Losing weight and increasing exercise commonly make the top of New Year's resolution lists. Yet many people fall short of their wellness goals each year. What can you do differently in 2017 to ensure you're among those who succeed?
"Mental health and taking time for yourself can greatly improve your chances of achieving your health and wellness goals," says the Mayo Clinic. "It's important to realize that changing any behavior is often a complex process that requires you to address the mental as well as physical aspects of the change you want to achieve."
Below are helpful strategies from the wellness professionals at Mayo Clinic to assist you in achieving your goals this year:
Be on your mental game
Weight loss is a common New Year's resolution goal, but to achieve it, you'll likely need to do more than simply change your eating habits. Behaviors, thoughts and emotions may be playing a role in keeping you from shedding pounds. For example, not getting enough sleep can thwart better eating and exercise habits. Sleep deprivation can hinder your ability to control your emotions, interfere with positive thought processes and make you too tired to exercise regularly.
Being aware of factors that contribute to negative habits not only can help you succeed, it can also help you sustain the changes.
Be aware of self-talk
Everyone has an integral dialogue, and it's the voice we all believe the most. Is yours negative or positive? The voice of your self-talk can greatly affect your confidence level. Pay attention to your self-talk and evaluate if what you're telling yourself is actually true.
When self-talk turns negative, try to challenge it and find a more positive way to look at the situation. For example, turn "I always fail at losing weight because I eat too much" into "I enjoy eating fruits and vegetables and can easily eat three servings a day."
It will take time and practice to learn how to turn negative self-talk into positive, so be patient with yourself.
Fight boredom with fun and creativity
People fail at wellness goals for many reasons, including boredom. Approaching your goals with a creative and fun attitude can help keep them fresh and exciting - and keep you on track!
Try learning something new or vary your routine. For example, try a new recipe or modify your usual food choices. Learn to use a new piece of equipment at the gym, or take an exercise class to learn something you've always wanted to do.
Dance around the house, take a healthy cooking class, read a book, travel, check an item off your bucket list or create a list if you don't have one. However you define "fun," if you enjoy what you're doing, you're more likely to want to keep doing it.
Prepare to overcome setbacks
No matter how committed you are to a goal, setbacks are normal. Don't let them derail you. Planning for setbacks and how you'll overcome them can help you stay on track for the long term.
When planning how you'll reach a desired behavior change, try including some what-if scenarios. For example, if your fitness routine includes a yoga class after work and you get delayed, think about what you could do to still meet your exercise goal. You might be able to substitute another class or use body weight exercises at home. Having a back-up plan in case your original goal doesn't work out can help you avoid "all-or-nothing" thinking.
If you experience a setback, be compassionate with yourself; change is rarely easy. Giving yourself a break will help you dust yourself off and get back on track.
By taking a mindful and proactive approach to your health, you'll be on the way towards achieving your wellness goals through 2017 and beyond. To learn more about healthy living, visit www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle. For more information on customized wellness programs at Mayo Clinic, view our Healthy Living Program.