Whether it’s the beginning of a new year or a few weeks before the summer – there’s always the push to eat healthy and get into better shape. But even worse is the struggle to dedicate yourself to a solid plan, and stick with it on a day-to-day basis. Counting the New Year alone, only 8% of the American population manage to keep their New Year’s Resolutions throughout the entire year (myself included). And unsurprisingly, 3 out of the top 10 resolutions are about health – with losing weight coming in at #1.
These are some pretty disheartening statistics right?
There is a really easy way to get around this: change your mindset instead of just your goals. We all have a natural, innate willpower to align ourselves with our larger, more beneficial values. Stanford University Professor Kelly McGonigal discusses this at length with TED. Use your willpower to push yourself into a healthy eating plan by deciding on what you really want to get out of eating better. This will only happen when you decide exactly why you want to become healthy, and turn it into a goal you’re excited for, instead of a commitment that you’re grudgingly trying to complete. Here are a few tips to get you started:
- Take it one step at a time: There are two things in this world that can’t be completed in a day – Rome and your brand new diet plan. It’s perfectly fine to take some time and learn of the new ways you can promote healthy eating habits. And once you do, look for small ways you can break up those tasks. For example, make March the month where you drink a full glass of water every day, or prepare to sign up for weekly Zumba classes in June. If you’re looking for ideas, a healthy eating and nutrition startup in Philadelphia has a list of small ways you can improve your healthy eating habits as a starting point.
- Read up on the benefits of healthy eating: While there are plenty of benefits to healthy eating overall, plant-based eating is stated to have a number of positive benefits. From preserving the environment, lowering blood pressure, and decreasing weight, there are a host of reasons to try it. What’s important is that you find the one that will motivate you to stick with it.
- Become accountable to someone: The best way to stick to a goal is to have a friend, spouse, or family member hold you accountable. Essentially, let peer pressure work in your favor to stay healthy. Alternatively, bring that person along for the ride and push each other to become more fit, better eaters, or any goal that you are looking to accomplish. Make your new goal fun by including others on the path to living healthy lifestyles.
- Think long-term: What will be the benefits of healthy eating for you? Think 1, 3, 5 years down the road and decide what you hope to accomplish. If it’s maintaining a certain weight, visualize how great you’ll look in the future. If it happens to be reducing disease, envision spending time with your loved ones and being as healthy and positive as possible. Many of us work best when we picture our goals, so take the time to create a visual mental image of what you want to occur in the long term.
It doesn’t have to be January 1st to start creating healthy eating plans, so be sure to find different ways and opportunities to improve your health! What other ways do suggest for sticking to a healthy eating plan?