Expert Strategies to Help You Stick to Your Health & Wellness Goals

Of the estimated 40% of Americans who make New Year’s resolutions, only 8% will ultimately achieve their goals*. Given these figures, perhaps the only thing more common than setting a New Year’s resolution is subsequently abandoning that resolution days, weeks, or – maybe – months later. There are no quick fixes, shortcuts, or magic pills to help you achieve your goals, but fortunately, Home Base’s Warrior Health & Fitness team is comprised of experts well-versed in empowering people to improve their health and well-being and with the help of both our New England and Southwest Florida Warrior Health & Fitness teams , we’ve gathered some tips that will help you stick to your New Year’s resolution in 2019 – no matter how small or big your resolution may be.

Understand Your “Why”
Why are you ready to improve your health? What would eating better and improving your fitness mean to you? It’s important to recognize what’s driving your change so that you can stay focused on achieving your goals. Whatever your “why” is, find it, embrace it, and use it to keep moving forward. If your WHY has meaning and is important to you, you will be more likely to achieve what you set out to accomplish. (Ryan Vanderweit, MS, CSCS, Warrior Health and Fitness Program Director).

Set Attainable Goals
Goals are good. Realistic goals are better. Fast change isn’t always ideal, so don’t try to build Rome in one day. You’re much less likely to burn yourself out too quickly if you incorporate new habits gradually.  Set small goals – even just one a day – and see if you can accomplish that. Once you start to accomplish small things each day, you create a positive feedback loop, and your goals will become habits. (Jaime Fernandez, CSCS, Southwest Florida Warrior Health & Fitness Strength and Conditioning Specialist). 

Don’t Fall for Gimmicks
Of course, no one thinks they will…but, as human beings, we are naturally attracted to shortcuts. Success takes consistency and dedication. Pick an approach that is evidence-based and commit. (Ryan Vanderweit, MS, CSCS, Warrior Health and Fitness Program Director).

Find a Battle Buddy
One of the biggest barriers to reaching goals is a lack of accountability. A workout partner can provide a powerful level of support when your motivation is running low. Be sure to choose someone who you can trust, who has goals similar to your own, and – most importantly – will not accept your excuses or give you a pass. In need of a battle buddy? Home Base’s Warrior Health & Fitness program provides you with a team of like-minded individuals. Click here for more information on registering for our Boston or Southwest Florida programs. (Ryan Vanderweit, MS, CSCS, Warrior Health and Fitness Program Director).

Record and Track Your Progress
You are your own competition. Keeping a log and tracking your progress will provide you with a visual representation of your accomplishments and serve as added motivation on those days you feel like giving up on your goals. (Jaime Fernandez, CSCS, Southwest Florida Warrior Health & Fitness Strength and Conditioning Specialist). 

Avoid “All or Nothing” Thinking
Life happens and plans change, so allow your new routine to be adaptable.  When things come up and you must cut into your planned routine, consider creative ways to add activity into your day instead of giving up.  Perhaps you can fit in two sets at the gym instead of three, or take a walk with your co-workers at lunchtime. Try to focus more on the things you CAN control, and less on those you can’t. If you find yourself getting off track, simply reflect, acknowledge and get back on the mission. (Heidi Dotson, Exercise Physiologist). 

Focus on ADDING Foods that will Nourish Your Body
Instead of concentrating on eliminating foods that you deem “unhealthy,” shift the focus to foods that will make your body feel its best – physically and mentally – by thinking about what you can ADD versus stressing about what to subtract. Where can you ADD nutrient-rich whole fruits and vegetables, fibrous whole grains, lean protein and heart-healthy fats? You may notice you’re naturally crowding out the more processed, refined foods. (Nicolette Maggiolo, Registered Dietitian). 

Make Healthy Taste Good
People often think eating healthier means lifeless canned string beans, tasteless raw tofu, and rock-hard brown rice. False. Nutritious food should taste delicious! If brown rice doesn’t “hit the spot,” spice it up with cilantro, onions, garlic, and extra virgin olive oil. Need inspiration? Click here for more than 100 simple, healthful recipes from Nicolette! (Nicolette Maggiolo, Registered Dietitian). 

Listen to Your Body
While the “no pain, no gain” mentality may help us push through difficult workouts, taking this expression too literally may actually hinder progress or halt it altogether. Sharp pain during exercise should not be a normal occurrence and is usually caused by a deficit in strength, joint range of motion, or musculoskeletal injury. If you are experiencing new pain, be sure to check in with your physician. (Christopher Manzano, New England Warrior Health & Fitness Strength and Conditioning Specialist). 

Don’t Forget to Take Rest Days
Rest days play a crucial role in helping your body to recover from the microtrauma done during exercise. This is the time to fuel your body with the proper nutrients to help your muscles heal. If you are a person who doesn’t like doing nothing, you can have an active rest day – perhaps taking a yoga class or going for a light jog. Rest days help you avoid overtraining and burning out. (Christopher Manzano, New England Warrior Health & Fitness Strength and Conditioning Specialist). 

Balance, Balance, Balance
Learning from doing what you didn’t plan is how resolutions are ultimately fulfilled.  Be conscious of your habits and make a point to use those insights to help create your successes. Moderation is key, but don’t forget to reward yourself for sticking with your plan. (Izzy Shishko, Health and Wellness Coordinator). 

At the beginning, success may seem impossible, but Home Base’s Warrior Health & Fitness Program was designed with the understanding that the journey to long-term change and self-improvement is arduous, but ultimately less formidable with support. If you are interested in learning more about Warrior Health & Fitness – a free, 90-day program that helps Service Members and Veterans improve their physical health and well-being through supervised physical exercise, education about healthy eating, living, sleep hygiene, stress management and the health benefits of physical activity – please click here.

*Diamond, D. (2013, January 02). Just 8% of People Achieve Their New Year’s Resolutions. Here’s How They Do It. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/dandiamond/2013/01/01/just-8-of-people-achieve-their-new-years-resolutions-heres-how-they-did-it/#29ce4648596b