10 Health Tips That Aren’t Head-Scratchers

Health, it’s no mystery. Just like every other aspect of our lives these days, the wellness space has become crowded with too much content and information. We, in partnership with Tropicana, decided to bring it back to the basics.

Have you ever carried out extreme New Year’s resolutions successfully? Or any drastic health resolutions for that matter? We ourselves have tried and failed, which is why we tapped our favorite nutritionists for plans, resolutions and goals that are actually realistic. Sticking to a healthy regime might not be the mystery of the sphinx after all…

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From Holly Phillips, M.D.

If you’re like many people, your New Year’s resolutions have probably turned into a fading memory. A recent survey of more than 1,500 people found that only 58 percent of people maintain their resolutions after one month. It doesn’t have to be this way – you can pick them back up, just in time for summer. Assuming your resolutions are truly important to you, this is a prime opportunity to infuse your health-related goals with new motivation and boost your chances of succeeding. Here are ten strategies to help you do just that:

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Instead of scattering your energy across numerous resolutions, focus on just one or two that are particularly important to you, whether it’s to kick your junk food habit, lose weight, get fitter, quit smoking, or something else. Willpower is a limited resource; don’t risk squandering it.

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Hit the pause button and think about why you’re pursuing this goal. How important is it to you? And why does it matter to you? To succeed at changing your behavior for the long haul, it’s important to do it for your own personally rewarding reasons—what’s often called intrinsic motivation—rather than for another person or an event like a college reunion (external sources of motivation).

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If you establish specific, action-oriented goals for getting to a particular prize, you’ll make the pursuit less daunting and be able to reap rewards and satisfaction along the way. If you want to slim down, you might aim for a five-pound weight loss to start then continue from there.

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Resolve to start a new behavior rather than to ditch an old one. If you want to clean up your eating habits, think about what you’ll include in your diet (lots of colorful fruits and veggies!) rather than what you’re going to give up or exclude. This may sound like spin control (and it is) but it can make a difference to your mindset.

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Success isn’t an all-or-nothing proposition. You can have good days and bad days. The important thing is to pick yourself up from a lapse and forge ahead. Don’t beat yourself up for it; simply let it go and get back with the program the next day.

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Write your intentions on a calendar and check them off when you do what you planned to do. Remove temptation by clearing the junk food from your cabinets. If your resolution is to exercise every morning, place your gym bag and running shoes by the front door. Or, post encouraging notes on the bathroom mirror or refrigerator door to cheer yourself on to success.

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You don’t have to do this by yourself. Tell supportive friends, family members, and colleagues about the changes you’re making and let them know how they can help you. Or, ask a friend to pursue this goal with you. Identify people who’ve succeeded at making similar changes and ask them for advice.

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Use a food diary, an exercise log, or an app to monitor what you’re doing. Numerous studies have found that self-monitoring is a key factor in achieving weight-loss success and other habit changes. Besides helping you keep tabs on yourself, it positively reinforces the desirable behavior you’re trying to turn into a habit.

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Sometimes life throws obstacles in your way. It’s smart to anticipate troublesome situations that could derail your good intentions and figure out how you’ll navigate them—ahead of time. Develop a plan for exercising solo or taking an exercise class when your buddy isn’t available. Think of what you’ll say if a family member pushes her incredibly decadent chocolate cake on you (“I can’t eat another bite but I’d love take a piece home for tomorrow”).

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Pause periodically and assess what’s working and what’s not. Maybe you’ve come to realize that taking a lunchtime exercise class isn’t practical for you, in which case you might decide to go to the gym after work instead. Or maybe you need to eat more often (or change what you eat for lunch) if you’re running on empty by 3 p.m. Give yourself permission to ditch or revise a strategy to make it suit your needs.

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INM

*Sponsored by Tropicana