If you’re a mom like me worried about the toxins all around us, especially in food, you may make the mistake I’ve made. In 2014, I focused almost all my health goals on my family – especially my children – and my own well-being has fallen by the wayside. I barely worked out. I cooked toxic-free meals and lunches for the kids and ate take out. I stopped making daily smoothies after my local, affordable CSA went bust.
So one of my most important goals right now is to work on my health. By that, I do mean “health” in general. I’m not focusing on vanity goals (nicer body, younger looking physique), but instead how I can be all-around more healthy. One problem is that we tend to put a large expectation on the New Year. According to Forbes, research from a study done at the University of Scranton “suggests that just 8% of people achieve their New Year’s goals.” Poorly written resolutions and goals contribute to this situation. Another issue, for me, is looking for “perfect” solutions, like only eating 100% organic, that are difficult to afford. With all these burdens, I neglected my own health.
As moms, though, we should put our own health first, at least some of the time – just like you need to put your oxygen mask on first when you are in an emergency on a plane. What can you – and I – do to improve your health now? Here are 7 tips to help you achieve your goals to become a healthier mom in 2015:
1. Plan for success before you start.
When I attempted to work out last year, I had a ton of reasons – ok, excuses – why they failed. Naturally, the biggest one was the lie of “I don’t have enough time.” To combat that, think of all the things you like to do for fun and how you make time for those. But there were other excuses that fit in just as well: “I don’t have workout clothes.” “I don’t have weights.” “I can figure out how to do this exercise.” Sit down and list your most common excuses and prevent them now: schedule time in your calendar, buy workout clothes and gear, research the kind of training you’d like to do and how you need to do that. For example, Mamavation’s 2-week challenges are excellent because they provide videos to show you how it’s done. I recommend watching videos two times first, then trying the exercise along while viewing until you feel comfortable with it. Finally, check with your health care professional – call, if you’re not due for a visit – to make sure you are able to do the workout you’d like. If not, ask him or her what exercises you can do.
2. Set concrete goals.
Setting a goal to “improve my health” is far too general. You need solid goals that you can see yourself achieving. What is a good, concrete goal? Here are a few examples:
- Eat protein with breakfast 3x a times week.
- Stop buying 1 or 2 unhealthy, packaged products that you regularly buy, like snack cakes or cookies.
- Make every other milk purchase to organic.
- Do an exercise you like for 15 minutes a day, 2 days a week.
3. Set small goals.
Your inbox and social is probably full of ads for the latest diet, gym memberships and meal plans, but you can’t have success with any of those until you know you can do it. Don’t waste money on things you won’t use. Instead, set a goal that is small enough to successfully achieve this week. As you can see, the above goals are small and don’t require sweeping changes. Once you are regularly working out at home or walking or running, you can then consider putting aside budget for a gym, a trainer or a yoga class.
4. Increase those goals by a small number.
This part is key: once you do achieve that small goal 2 or 3 times, it’s time to increase it. Add a 3rd day of exercise, for example, or increase your workouts to 20 minutes a day. Eat protein with your breakfast four times next week. Try buying organic for every milk purchase, or switch another product to organic, like cheese or butter. Use the success of your small goal to buoy your confidence and keep the ball rolling by upping those increments every week or two.
5. Don’t wait.
One thing that really kills resolutions is procrastination. “I’ll start Monday” or “I’ve already wrecked today” are a way to postpone a dreaded task, and the more you postpone these activities, the less likely you are to do them. Start where you are, right now even if the year’s not over yet! For example, you get up from reading this article right now and drink a glass of water, throw out a box of GMO loaded cookies, or stretch and walk around for a few minutes.
6. Employ accountability.
You can achieve your goals alone but it’s more challenging – and less fun. A partner will help the process go smoother. In fact, if you’re like me, you need every partner you can get! I recommend an accountability partner – someone who vested in their health as well so you can share goals, a trustworthy friend who will push you, or a group where you can find like-minded members and support, such as Mamavation. Get technology on your side with a smartphone app like Coach by Cigna or an activity monitor and/or pedometer like Omron’s.
7. Take an official challenge.
Another great idea is to sign up for a health challenge. Keep your eyes open for the next two-week challenge by Mamavation (great group to join) or take one of the Naturally Savvy “Get Healthy” Food challenges.
In the spirit of encouragement, I will share my I initial goals with you:
- 15 minutes of exercise twice a week.
- Increase my water intake to 2 full large glasses a day (from one) this week.
- Increase to one more fruit/veggie (organic) per day for me this week.
- Put my diet back on the grocery list. (I tend to buy enough produce for “them” and none for me.)
If you’re wondering what I did today, I have already started drinking my next glass of water, ordered lunch from my local health food store and drank a container of Orgain instead of the sugared drink I usually have.
And finally, I encourage you to reward yourself for meeting larger, master goals – but not with food or drink! Instead, treat yourself to a healthy cookbook, more workout gear or that gym membership. Reward your healthy goal with more ways to get healthy. I invite you to share:
What health goals are you going to start on
and what will you accomplish today?
Disclaimer: I write for Mamavation.com and am a group member, I’ve also done work in the past for Naturally Savvy campaigns.