We all do it. We kick off the new year with the best of intentions and decide to go all-in on whatever goal we’ve set for ourselves. This is the year we’re finally going to get more active, eat healthier, and maybe even lose some of that extra weight we’ve been carrying around. Sure, we may have said the same thing last year, but this time we really mean it.
So, we dust off the trusty gym membership, load our plates with healthy food, and get to work kicking all that bad stuff out of our lives once and for all. (Sorry, fried chicken, it was fun while it lasted.) Things go along well … at first. But then, life happens.
In a few months or weeks, our priorities begin to shift a bit. All of a sudden, that workout doesn’t seem as important as it once was; one unhealthy meal becomes another, then another. And before long, we’re back to pizza and beer with a side of sluggishness. Old habits, indeed, die hard.
If you’re wondering why you always seem to struggle to maintain that momentum all year long, don’t worry, you’re not alone. We all start out with a nearly endless drive to push forward and achieve our goals. But in many cases, that same determination that consumes us in the beginning is exactly what trips us up later on as we bite off more than we can chew and struggle to do too much, too soon.
That’s why it’s always best to take things slow—especially in the beginning. When things inevitably get tough, just remember that doing something—anything—is always better than doing nothing. Sure, a quick five-minute stretch may not seem like much, especially when there’s so much work to be done, but it’s important to understand that we didn’t get the way we are overnight, and we won’t turn everything around overnight either.
Don’t have time for a full workout? Cut it short this time and do half of it. Or get up and walk around the building for a bit; whatever it is that you do have time for. Can’t quite run that mile? Try walking it instead. Say no to that doughnut at work, tempting as it may be. If all you have in front of you are bad food choices, do the best you can with what you have.
Every single day, we make decisions that will either move us closer to our goals or further away. That’s why building healthier habits is essential. Instead of jumping head-first into the deep end and trying to do everything all at once, set up a simple goal for yourself and work at that. It’s definitely easier—and more realistic—to drink more water and gradually cut soda from your life than it is to completely remove sugar from your diet.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed by looking too far ahead. So, take things one small change at a time, one day at a time, and focus on putting one foot in front of the other. Continue to build on those healthy habits, and you’ll begin to see and feel real change. Before you know it, you’ll be on the healthier path. And when the next year rolls around, you’ll be in a much healthier place than you were 12 months ago.