Try these doctor-recommended New Year’s resolutions instead

Its that time of year isn’t it!? Odds are most of us took a minute or two this month to think about our health and how to get fitter and healthier for 2019. New Year, new attitude, right? We hit the gym and chow down on spinach and celery juice for all of two days or two weeks if we’re lucky…..then it’s back to coffee and chocolate!

People often ask me how to make that new New Years Resolution of better diet and exercise stick. Well, I’ll tell ya. I have three simple tips to help you out.

TIP 1 Don’t do it alone!

Find something you like do to, walk, run, ice skate, climb hills, go to the dreaded gym (seriously does anyone actually like the gym I mean really and honestly??) then find someone you like doing it with. A group of three or four is even better in case someone can’t make it. Agree to do said activity at least once a week no more and no less. You are wayyy more likely to continue doing something even when you don’t feel like it if there are other people relying on you (and vice versa).

TIP 2  Start small and set realistic goals

If more cardio exercise is one of your resolutions but you’ve never done any hill walking before don’t expect to be able to climb Everest in a few months time. Or say you don’t run that often but you’ve always wanted to run a marathon. Before you go off running six miles and killing yourself, be realistic and honest with your fitness levels. Start with a mile and do that two to three times a week and set yourself the goal of a six mile run by the end of six weeks. Then line up another six-week block and keep a record of your mileage and build it up over time. Change your route and the time of day to keep your run interesting. Go to the beach or the woods—variety keeps it fresh. Most importantly, try and enjoy yourself or you simply won’t stick to it.

Let’s think about diet, for example, too. Say you want to eat a bit more healthy. You can’t make massive changes all at once or it won’t stick and you’ll eventually slip back into your old habits and routine—like skipping breakfast. Skipping breakfast is my favourite bad habit because I’d rather spend an extra 15 minutes in bed (especially in the winter). Thank you overnight oats! Stick some berries (frozen or fresh) in a bowl overnight with some oats, milk and yoghurt and you have an instant breakfast that you can take it with you if you. For dinner, add an extra portion of vegetables to your evening meal—something fresh and vibrant. Make a challenge out of it and see how many different colours of veg you can eat over the course of the week. Then adapt that challenge for lunch as well and before you know it you’ve made a significant change in your life! #VeggieColourChallenge anyone?

root-to-stem salad ingredients

TIP 3 Don’t give up!

Did you know that breaking a habit or making a new habit takes roughly 66 days (so the psychologists tell me), so expect to fail, that’s normal! That’s okay! Don’t beat yourself up about it, just reset your goals and go at it again. Refer to Tip 2 and make sure your goals are realistic and hit Tip 1 while you’re at it and get a friend in on the act and you’ll be headed back in the right direction again in no time for a healthy and active 2019!

Dr. Fogarty, a nutrition and exercise expert from the UK, talks to Spinaca on the science behind how eating a vegetable-based rainbow diet can help you live a longer, healthier life.

Mark Fogarty earned a Ph.D. in Exercise Physiology and Biochemistry at the University of Ulster in the United Kingdom where he has been researching, publishing and lecturing on natural nutritional intervention in the context of exercise stress for over a decade.

Newsletter Sign-up