Remember those January resolutions? It’s February – a good time to evaluate your progress toward better fitness or healthier eating.
Whether you resolved to undergo a complete health overhaul or take a small step in the direction of a healthier lifestyle, you need support. AICR wants to help.
1. Renew/Adjust. Did you start out with a bang in January, do well for a week or two and then slip back into old habits? You aren’t alone. Many people find they get busy at work, get sick or let bad weather deter them. Take heart because relapse may well be one important part of the process toward permanent change. Use as a learning experience and consider what worked and what didn’t. Try taking the part of your resolution that worked and focus on that as a more modest step. Define your goal and think ahead to problems you may encounter and list ways to avoid or work around them.
2. Remain Committed. Are you doing well and keeping up with your goal? Congratulations! You may be ready for a new challenge to stay engaged and motivated. If you’re now eating one vegetable every day as you resolved to do, try a new-to-you vegetable or fruit every week. Whether you add a new goal or continue your current success, preview the weeks ahead – are there potential bumps or roadblocks along the way? Plan your strategy to avoid getting off track. For instance, if you know you’ll be traveling, take some carrots along as snacks in the car or on the plane; choose restaurants that offer vegetable choices. You may also stay more committed if you can support your friends and family with their changes.
3. Reboot. If your resolution didn’t get off the ground or just didn’t work, don’t give up. You may need to scale back or revisit your motivation – what sparked the goal in the first place? Does that still motivate you? Now is a good time to identify what does motivate you. Do you need reminder notes, rewards or competition? Start over with your new motivational strategy and a smaller change. It’s helpful to choose something you can build into your routine. Instead of exercising at the gym every day, you may want to start by taking two or three flights of stairs at work several times every day.
Nearly everyone is more successful with support and accountability. Friends, coworkers, and health care providers can provide help and encouragement when you need it. Ask for help and be specific as to how others can support you.
You can also find support through our new campaign It’s Never Too Late to Lower Your Cancer Risk. Use the downloadable handouts to track your healthy eating and exercise changes and join others to share your stories and find support and encouragement. AICR also offers a wealth of information and tips on a healthy lifestyle in our brochures and on our website.