It’s September. Do you know where your New Year’s resolutions are? By now, most people have given up on hopes of improving their health habits for 2016. But there’s still time. Labor Day has come and gone, and Fall is in the air. Take advantage of the cooler temperatures and a return to routine to refresh your vows to eat better, exercise more, and get enough sleep.
Think better, not perfect. Old habits die hard, and new ones are tough to establish. It’s really no wonder you haven’t been able to work out every day, snack on nuts or fruit instead of chips, and get eight hours of sleep, especially if you’re trying to do all of them at once (see below). Focus on partial success instead of perfection. For example, exercising two times a week is better than none, and it’s a step in the right direction that could lead to more physical activity.
Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Change requires mental energy, also called willpower, and you only have so much of that to go around. Trying to change too many behaviors at the same time eats away at your resolve and makes you want to give up. Pick one new healthy habit to focus on. Research shows that cultivating one healthy habit leads to other healthy habits.
Stay positive. Whatever you choose to change, make your goal inclusive. For example, instead of promising you’ll cut out all cookies, cake, and ice cream, focus on including five servings of fruits and vegetables every day. No food is completely off limits, but you may be too full of produce to eat the higher-calorie kinds that offer little in the way of nutrition.
Make mini-goals. Back in January, you thought big, like vowing to lose 25 pounds this year. It’s OK to want to lose that much weight, but you may want to re-think your tactics. For example, take baby steps to get what you want. Try to lose just five pounds for now, then think about losing five more.
Never give up trying to do better. You are a work in progress! Perfection is out of the question and completely unnecessary. You may not be where you want to be right now with your lifestyle, but that doesn’t mean you’ll never get there. There’s always more time to do better.