A discouragingly few people actually achieve the goals they set for the New Year. It’s even sadder because the top resolution is to lose weight and thus be healthier. Almost half of Americans set an objective but only 8 percent complete it.

1. Don’t be like the rest

Don’t set a deadline but set a goal to just be healthier. Small changes really make a big difference in changing your eating habits in the long-run.

 

2. Set yourself up for success

Never go “cold turkey” with your diet or exercising. You risk injuries, burnout and stress (and that can cause weight gain). If you lose 20 pounds fast, you will gain 10 back. If you’ve never been on a diet, or they never worked for you, you can start with one small change like watching your portions. That is not to say that you should keep eating a lot of French fried but try and be conscious of them.

 

3. Health is a priority, not overindulging

Think of it as a part-time job – minus the long hours – and you get paid by saving money from doctor’s visits and high blood pressure pills. Keep on schedule, take it seriously, do your best and take pride in a job well done. The key is to be realistic about what you can do based on your schedule. When your schedule is hectic, plan shorter workouts. Block off a certain amount of time each day when you know you’ll be able to commit to the workout, and don’t commit to workouts you know you won’t be able to complete.

 

4. You can do A LOT in 30 days

You can lose up to 20 pounds in 30 days. But it all depends on how appropriate your program is for you. It’s a matter of nutrition, sleep, rest between gym visits and workout sessions. The key is to accept your body as is and work from there.

 

5. You’ll have enough time to adjust

Start slowly now and you’ll have plenty of time to make it a habit in an environment that’s comfortable for you. You’re in control. You get more exposed to exercising and become more conscious of what food you’re consuming. Before you know it, it’s Christmas and New Year’s but your first concern is – quite naturally – not eating those delicious appetizers because your host made them.

 

6. There never is a perfect time

There is no such thing as a “perfect time” to change your lifestyle to a healthy one. Your body doesn’t know what day it is; it only knows what you’re exposing it to – food, drinks, exercise. It tolerates you until it can’t anymore. But by the time you get the message, some damage can be irreversible.

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