January is for the gyms, but people often have ineffective methods of improving their health. You can't just start off with a bang and then immediately jump ship! Here are some things to keep in mind when working towards your health goals this year.
Ease into change
Many people go cold turkey when making changes with their diet and exercise. They'll throw out anything that resembles a cookie and go stock up on hundreds of dollars worth of organic health foods. However, this drastic change is usually difficult to maintain longterm. Sugar is addictive, and a lot of people have an emotional attachment to certain foods that can not simply be overcome overnight.
Take the changes to your health slowly — start by focusing on having one meal a day that is strictly based around whole foods, or try adding in twenty minutes of exercise. Over time, your body will naturally be more inclined to go for a green smoothie over Poptarts, and exercise will feel rejuvenating instead of exhausting.
Stop comparing yourself to others
With constant access through social media to view fitness models and influencers, it can be challenging not to compare yourself to those who have attained what you desire. It is important to always keep in mind that every body is different and that some changes in health and fitness take longer to see or feel. Instead of comparing yourself to others, compare yourself to you. In moments when you are feeling worthless and as though you have made no progress, look back on what you were like before you started working towards improving your health. Chances are, you've changed a lot in ways that you hadn't even realized.
It's not just a fitness journey, it's taking care of yourself
The process of becoming healthier can feel like a journey, but no one ever reaches a point where the journey truly ends. Attaining the magic number that you were working towards doesn't mean it is time to throw in the towel. A health and fitness journey is really just a marketable way of saying "taking care of yourself." Being healthy is simply being kind to your body — giving it the fuel it needs, letting it rest, breathing in the fresh air, and eating dessert every now and then. Don't stress the journey too much, enjoy it.
For many people, it is easy to step in front of a mirror and begin picking out the parts of themselves that they do not like. Arms are always too flabby or too thin, shoulders are too broad, butts are too flat and stomachs stick out too far. It is in the times where you look at yourself and think of all of the things that you hate that it is important to remember what your body does for you. Your arms can hold people you love and they can carry all of the groceries in from your car at once (we all hate taking more than one trip). Your legs lift you out of bed in the morning and they can take you anywhere you want to go. Your stomach can hold delicious food — your mom's homemade lasagna, ice cream, and all of the foods that you've yet to try. Your body is not something to hate, it is something to be grateful for.
The process of improving your health and wellness is not always an easy one, but it does not have to be as difficult as people make it. Don't view being healthy as a competition with others, view it as a means to live a longer and more comfortable life.