What is the answer? What blog post or “5 hacks” list is going to be the key for you to make and maintain those New Year’s Resolutions and healthy habits? It’s simple; find out what has caused your habits to fail in the past, and prepare for those roadblocks.
As Seasons Change, So Do Our Behaviors
We often look at Seasons in terms of periods of the year. Our behaviors tend to shift as we experience Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter. The season’s unique characteristics affect our lives in many aspects, from the temperature and daylight, to holidays and body image demands. Although we usually attempt to make improvements throughout the year, the holiday season is one filled with family priorities, sweets, cold weather, and stress. After which, many turn to a health sabbatical with a convenient tradition of a New Year’s Resolution.
New Year’s Resolutions generally coincide with the thoughts of getting ready for warmer weather, the pool, and not being able to hide under heavy clothing. But how effective is this timing for making long-lasting changes? For health goals, they should be long-term for maximal benefit; however, studies show only 8% of people maintain their resolutions. So what gives?
Long-Term Health Requires Long-Term Solutions
We go through phases of our life—let’s also call them seasons. These seasons cross the borders of weather seasons and can be interpreted with any period of your life. They can be grade school to high school, college to career, single to married with kids, renting an apartment to owning a home, career vs retirement.
Each season has its wonders and challenges, positives and negatives. Some seasons have built-in physical or health activities; school recess, sports, parent-prepared healthy foods; even physically demanding jobs. Other seasons of life require a personal dedication to meet habit requirements; going to the gym, running, walking, yoga, cross-fit, and preparing your own healthy meals.
Making the Time for New Year’s Resolutions
When we make a health-related nutrition or fitness goal, we have to allot the time/commitment to maintain that goal in absence of societal demands. We rarely have trouble committing to the habit of going to school or work; this is because there are immediate personal, financial, societal demands that provide enough of a negative consequence to keep us motivated. But skipping one workout or healthy meal does not have a significant short-term consequence.
Our brains are wired to favor short-term pleasure over long-term consequence. This is why even the moderate benefit of how your body will look in 6 months in a swimsuit is often not immediate enough of a consequence to overcome the short-term pleasures of watching TV instead of exercise, or good tasting and convenient unhealthy meals over healthy ones. Much less, the longer-term health and physical ability impacts as we age.
What Can You Do To Override Your Brain and Achieve Your Goals?
Accountability is key. You might be missing the natural accountability that you once got from school, work, etc. Especially if you have experienced many seasons of starting and stopping your healthy habits. Whether it is a friend with similar goals or a paid accountability coach/trainer, find someone you trust and work well with, then start planning!
As you are planning your routine, a basic outline should include the following recommendations from the CDC: 150 minutes of exercise per week with 2 days per week of muscle strengthening. Check out the rest of the guidelines here.
What If Pain Is Keeping You From Reaching Your Goals?
Many times people find themselves struggling to establish or maintain a workout routine because of a nagging injury, ache, or pain. The location of this pain can be in the low back, shoulder, knee, hip, neck, feet — or anywhere in-between. Regardless of the location or how long you have had this pain, a physical therapist can help you alleviate or work with those issues to overcome this setback and keep you on track to meet your long-term fitness goals.
Once you have established what is causing your habits to fail, you can address these issues and resolve them for future. Don’t be afraid to seek help to give you the confidence to maintain your new year’s resolutions and keep you on track to meet your long-term fitness goals.
Check back for more about methods for creating and maintaining healthy habits! We want to see you do well, and will do anything in our power to help you achieve your goals.
About Live Life Physiotherapy
Live Life Physiotherapy provides an COVID-19-friendly alternative to travelling to a physical therapy clinic, through mobile physical therapy. We provide outpatient care to San Diego, La Mesa, El Cajon, Santee, and the surrounding area.
Outpatient physical therapy includes but isn’t limited to; telehealth physical therapy, rehabilitation physical therapy, labral tears, sciatica, low back pain, elderly fall prevention, orthopedic and sports physical therapy. Reach out today so we can help you Live Life, the way you want to live it.