Every January, we make a New Year’s resolution to live healthier and adopt an alternative lifestyle to make that happen. Every December, we find ourselves thinking guiltily of our plans and promises that we once again failed to fulfill.

Let 2021 be the year this ends. Here are a few tips that can help you kick-start a healthy lifestyle next year.  

Set Defined Goals

The first thing you need to do to develop a healthier lifestyle is decide what exactly it is that you want to achieve. Do you want to eliminate certain foods from your diet? Are you aiming for a more physically active lifestyle to replace your current sedentary one? Is losing weight on the agenda?

You can have more than one goal, but make sure you’re clear on what you want. Be as specific as possible. For instance, if you’re aiming to do all three things listed above, narrow down your goals and prioritize them. Decide what you want to achieve first, and start planning accordingly. If you wish to lose five pounds before June, for example, then start with that. You’ll be incorporating a healthy diet and exercise in your routine anyway to achieve this, but will be prioritizing your goals accordingly, starting with the first thing on your agenda.

Take Things Slow

Another thing to remember is that change doesn’t happen overnight. To see your goals materialize, you need to hold realistic expectations and give things time to work out.

Don’t rush the process. Instead of diving straight into a strenuous workout plan, start by adding small doses of physical activity in your routine. This will allow you to build your way up and prepare your body for the longer, more vigorous workout sessions in future.

Don’t set unreasonable deadlines for yourself. Take things one step at a time.

hour glass representing the need to take things slowly when making lifestyle changes

Commit Yourself to Change

Finally, you need to fully commit yourself to the process if you want to achieve what you set out to achieve. Many people start working toward a healthier lifestyle enthusiastically, but lose that enthusiasm a few weeks or months down the road. It’s okay to have a cheat day now and then, but if you’re allowing yourself too much relaxation too often, you need to rethink your approach.

It’s easy to lose that initial motivation when you don’t see results instantly, or to be tempted by your old ways. To commit yourself to the process, make a verbal promise to a trusted loved one or a written promise to yourself so that you think twice before swaying off the line. Stop making excuses for not being able to continue doing things a certain way. Instead, commit yourself to finding solutions to the supposed problems you find yourself facing.

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