Holiday celebrations and family traditions are wonderful – but can be decadent. As a result, the last few months of the year often add pounds and interrupt healthy eating and exercise routines.
No wonder millions of us are looking for ways to get in shape come January.
The good news? Change doesn’t require a tough slog through confusing diet plans and reams of healthcare tips on how to stay fit. Subtle changes in your mindset can prove more important over the long run than what’s on your plate – or the scale.
Consider making these five New Year’s resolutions that change behavior and perception in order to start your new year off right.
1. Add Awareness to Your Diet
Put the screen away, sit down and savor each bite of food as you eat, said Esther Blum, a New York nutritionist, private coach and author of "Eat, Drink and Be Gorgeous.”
“Learn to be extremely present, be relaxed, chew your food. Make the connection that you’re having a sensual, beautiful experience and you will not overeat,” Blum advised.
2. Note Your Feelings
Take a mind-body approach by noting your physical and mental states before and after you eat. Being aware of when and how you are eating helps you gain control over your intake.
“Focus less on recording portion sizes and more on…your food-related feelings,” advised health coach Jolene Hart, author of “Eat Pretty Every Day: 365 Daily Inspirations for Nourishing Beauty, Inside and Out.”
3. Alter Your Incentives
Instead of going on a diet, decide to eat healthier in order to wean yourself from medications, reduce insomnia or increase energy levels. And don’t measure progress on the scale: Reach instead for that holy grail pair of jeans that fits just right when you’re at your optimal weight.
“I joke that I have a favorite pencil skirt. That’s my scale,” Blum said.
4. Get Some Accountability
Consider hiring a private life coach who can help you identify, implement and sustain positive changes. Coaches focus less on the problem and more on healthcare tips and solutions.
“Long term, when you see what everything is costing you—your happiness, your marriage and your life is passing you by—when you see all that and you want to get out of that, then it’s time to hire some help,” said Blum.
5. Trade Money for Time
Starting a new regimen can mean rearranging our daily routines. If you have to choose between exercising or cooking, go for the exercise, Blum said.
“There are so many amazing home delivery meal services that are clean and organic, so if you order meals, you can have time to exercise or meditate.”
Be kind to yourself as you make life changes and recognize that punishment isn’t a good motivator. Tama Kieves, former Harvard-trained attorney turned career coach and author of “Inspired & Unstoppable: Wildly Succeeding in Your Life’s Work,” suggests starting a daily “win list,” where you record any positive progress you make. She defines progress as not only the tangible steps you take, but your positive mindset or the times you didn’t beat yourself up.
“You either listen to the love, the kindness and mercy inside you, or you’re listening to your fear. Here’s the deal: Self hate is what is causing the bad behaviors anyway. When you start championing yourself, you will choose healthier behaviors,” Kieves said.