Ask Heidi Corbett: How Can I Make My Health Resolutions Stick This Year?
On January 1st, many of us have an ambitious list of health resolutions. Too often, those good intentions fall by the wayside over time. Performance specialist Heidi Corbett has some suggestions to help keep your resolutions on track as the months go by.
“New Year’s resolutions are wonderful,” says Summit performance specialist Heidi Corbett. “If you are like me, you tend to have an ultimate goal. Perhaps you want to lose 50 pounds, or run a marathon, or travel to Thailand. Any of those goals are great, but sticking with them as the months go by is tough. I’ve got some tips that might help.”
- Break your big goal into a succession of small goals. “Losing 50 pounds is a big goal,” says Heidi. “We reach every goal one little step at a time. In week one of January, ask yourself what you are going to do—this week—to get closer to your goal. Think small. Maybe you’ll commit to going to the gym once. Maybe you’ll drink one less soda this week. Keep those steps small and manageable, and monitor your progress every couple of weeks. We build on small victories to create lasting changes that will make us successful over time.”
- When you are designing those small steps, be sure that they make sense in your lifestyle. “The diet or exercise regime that worked for your neighbor isn’t necessarily going to work in your lifestyle,” Heidi cautions. “Be mindful about how you live, and about the choices that work for you. If you don’t have the patience or desire to drink a kale smoothie for breakfast every morning, that’s not a step you are going to stick with!”
- Forgive yourself. “No one is perfect,” says Heidi. “A lot of us do well with our resolutions for a few weeks—and then something happens. When you fall, get back up, and start again. Falling isn’t the end of the world. These are the times when those small steps support you, because they help you to create habits, like drinking less soda. Those habits make it easier to reclaim ground when you falter.”
- Choose an accountability partner. “This could be a family member, coworker, personal trainer, or friend,” explains Heidi. “Let them know what your goals are and what you are working toward. Ask for help to stay on track, and have your partner check in on you. This can be a great source of support.”
- Get enough sleep. “Sleep has a huge effect on overall well-being,” says Heidi. “You need rest if you want to stay on top of your game. Research tells us that adults should have seven to nine hours of sleep every night.”
- Manage your stress. “We live in a fast-paced world, and that can be stressful,” says Heidi. “If you feel pressured, try managing stress with exercise, meditation, or breathing exercises. Meditation and breathing are great “on the spot” steps you can take to combat stress. You can download free meditation apps on your phone—they’ll walk you through a guided meditation. Or try square breathing: you inhale for a count of four, hold your breath for a count of four, exhale for a count of four, hold for another four. Both options are immediate, and easy for beginners to try.”
- While you are caring for the people in your life, don’t forget to take care of yourself too. “Self-care is part of a healthy lifestyle,” says Heidi. “Get a massage. Get your hair done. Take a nap. Have a manicure, go shopping, have a glass of wine with your friends; reserve time for the activities that give you joy.”
Small steps can lead to big results. Trying just one of the tips on Heidi’s list can get you closer to realizing your ultimate health goals for 2017.
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