Now that we’re a few months into the new year, how are your resolutions going? If they’ve fallen by the wayside, you’re not alone. Up to 80% of people drop theirs by the second week of February. But it is possible to get back into a health and wellness rhythm. In fact, according to YouGov.com, one-fourth of Americans who made 2022 New Year’s resolutions said they set a goal to live healthier. And, technically, every day (or week or month) you have a chance to start again if January 1 didn’t take.
“We all can have lofty fantasies of New Year’s resolutions,” Ashley Borden, master celebrity trainer, tells TZR in an email. “The problem with unrealistic resolutions is the self-punishment people dole out based on expectations that couldn’t have been attained in the first place. Then we are stressed out and back at square one!” Instead, she suggests taking a step back from your life to get an overview of what’s happening. Ask yourself one key question: Where do you really need the most help? “Chances are, most of us are not getting enough sleep and living in chaos,” she says. “When our house is in order and we are sleeping, it’s a fantastic positive trigger for the rest of your smaller goals. Start there.”
She adds that good health and wellness start from the top, literally. “Fitness (strength, mobility, and cardio) is forever the key to mental and physical wellness,” she says. “Having a routine of fitness (at any level) will leave you feeling more capable and confident. They feed into each other. So let go of beating yourself up for not achieving your unrealistic (or even realistic) goals you originally set. There is nowhere in the playbook that says we can’t go back and reassess.” So if you need a bit of motivation to reset your health and wellness goals, keep reading.
First, Understand What ‘Health & Wellness’ Encompass
Dietitian and Nutrition Coach Naria Le Mire says that before you can work on your health and wellness, it’s important to understand what that means. “The saying ‘good health and wellness’ refers to overall health,” she tells TZR in an email. “Many tend to think of health as one aspect, when in reality, it includes a massive amount of details. As I always explain to my clients, before focusing on nutrition, other habits — such as sleeping patterns, stress levels, and mental health — must be discussed. Otherwise, they may be putting ‘Band-aids’ on deep cuts that need surgical intervention.”
For example, someone may have great nutrition and physical activity habits, but may have high amounts of stress, she explains. And as research shows, stress can be a stepping stone for chronic diseases, including gastrointestinal conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and gut dysbiosis (an imbalance of gut microbiota). “Therefore, when trying to improve your health, focus on all aspects,” she says. “This is important because the ultimate goal should be to prevent chronic diseases and improve your quality of life now and for the future. Growing old with chronic diseases, compared to growing old without chronic conditions, will provide a drastic difference with your quality of life.”
Focus On One Step At A Time (Literally And Figuratively)
Le Mire says that as we head into spring, many people who created New Year’s resolutions may find themselves either with less motivation or perhaps have given up entirely — and even blame themselves for not continuing. “This is what can be called ‘the diet cycle’: high motivation followed by a decrease and, finally, disappointment and restart,” she says. “But simple techniques can be followed to help support your health and wellness goals. Simply, begin small and focus on one step at a time. This means avoid focusing on the actual goal — instead, focus on the thought, ‘What behaviors do I need to focus on today to achieve that goal?’”
Follow SMART Goals
When it comes to creating realistic goals, Le Mire recommends following SMART goals: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic (or Relevant), and Timely (or Time-Bound). “For example, if I want to improve my cardiovascular fitness, I may want to start by creating a SMART goal such as, ‘I'm going to cycle at least two times each week for 30 minutes after work.’ Therefore, during the week, I will focus on my behavioral goals, which will help support my ultimate goal to improve my cardiovascular fitness.” She says being realistic and consistent when creating goals makes a massive impact. “Just as the saying goes, ‘Slow and steady wins the race’ — it also goes for health and wellness goals.”
Focus On One Goal At A Time
Megan Roup, celebrity trainer, wellness expert, and founder of The Sculpt Society, says that making good-for-us choices is easier than we might initially think. “I completely understand how a busy schedule can make it feel daunting to incorporate health and wellness in our day-to-day,” she tells TZR in an email. “Between being a mom, training my clients, filming workouts for The Sculpt Society, and managing my business, my schedule can be a little hectic. If you’ve fallen off the resolutions wagon, to get back on track, try picking one goal you had for yourself.” She says, that way, you can make small — but meaningful — changes to your everyday that help implement that goal into your routine. For example, if you wanted to add a workout program into the mix, she suggests starting with her quickie program (or your version of it) because it’s less of a commitment. “When you can successfully make smaller changes to your routine, you’ll be able to build a solid holistic wellness routine overall,” she adds.
Think About What Brings You The Most Joy
Roup says that when it comes to getting back into a health and wellness rhythm, think about the things that fill up your cup and bring you the most joy. “For me, I know the connection between daily movement and healthy eating is super important to keep me going,” she says. “So healthy snacking and moving my body daily are my go-to's when starting a wellness routine or creating goals. One thing I like to make sure I have quick access to is almonds — a healthy snack that will help satiate my hunger and give me the energy I need to feel my best and tackle my day.” She says that almonds are the perfect addition to your diet, as they are an all-around reliable wellness snack: just one ounce of almonds per day provides 6 grams of protein, 4 grams of fiber, 20% of recommended magnesium — which aids in producing energy in the body and supports immunity — and 50% of your daily vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant that promotes skin health. “It’s a tiny nut packed with loads of power,” she adds.
Reevaluate Your Snacking Choices
Speaking of snacks, with a lot of people still working from home, it’s all too easy to mindlessly grab something to nibble — without really thinking about its nutritional value. But Roup says it’s a good idea to assess what you’re eating. “Maybe your go-to midday snack isn’t doing much for you and doesn’t keep you feeling full or energized,” she says. “So, instead, try smart snacking with an apple and a handful of almonds while in between meetings or when heading out the door. Or, if you’re someone who takes lunch at your desk instead of a break from the screen, set aside 15 minutes during your workday not at the computer — a short walk or workout are great options. And if you’re looking to eat more plant-based foods overall, consider swapping your coffee creamer with some almond milk.”
Do A Sleep Assessment And Make Any Necessary Adjustments
As Borden mentioned before, sleep is an often overlooked aspect of health and wellness. Before you start planning to get more sleep, she suggests doing a sleep assessment of your room and using certain products to help you get some Zzzs. “Try a weighted blanket,” she says. “I use a 15-pound blanket over my lighter bed blanket and it immediately relaxes me. I also use a pregnancy pillow (also known as a U pillow). The body support, along with the weighted blanket, is perfection! Bye-bye tossing and turning, and shoulder and neck pain.” She also thinks having heavy blackout curtains is key. “They actually make a big difference with sound, temperature, and darkness,” she says. “I also love to pre-game the bedroom using a diffuser with lavender essential oil at night before getting into bed. But I turn it off when I get in bed because I don’t like it going all night.” And last, but definitely not least, she stresses to not use the TV — both for blue light reasons and overstimulation. “If you need sound, try white noise, a fan, or soft meditation music — anything to eliminate the actual TV being on.”