Every year, patients talk to me about how they plan to set a New Year’s resolution to become more fit and healthy. Inevitably, every year most patients do not follow through on those resolutions. This year, let me help you by providing a road map to follow that can help you develop better habits and prioritize your health in 2022.
We’re all at different points in our fitness and wellness journey, so understand that this road map can be adjusted to make it manageable regardless of where you start. Many factors that play a role in your fitness, but today we will focus on the two that I talk with patients about the most – exercise and nutrition.
Commit to exercising three times a week. Every time I discharge a patient, they ask how long they need to do their home exercise program. My answer is always the same: “3 x 52.” If you commit yourself to exercise three times a week for 52 weeks out of the year, you’re going to see some good things happen to your body.
There are a couple of ways to help put this goal into action. First, you can commit to exercise on days that work for you by setting a reminder for yourself in your planner or the calendar on your phone. Think of these times as appointments; they are non-negotiable. Second, and perhaps the most important thing you could do for yourself, is joining a gym. Not just any gym; if you have trouble with complying with your exercise routine, join a gym that fosters a sense of community. Any gym that offers small group exercise classes can be a great way to find your tribe of people that will help hold you accountable to your fitness goals.
Creating healthy habits with nutrition can be extremely difficult. A good place to start is simply by acknowledging where you are currently. There are many phone apps out there that can help log nutrition. I recommend the free version of ‘My Fitness Pal’ to patients. Log everything you eat; this could be done daily or just a few times per week. The app will then give you your macronutrient breakdown – how much protein, carbs, and fat you consumed. When you are first starting, watch for trends. That awareness of what you are eating can help you make better choices.
Remember, all of these goals can be scaled as needed. Change what you need to but have your goals written down. Check on your goals after one month and see how you are doing. From there, you can make changes as needed to help you develop better health habits.
How confident are you on a scale from 0-10 that you can commit to the goals above? If it’s lower than a 7, you likely need to adjust those goals so they are more likely to be attainable. Need a good place to start? Come into an Athletico near you for a Free Assessment. One of our knowledgeable physical therapists will help determine if you have any limitations and help you work toward reaching those fitness goals. Free Assessments are available in-clinic and virtually through our Telehealth platform.
The Athletico blog is an educational resource written by Athletico employees. Athletico bloggers are licensed professionals who abide by the code of ethics outlined by their respective professional associations. The content published in blog posts represents the opinion of the individual author based on their expertise and experience. The content provided in this blog is for informational purposes only, does not constitute medical advice and should not be relied on for making personal health decisions.
1. Bailey, Ryan R. “Goal Setting and Action Planning for Health Behavior Change.” American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine, vol. 13, no. 6, 2017, pp. 615–618., https://doi.org/10.1177/1559827617729634.