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I have a lot of patients preparing to start living a healthy lifestyle in the new year; the dreaded new year’s resolution. But a new year’s resolution is probably the worst way to start a healthy lifestyle; I’ll explain.
As you may have heard, new year’s resolutions are destined to fail. In fact, only 8% of people will keep their resolution! The most common reason why resolutions fail is that they are fundamentally flawed. From a specific date, people expect themself to do a complete 180-degree change in their lifestyle habits. Overnight they try to eat healthier, go to the gym, be more active and cut out sugar. In essence what they are trying to do is climb a mountain instead of a small hill.
Rather than deciding to climb Mount Everest on January 1st, why not take a few small steps that are more achievable and more importantly on your own schedule.
These can be simple changes, such as:
Deciding to wake up 30 mins early to perform a few yoga poses or light exercises twice a week
Cutting back the four sugars in your tea to three sugars.
Use a timer so that every hour at your desk you stand for 10 minutes
Drink more water. Buy yourself a nice water bottle to keep at your desk
Rather than white bread, opt for the whole wheat one instead
Instead of juice, try a smoothie, or even just water.
Wear more comfortable shoes at work and try to avoid heels if possible. Your back will thank you!
Some healthy activities don’t need to be actual activities. Instead, you can start the new year exercising your most important muscle of all, your brain! A few suggestions include:
Looking into what exactly a calorie is, and calculating your daily caloric intake
Read why too much sugar is bad for you, Netflix has some great movies on this topic.
Google the benefits of exercise and how it stimulates the brain
Once you feel ready to make a change then do so gradually. These changes should not be burdensome and should fit within your lifestyle.
Here are some other changes I made which I hope will inspire you to make healthy choices in the new year. Please note some of these changes took years to implement and were mostly done one at a time. There is still the occasional cheat day, but the trend now is mostly healthy!
Reduced added sugar, except for in my tea
Reduced dairy and wheat
If I do eat wheat, I try to eat whole eat or even quinoa
Running 4-5 kms every other morning.
Replaced the sitting desk with a standing desk at work
Joined an indoor soccer league (pre-pandemic of course!)
I make sure to have breakfast every morning
I try to get 8 hours of sleep a night
Keeping hydrated. I have a water bottle at my desk, another in my car and another by my bed
Reduced TV watching and substituted that time for reading. I still watch my Netflix shows!
I try to make it to the gym 3 to 4 times a week, but now try to workout at home three times a week.
Substituted music on my drive for podcasts and audiobooks.
I’m a big fan of fruit smoothies, I try to make them every morning if I can
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