Everyone pledges to get healthier for the New Year, but by February it’s a distant memory. We polled our loyal followers on Facebook and Twitter to see what stands in their way from meeting annual health and fitness goals. Here’s what they had to say and some expert advice to help overcome those barriers.
Barriers to Success
It’s no surprise that the top 3 things stopping most folks from changing their lifestyles are time, money, and downright laziness. Making changes to your normal routine can be difficult, but it’s really what you make of it. One of the biggest mistakes my clients make is trying to change everything overnight. This of course becomes way too difficult and they just give up. It’s not about how fast you change things – instead, make realistic changes you can stick to.
If you want to exercise more, commit to 1 or 2 days a week and work you way up. Want to drink less soda and more water? Cut back by 50 percent and continue from there. Making progress in small steps can mean the difference between broken promises and successful changes.
Here are a few more ways to easily tackle some of the biggest health headaches.
We could all use a few extra hours in the day, but your health should be a priority. Get on the treadmill while watching a favorite TV show. Get the whole family involved in making healthy dinners so it doesn’t take away from your time with them.
Making small changes doesn’t require large chunks of time. That way you can ease into a new routine without a giant commitment.
Top Time Saving Tip: Set aside one weekend day a month to prepare some healthy dishes for the freezer. You’ll have a couple of weeknight dinners at the ready instead of calling for takeout.
It’s a common misconception that eating healthier costs more. Large chain supermarkets have stepped up their healthy inventories, which has made many healthy foods more wallet-friendly. Eating at home is much more affordable than takeout and once you stock up on some healthy staples, you’ll just need to buy some fresh perishable items from week to week. Buy produce in season when it’s the most affordable and buy meat and fish when on sale and store in the freezer.
Top Money Saving Tip: Crunch the numbers, set a weekly grocery budget, and stick to it – you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
More budget-friendly ideas:
- Budget Friendly Family Recipes
- 10 Healthy Foods Under $3
- Top 5 Budget Friendly Foods
- Don’t Skip The Bulk Aisle
Lack of motivation is one of the hardest barriers to overcome. Ask a friend to meet you at the gym or help brainstorm healthy dinner ideas. Make a contract with yourself or stay on task with daily motivational emails. Find something that best fits your personality — PowerBar’s Power Coach, Prayfit, Spark People are just a few great resources to try to get started.
Top Way to Combat Laziness: Don’t delay on making changes — each small success will pump you up to make another.
TELL US: What’s stopping you from getting healthier in 2011?
Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition. See Dana’s full bio »