At the start of a new year, many people set resolutions and goals. Perhaps this year you vowed to get your family into shape or to adopt healthier habits? If so, we have some fool-proof methods that will allow you to succeed.
- Create a plan together – if it is all in one family members hands you are likely to find a bit of a rebellion occurring in a few days or weeks. Instead, bring your entire family together and discuss the various “whys” and “hows” of getting healthy. For example, you can explain that your doctor wants you to lose weight and that he or she also indicated that the entire family could do with a few less pounds. If that is not the most diplomatic approach for your family, simply choose a good reason to aim for a healthier lifestyle – it could be for the environment, for food costs, etc. Once everyone understands and agrees, it will be much easier to make plans that all will adhere to.
- Admit that it will take time – those famous “baby steps” are the only way to go. You will all have to agree that you will be building upon a series of smaller success stories. For example, you decide to do a “Meatless Monday” and to then try for at least three days each week that you go vegetarian, etc. Additionally, you will have to work through such things as holidays and vacations together too.
- Track it - why not make fitness and healthier eating a family contest? Tracking success is a great way to see how easily you are all meeting your goals. Additionally, tracking helps to overcome any slips or setbacks too. Rather than tossing in the towel because of some blunder, you can see that you quickly moved past it and got right back on track!
- Go for success and not perfection – it is easy to want to reach goals and make changes right away, but that is perfection and it is a myth. Instead, we are far more likely to succeed in individual and group endeavors when we aim for long term success. So, instead of getting everyone to do 30 minutes of exercise every day, think of it as a success if you get them together two or three times each week, and then build on it.
- Make it a fun endeavor – kids and adults like to have fun, and if you make healthy changes a fun thing it will become a permanent thing. For example, exercise can include a weekly scavenger hunt or family bike race in the park!
- Eat together once each day – sharing a meal and a conversation once each day unites you as a family and reinforces the positive feelings of healthy changes.
Check out this site for some great family exercise ideas:
There you have it! These are six easy ways to begin making healthier changes to your family’s lifestyle today.