If you’re Canadian, the return of warmer weather tends to bring with it a whole lot of promise. Buds are blooming on the trees, grass is growing – life is bursting onto the scene all around us. The birds are back. And they’re singing.
Unless you love the cold of winter, spring feels like the metaphorical shackles have been loosened. We’re set free into the world beyond our homes once again. And taking our workouts outdoors seems that much more attractive, whether we’re biking, hiking or walking.
Spring also serves as a reminder that we’re a few months into 2022, leaving many of us to wonder how those New Year’s resolutions to promote better health are going?
We could start by suggesting you revisit your New Year’s Resolutions. But for many of us the reply might be: ‘What resolutions?’
That’s because the motivation of a new calendar year is enough to prompt many of us to create a health or wellness routine to refresh and renew our body, mind, and soul. But good intentions don’t always last.
According to an Ipsos Reid poll Canadians are good at making New Year’s resolutions but don’t always follow through.
Not surprisingly, the most common resolution is to improve health and fitness by doing everything from more exercise to ditching some weight, improving nutrition and quitting smoking. A noble pursuit, perhaps, but just 22 per cent of Canadians, overall, report keeping previous resolutions.
Whether you’re doing well, and your healthy routine is going according to plan, or you need some help to get back on track, here are some tips to help make health and wellness a priority:
- Focus: One goal achieved is better than a bunch made and not realized. Kellen Scantlebury, a certified strength and conditioning specialist told SELF that trying to do too much at one time is one of the biggest mistakes people make when setting health and wellness plan goals. So, rather than setting yourself up for failure by expecting too much, too quickly, make smaller, more realistic goals and go from there.
- You Do You: Don’t be influenced by what you see on social media or by what other people are doing. Find out what makes sense for you and do it.
- Be SMART: Some trainers employ the SMART method (that's specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely) to keep clients on track. Find out more here on how to set a fitness goal that is achievable.
- Be Patient: SELF suggests being patient, given that “lasting changes take a while” to achieve. Make so-called macro goals to build your confidence and achieve success. Carve out some concrete plans but focus on one step at a time rather than setting up unrealistic goals which are, well, likely to leave you disappointed.
“It’s all about those little victories,” says Mark DiSalvo, a NYC-based certified strength and conditioning specialist. “You want to be able to reward yourself mentally.”
- Talk to a Professional: Consider meeting with a professional, at least to get you started. And consider what roadblocks you’ve hit in the past and try to find a way to avoid those pitfalls again.
- Be Kind to Yourself: That doesn’t mean letting yourself off the hook when it comes to being committed to wellness goals, but showing some compassion because it will help you stay focused.
“Self-compassion is a way to disrupt self-criticism and be gentle with ourselves. And, as it turns out, being gentle with ourselves doesn’t make us soft, it actually makes us more resilient,” according to A Simplified Guide to Creating a Wellness Routine. “Approaching a wellness routine grounded in self-compassion, then, allows you to forgive yourself when you miss a day or ‘fall off the wagon,’ and will help you to build a sustainable practice that you can stick to over time.
Once you have your head in the game, here are some tips to help you approach spring like it’s a new year.
- Add fresh, in-season fruits to your diet
- Stay hydrated
- Get a good sleep routine going
- Get outside and get moving
- Make that annual visit to your doctor
- Overindulge on fatty snacks and processed meats at backyard barbeques or indulge in too many sugary or alcoholic beverages on the patios
- Forget sun protection. Make sure you’ve got sunglasses for your eyes and sunscreen on exposed skin