you have no control over what passes through your front door, but you do have the power to choose what goes into your body and if that means setting boundaries, don't be afraid to politely ask people to respect those - unless it's something you've pre-planned as part of your diet.
Be Aware of Your Snack Intake
Snacking can be the death-knell to any fitness journey; it's far too easy to consume a large number of calories before you even realise what's happening...
It’s important to be conscious of what snacks you are consuming and when, as well as portion control - your body will thank you for it in the long-term!
Opt for healthier alternatives such as plain yoghurt with some fresh fruit, trail mix or raw nuts instead of processed, sugary snacks.
Be mindful of the sugar- and fat-free brigade, too: Just because it says it's better for you, doesn't mean it's true - the food industry can be very tricky in this regard. Keep an eye on the labels before you buy anything - the small print will usually tell you everything you need to know!
At the risk of sounding like a broken record (especially on the heels of another New Year's Eve blowout), water is essential to life, and it should be no different when it comes to staying fit and healthy, so make sure that you're drinking enough of it!
If plain water isn't your thing, why not try adding some fresh fruit or herbs for flavour?
Drinking enough water will help your body function better in every capacity; it's important to keep an eye on your water intake on a daily basis.
Reduce Alcohol Intake
Alcohol has been linked to a plethora of health issues, so it's no wonder that healthcare professionals encourage us to reduce our intake.
Alcohol is also packed with empty calories, which can easily stack up over time if you're not careful.
The beginning of a new year and another trip around the sun brings out the best of intentions in a lot of us.
You can make small, steady changes to your lifestyle habits that will pay off in the long run. You don't have to overhaul everything at once - take it slow and focus on one thing at a time.
While you may be anxious to see results from your fitness journey immediately, it’s important to remember that change takes time. So be kind to yourself, focus on all that you have achieved thus far and be proud of your progress!
Start 2023 right and get fit and healthy for the new year - it's never too late to start taking better care of yourself. Make small changes each day, plan ahead and don't forget to include a few treats (they don't have to be food-related) here and there.
With some patience, practice and planning, you'll be well on your way to achieving a healthier lifestyle.
Happy New Year!