December 30, 2015

3 Steps to a Healthier You in 2016

General Health

New Years.  2015 is coming to a close… the clock will strike midnight, and suddenly it will be 2016, who would have thought?  Just like that, the year will pass as quickly as it came.  Where did the time go?   The New Year is symbolic of change; of breaking old habits and forming new ones.  With 2016 right around the corner, “New Year, New You” is one of the most commonly heard buzz phrase.  But how many years in a row have you had the same health or fitness-related resolutions, anticipating this year to finally be your year of change? Does your resolution list look a bit like the one from last years? I’m just as guilty as the next. We have such great intentions to change our behavior, yet when push comes to shove we find ourselves not fulfilling what we intended to.

new years pic

Yet, we still say it: “New Year, New You.”  It’s written on all the bulletin boards at the gym. However, I have since recognized the phrase is deceptive. Does it mean that at midnight of January 1st all of my problems will be solved and I will emerge an entirely new and improved me? Oh, if only it were that easy.  The harsh reality is that more than likely I’ll awaken on January 1st with the same troubles and poor habits I went to sleep with on December 31st. Expecting myself to change all of them overnight simply isn’t realistic.

So why do we place so much emphasis on delegating one day of the entire year to change everything we’ve been wishing we had over the past year? It is true that the start of a New Year is an excellent time to make positive changes and form healthier habits. However, so are the other 364 days of the year. Don’t wake up on January 1st, or any other day of the year for that matter, and expect to create an entirely “new you” overnight. Attempting to change so many habits so quickly can lead to failure and can thrusts us right back into the vicious resolution cycle.

So what can we do to break that cycle? Here are 3 steps to take when approaching the new year:

  1. Be proactive with your health for a change. I can’t stress this one enough. More than 30% of the population is not up-to-date on recommended preventative health screenings, even though most screenings are offered free through insurance. Try not to think of seeing your doctor as a responsive approach, but instead be proactive and visit your doctor regularly to ensure you both have the best handle on your health. To start, create a relationship with your primary care physician if you haven’t already. If you are looking to find a new primary care doctor, look for someone that you feel the most comfortable with telling your concerns to, and will allow you the time to give a thorough medical history of yourself. The more information your doctor knows about your health, the better relationship you will have with one another and the better care you can receive. Get all your ducks in a row ahead of time so you can hit the ground running in 2016.
  2. Approach health resolutions as lifestyle changes. Take some of the pressure off yourself. Whether it’s getting in better physical shape, quitting a nasty habit or enhancing other areas of your life, you’re in it for the long haul- and it’s not going to be perfect. Take it easy on yourself if you happen to have a setback; two steps forward and one step back is still progress, just keep going. Remember, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” In fact, experts say it takes around 21 days to form a new habit.
  3. Set yourself up for success! Remain disciplined on your journey to healthier habits, but also be patient and reasonably forgiving with yourself. A large portion of forming health habits is about priorities and prevention.  Are you prioritizing your health every single day? Prioritize and limit your resolutions to direct more attention to those that have the greatest impact, write those down, and post them somewhere visible. Build and maintain relationships with those who will support you in your efforts, not steer you off track. Those conscious efforts will pay off in the end!

For more tips and strategies on how to be a healthier you in 2016, visit our Exercise Services Page.

New Year, Improved You. Happy New Year!