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Dana Harrison

4 Ways To Set Yourself Up For Success In 2016

January: a month when most gyms see a peak in memberships and overall turnout. People tend to make New Year’s resolutions regarding weight loss and or health goals related to nutrition and exercise. The crowd seems to die down roughly a month or two after the New Year, and I always wonder, what happened to the newbies? Maybe they had unrealistic goals and got frustrated by the lack of results. Or maybe other life events interfered and the gym took a backseat. Regardless, it’s a perfect example of how many people tend to struggle with the commitment of striving for healthy behaviors and sticking with a plan. Here are my top tips to help you reach your goals this year!

Creating goals and how you attempt to achieve these goals are keys to success in the process of healthy behavior changes. Losing weight through healthy eating and exercise has most likely been on your resolution or priority list once or several times in your life, and if it hasn’t, I’m guessing it will be someday. There seems to be an obsession with losing weight via a ‘quick fix’, which has turned dieters in society upside down. Losing large amounts of weight does not happen overnight. I repeat, losing large amounts of weight does not and cannot happen overnight. Stick to the basics and understand how calories work; focus on the math and science behind them. Know that eating healthy, plus participating in moderate to vigorous exercise leads to a healthier you– mentally and physically, inside and out.

1. Create Realistic Health Goals

Ask yourself what your goals are. Now that you have the goals in mind, ask yourself if they are realistic and obtainable. For instance, do you want change up your eating habits because your energy is lagging, to increase muscle, or lose weight? Do you want to try and start exercising for a purpose? Set yourself up for success by thinking of goals and creating a plan on how to approach these goals. Make sure these goals are reasonable too, for instance, if you’ve never run before then you probably wouldn’t register for next month’s marathon on a whim. Instead, treat the process of adopting new positive behavior changes as a series of steps or goals, with an end goal in mind. Once you reach your first set of goals, there’s always room for creating new ones.

2. Change Your Behaviors For The Better Because YOU Want To

Always keep your goals in sight, and know the reasons and motivations behind these goals. Diet and fitness routines take effort, so it is important to know that if you put your best mind and focus into it, then you will be able to get the results you are looking for. Fall in like or love with the process. Find ways that make the process fun for you, whether it’s learning new recipes that are timely and tasty, or trying a new workout class. This doesn’t mean there won’t be ups and downs along the way, but if you stay committed to a balanced approach, you can’t go wrong.

3. Have A Support System

First know that this change starts with you. Allowing others to know what you are trying to accomplish and what this means to you can open a new line of support that you didn’t expect to have, making it easier to achieve your weight loss. If you make other people aware, then it is more likely that they will help you rather than deter your goals. You can even have friends and family make healthy changes with you and experience the effects of healthy eating and exercise together. Find a buddy to hold you accountable. I see it as a win-win situation.

4. Know That Changes Must Be Lifestyle Changes In Order For Them To Stick

Losing weight, gaining muscle, exercising with a purpose, can be difficult tasks, and will not be sustainable if they don’t become a part of a new lifestyle. Start small, set goals that are achievable, and move on from there. By understanding these concepts, any of your goals (if realistic and healthy) can be achievable in a healthy way. This process, which may take an unknown amount of time, trial and error, and success and failure, is a learning experience.

*For more from Dana, visit her site Eats 2 Know.

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Dana Harrison, MS is a nutritionist and educator based in Central MA and Greater Boston. She has a love/love relationship with food and promotes positive nutrition behavior changes that are simple and sustainable. Her nutrition niche is designing nutrition education programs for firefighters. When she’s not working with the firefighting community, she enjoys teaching spin and scoping out new fitne…

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