The changing of the seasons is a time to reevaluate our fitness goals. Many times, we put off lifestyle changes until the new year. But there is no better time to start creating healthy habits than right now.
Making changes in your lifestyle doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the downtime and comfort food that come with the holiday season. All-or-nothing thinking is not conducive to lasting health behavior change.
1. Find activities you enjoy
A healthy lifestyle is more than just monitoring your weight and eating nutritious foods.
Stress management is a key component to lowering cortisone levels, balancing hormones, and getting restful sleep.
Find activities that bring you joy and implement them in your daily routine. Identify both active and restorative hobbies that you can engage in and alternate them daily.
For example, categorize any activity that gets your heart rate up such as hiking, trail-running, or yoga as active hobbies. Using coloring-books, completing crossword puzzles, or knitting would be classified as restorative hobbies.
Start simple and use resources already at your disposable. Remember, you don’t need to purchase anything or drastically alter your routine to begin cultivating healthy lifestyle habits.
2. Time management
Plan out your week ahead of time and identify where you have free time.
Try to stay within a specific timeframe each day that way, taking time to better yourself becomes second nature.
You don’t need to spend hours at a time working towards your goals to make a change.
Even just half an hour a day of these active and restorative habits can make a significant difference in your quality of life and overall sense of well-being.
3. Change it up
If you start off by marking time spent lifting weights as your active hobby, switch to an outdoor or cardio-based activity after a few weeks.
Try new styles of working out and in different places. This could mean working out in your backyard instead of your basement or switching out running for tai-chi.
If you’ve been crocheting as a part of your restorative practice, consider a new method of expressing your creativity that you’ve never tried before.
Let go of the idea that you need to be an expert at your hobbies. The goal should be to have fun and engage in activities that enhance your health.
4. Take an inventory of your current habits
Be honest with yourself and notice if any of your current habits are actively working against your new goal of making healthy lifestyle changes.
Perhaps you consume an exorbitant amount of sugar or are on your electronic devices late into the night.
Simply observe and identify these habits in a non-judgmental manner before asking yourself if you’re ready to change them.
If you’re not, consider what you would need to be ready to make these changes, whether that be more information, social support, or a professional’s assistance.
Come up with a plan to manage these issues.
Remember, the changes you make should be gradual and sustainable. If you take a paced approach you could be well on your way to achieving your goals by the time January 1st rolls around.