The beginning of a new year is used as an opportunity for many to commit to making lifestyle changes. In order to build sustainable habits, it is important to consider not only the goal in mind but how you will achieve it as well.
Choose a specific goal. Rather than say “I would like to exercise more,” set specific parameters around the goal — how many times per week, how many minutes per session, what types of activities will I do, etc. Consider how realistic that goal is as well — it is okay to build up in small increments. It may not be realistic to exercise daily, however planning for a few days per week is a good place to start.
Think about the barriers. What stopped you from completing this goal sooner? If planning to walk after work, what will you do if it’s raining or snowing, or it’s dark outside? Are there other places you can walk or other types of ways to be active indoors? Thinking about what the potential barriers might be can help to establish solutions in advance.
Consider the logistics as well. When will you set aside time to focus on your activity? If weekends are busy and leave no time to grocery shop, is there a time during the workweek to shop and cook?
Once you have a goal in mind, plan how you will implement this goal. Does an exercise goal require specific shoes or a workout space? An app or online resource to guide activity? Does meal preparation require a list of ideas or recipes? Start to gather the necessary tools to enable you to work at your goal.
If you have everything in place — start right now! If you have made up your mind about a realistic goal, there is no reason to wait.
Maintaining a healthy weight can have an amazingly positive effect on your life. Diet, nutrition, sleep, exercise, and even stress can all play into your health and well-being. Whether you’re overweight, underweight, or at your optimal BMI, not fueling your body with the right nutrients can have a negative impact on your overall health. The Virginia Women’s Center Health & Wellness Team can help you achieve your goals.