The new year isn’t quite so new anymore, but thinking in terms of New Year’s resolutions can be a great motivator for improving your life and business. Just be sure to keep at it, because we’re at that moment (the second week of February) when 80 percent of people abandon their resolutions for the year.
For health and fitness resolutions, this failure rate is alarming. Sustained good health behaviors throughout the year have amazing benefits in all areas of life, from greater well-being and boosts in mood to increased productivity and engagement.
Thus, leaders and individuals who understand the value of healthy practices — and the ways to actualize them year-round — are putting themselves and their companies in a better position for success.
Keep Moving for a Happier, Healthier, and More Productive Year
One of the most striking benefits to keeping your resolutions, particularly when it comes to increasing your activity over the long haul, is that you’re more likely to live longer. In fact, those who met or exceeded daily activity guidelines lowered their mortality risk by 31 percent. Moreover, people who are more active gain myriad health benefits, such as better brain health and energy levels, that make them more productive. So how do you keep these resolutions going?
New Year’s resolutions often fail because of poor goal choices. People create goals that are either too lofty or too ambiguous, both of which cause someone to feel overwhelmed and disappointed when the payoff isn’t immediate. An example of an unrealistic fitness goal would be planning to run a marathon by the beginning of March when you’re out of shape and have no training.
Instead, make your goals achievable, and increase them as you gain more fitness. The established view on setting goals is that specific and measurable ones — whether that’s in pounds lost, miles run, or hours spent conducting an activity — allow you to fashion an attainable and tangible scenario that propels your motivation and offers both immediate and long-term satisfaction.
Creating a New Year’s Resolution That Sticks
Ready to get started? Here are a few proactive health-related changes you can employ right away:
1. Watch Your Intake
The body’s ability to move requires fuel, so what you “put into the tank” dictates what you can achieve. Banning foods with excess fat, sugar, and salt are a great start. Sugary foods, for example, can create a post-intake energy crash that can demotivate you when it comes to fitness.
What we drink is just as important. Instead of beverages with tons of high fructose corn syrup, make water your go-to thirst buster. By keeping a dedicated water bottle near your desk and walking to refill it throughout the day, you can bake both hydration and movement into your daily routine. If you prefer a little flavor, carbonated waters with a splash of citrus can be a delicious way to rehydrate after a workout.
2. Carry Yourself Well
As your mother may have told you, posture matters. It’s all too easy to get into bad habits with how you carry your frame, but, fortunately, these habits aren’t hard to rectify. A few times a day, stop to check whether your feet are pointing forward, whether your back is straight instead of hunched, and whether your neck and head are aligned comfortably with your workspace and materials.
These small matters may not seem too important, but if you’ve ever held your body in an awkward posture for even 10 minutes, then you know it can produce uncomfortable and lasting results. Imagine, then, multiplying that by the roughly 125,000 working minutes a year. You get the picture.
3. Get Moving — Even While at Work
Besides finding ways to be more active at your workstation, such as using a standing desk, it’s important to routinely take yourself and your work into the world at large. Though modern offices may be shifting toward greater pleasantness and a focus on ergonomics, the human body isn’t designed to spend so much time in one place.
You’ll find that you’ll cover more ground while your brain is stimulated by a change of scenery or small periods of activity. You can even combine work with the outdoors by taking meetings to nearby coffee shops or having a meeting on a walking trail. Not only does this break up the day, but the natural sights and sounds may also inspire you.
By prioritizing healthful choices, being aware of how you carry yourself throughout the day, and staying active both inside and outside the office, you can make 2018 one of your happiest and most productive years yet. A little proactivity can go a long way to healthy living.