Black Mountain with New Years RainbowEvery year, most of us look at what we have accomplished last year and make lists of what we would like to accomplish in the fresh new year.

Many times health goals are on the top of the list. This is a great time to join Cheshire Fitness Club. Health goals are great yet changing habits are key to maintaining your health goals.

“We are what we repeatedly do.

Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”  Aristotle

Old habits die hard. Changing your habits is a process involving several stages. Sometimes it takes a while before changes turn into new habits. You may face challenges along the way.

But adopting new, healthier habits may protect you from serious health problems, such as diabetes. New habits may also help you look better and feel more energetic. After a while, if you stick with these changes, they may become a part of your daily routine.

This fact sheet offers strategies to help you improve your eating and physical activity habits and outlines four stages people may experience when changing a health behavior which include:

  • Contemplation
  • Preparation
  • Action
  • Maintenance

Whether you feel like change is a world away or just around the corner, this fact sheet can help you move closer to your healthy eating and physical activity goals.

Contemplation

Making the leap from thinking about change to taking action can be hard. Asking yourself about the pros (benefits) and cons (things that get in the way) of changing your habits may be helpful. Look at the lists below. Check off the items that you believe are true for you. Feel free to add others that you think are important.

How would life be better if you made some changes? Think about how the benefits of physical activity or healthy eating might relate to your personal life.

Think about your goals and what you would like to gain from a new habit of exercise.

Preparation

If you are in the preparation stage, you are about to take action. How can you make a plan and move to action? How can you change your schedule so that you can fit in exercise if not every day then at least three times per week.

Action

You are making real changes to your lifestyle, which is fantastic. To stick with your habits, it is helpful to look at how you are doing, overcome your setbacks, and reward yourself for your hard work. Remember, it takes at least 30 days for a habit to feel normal.

Setting up a schedule for exercise and sticking to it is key.

Track your progress through a physical activity log or healthy exercise  journal. This can help you identify your strengths, spot areas where you can improve, and stay on course. You need to record not only what you did, but how you felt while doing it—your feelings can play a role in your habits.

Remember that a slip-up does not mean you have failed. All of us experience setbacks. Focus on each step you take to reach your goal.

Here are some vital health tips:

1. Get Enough Sleep

Sleep is a non-negotiable for health. Sleep helps the body restore and heal, is vital for hormone production, improves mood, aids weight loss and more. In short, if you aren’t sleeping, you aren’t healthy.

Sleep is also free and this is a pretty simple change to make if you commit to it. Granted, some people do have trouble falling or staying asleep, but there are often simple remedies to help with this as well.

2. Drink Water

Water is also necessary for digestion, mental health, removal of toxins and more.

3.  Reduce Stress

Stress can do more to hurt you health than any cheat day ever could. Of course, adding “reduce stress” to your to-do list isn’t going to help much.

Consider taking up daily prayer/meditation. Find the source of your stress and address it. Get regular exercise.

4. Move

Focusing on just moving! Movement is (or definitely should be) a normal part of human life, yet many of us aren’t getting enough of it. Movement should also be functional. Endless reps on an exercise machine don’t mean anything if they aren’t helping improve your daily life.

Focus on movements that are useful, such as:

  • Lifting heavy objects- useful if you ever need to carry someone out of a dangerous situation (house fire, car accident, etc) or move an object without help.
  • Sprinting- useful if you need to escape a bad situation, rabid dog, or other threat. Running a consecutive 26 miles probably won’t be as helpful here but the ability to do a solid 100 meter sprint is vital.
  • Walking – In the past, humans have moved a lot more than we do these days. Walking is good for posture, digestion and bone health. Do it.
  • Swimming- Great for overall health and lung capacity, but also useful if you ever fall in to a body of water and need to be able to get out of it.

5. Volunteer

  • Volunteering is a great activity to do as a family. It teaches children (and adults) to think of others. Not only is it free, it benefits the community. volunteer with local home building projects, food banks, community clean-up efforts, nursing homes, animal shelters or other venues.

Author/Photo Credit: Gina Palermo MacFarland with Pro Motion Online, Inc.

Credits: Weight Control Information Network, Wellness Mama

 

 

By | 2016-11-12T10:52:40+00:00 December 30th, 2013|Categories: Uncategorized|