Small Steps, Big Impact: Tiny Changes to Help Reach Your Best!
Every year the world becomes focused on a set of goals and resolutions to kick the year off right. Many of these goals are health and nutrition based and the average length of time people stick to those goals is only a few weeks – The frequency of quitting new years resolutions is so prevalent there’s a “Quitter’s Day” recognized on the 2nd Friday of January in the US.
Many people quit because their goals are too ambitious or require too much change and sacrifice. This year, consider embarking on a journey that is more holistic, with small changes that can fit into your normal routine and add up to big impact. While many people punish themselves by avoiding sweets or alcohol with a “Dry January” and doing extreme workouts, finding a sustainable routine while being flexible can be the most effective strategy. We talked to our in-house health and nutrition expert Dr. Emily Fritz to learn more about how we can start the new year off strong.
Many people start their year with an ambitious fitness goal like running a marathon or working out for 60 minutes every day. These ambitious goals might require big sacrifices. If you’re just starting out, Dr. Fritz provided us with some hope saying, “Research has shown that ANY exercise session can help improve fitness – even if you’re only able to move for a minute! Doing shorter bouts of exercise, called exercise snacks, can seem more achievable and help you fit a new routine into your busy schedule. A great example would be adding in a little walking after you eat to help keep your blood sugar from spiking and help you form a habit since its tied to another routine.” When starting a new fitness routine, it's crucial to support your body with good nutrition - which is another common new year’s resolution.
Think about Adding More to your Diet Instead of Cutting Things Out
Following a more nutritious diet is like exercise - making smaller changes that still allow you to enjoy many foods you love can be the most effective way to achieve your goals. Dr. Emily recommends focusing on protein as the powerhouse nutrient for sticking to your nutrition goals. She said, “Protein is where you get more bang for your calorie buck. Protein helps repair and build muscles, so you can stick to your fitness goals and the combination of protein and fiber can help you feel more full so that you’re able to stay on track with a healthier diet.”
Another thing to keep in mind is that people are more successful with changes to their nutrition if they stay flexible. Dr. Emily noted that “The new habits that stick are the ones that make you feel good. Avoid extremes that can be hard to maintain and feel like punishment. A more gradual approach will help create more sustainable long term nutrition habits.” Also, better-for-you snacks that are still delicious can help fulfill any salty cravings in a healthier way. Research suggests that when you make the healthy choice the easy choice, you’re more likely to stick to a change. Rivalz provides a better option with protein and fiber that can make a healthier choice easy when you have a craving for a salty snack.
It’s about Being Healthier and Loving Yourself
In the end the most important thing to a strong New Years start is maintaining a positive mindset focused on your long-term health goals. As popular books like Atomic Habits suggest, small habits can add up to big changes over time and setting realistic goals is a good way to start off a new year.
- Focus on where you can add instead of being obsessed with “can’ts” and “shouldn’ts”!
- Start with protein and fiber as indispensable allies for starting to eat healthier.
- Think about moving a little more each day to start an exercise routine.
A new year doesn’t need to mean a full reset –big changes overnight are hard to maintain. Instead, focus on small changes that are more achievable and trust that over time they will get you moving in the right direction and have lasting impact on our fitness and nutrition.
This article has been fact-checked by Dr. Emily Fritz. About Dr. Emily Fritz:
Dr. Emily Fritz earned her M.S. and Ph.D. at South Dakota State University in Exercise, Nutrition and Food Science. Emily joins Rivalz from her role as VP of Scientific Affairs at the Beachbody Company and is passionate about advancing scientific discovery for companies leading the way in human health and nutrition. In addition to her commercial work, she has authored, presented, and collaborated on many research studies ranging from large National Institutes of Health (NIH) studies to leading student research projects during her time as an Assistant Professor at Simpson College in Indianola, IA.