It’s the New Year! The parties are coming to an end, baby horses are turning 1 (they all have a January 1st birthday, regardless of when they’re born) and it’s time to focus on setting goals and creating some healthy habits for 2016.
One thing I love about the New Year is that feeling of a fresh start. I love to reflect on the previous year and look at everything I have accomplished and where I can make an effort to improve. I also spend quite a bit of time at the beginning of the month planning out my year ahead, setting goals and intentions to set me up for success!
One thing I find that helps me to reach my goals and balance my healthy lifestyle with my busy life is to create habits. The secret to creating a healthy lifestyle is about taking the first step. Just start somewhere. The key to sustaining it long-term is in how you approach your lifestyle once you break the gate.
Focus on Small Steps
Rather than trying to overhaul your entire life all at once, choose just two or three things to focus on at a time. And get specific. Instead of the vague goal of “eating healthier”, try adding a handful of greens to every meal. Instead of telling yourself you won’t ever have dessert again, create an intentional ritual around those indulgences. Don’t try to do too much at once. Small, consistent steps will get you much further long-term than quick fixes. Plus, they’re sustainable.
Life happens. And just like on the racetrack, there are things you can’t control. The thing about creating a long-term sustainable healthy lifestyle is that you have to live it every day for the rest of your life. There’s no other option. However, life will get in the way and you have to learn to roll with the punches to be successful. Maybe you’re a sucker for tailgating food and when Keeneland rolls around in the Spring, you dread going to the races for fear of overdoing it. Instead of your old habits where you used to gorge on chips and salsa until you couldn’t possibly eat any more, you can now focus on a few bites of the delicious race day treats, adding a few greens to it and savoring every bite. It’s okay not to eat perfectly healthy all of the time; in fact, it’s virtually impossible to do so. So embrace those healthy indulgences and move on with your life. Life is meant to be enjoyed!
Set Goals and Track Them!
Trainers set goals for thoroughbreds, so why don’t we do the same? When you can clearly define whether your goals are met, your progress is easier to track and you can better understand what is and isn’t effective. Goals will also help you to plan specific actions to take and allow you to visualize how you will succeed. For example, a goal could be “make starting my day off right a priority”. You can succeed at this goal by starting your day with lemon water and a healthy breakfast. This is a habit you want to form long-term, but in order to get there, you have to take the first step. The first few days, you focus on just the lemon water. Once that becomes a pretty consistent habit, you start tweaking your breakfast routine until you feel like you’re enjoying a breakfast that gives you energy and sets you up for success for the day ahead. You should try different things, recording what works and what doesn’t. When you write things out, you’re also better able to handle obstacles that come your way. Facing an early meeting at work? You know you can plan ahead and change up breakfast accordingly (maybe you prep ahead a frittata or overnight oats).
Creating a healthy lifestyle that fits into a busy life is possible. It’s all in how you approach taking that first step. Stay on track and you’ll feel like a champion before you know it!