Sure, Jan. 1 is a great day to kick-start that resolution, but why wait till then? A nationwide survey conducted by FGI Research for The Monday Campaigns found that most of us see Monday as the day for a fresh start: It’s when we’re most likely to quit smoking, start a diet or begin an exercise regimen. The FGI survey also showed that 74 percent of people thought a Monday start would help them follow through on their health intentions for the week.
So today, a couple of days before New Year’s, get going with the help of these tips from from Diana Rice, a registered dietitian with the Monday Campaigns.
1. Plan your meals and exercise routines on Monday
Planning is critical to success, and setting specific, attainable goals each week will prove more effective than making vague promises to “eat healthier” or “exercise more.” Take a few minutes every Monday to consider your schedule for the upcoming week. Then plan your meals and determine the best times to fit in your workouts. Design a specific regimen and write your meals and workouts into your calendar just as you would with other engagements.
2. Every Monday, give yourself a clean slate
Don’t let a bad week become the reason your resolution fails. Regardless of how well you stuck to your diet and exercise plan the previous week, you can still determine the success of your current one. Allowing yourself a clean slate every Monday provides a renewable opportunity to get back on track. Monday is the January of the week, after all!
3. Use Monday to check in with a friend
At the beginning of each week, seek support from those with similar goals. Check in with family, coworkers or an organized group — whatever works for you. Take the time to jointly celebrate previous successes and talk about your goals for the future. Don’t forget to discuss situations that may present a problem or deter you from your goals. Fostering a system of support and accountability provides motivation to stick to your plan and achieve your weekly targets.
4. Go Meatless Monday
Designating one day a week to go meatless provides a manageable framework for reducing your overall caloric intake. Plant-based options like fruits, beans and whole grains tend to be lower in fat and calories than meat, and they’re also chock full of satiating fiber. Going meatless at least one day a week will allow you to confidently enjoy the occasions when you do consume meat, and you’ll likely discover some new vegetarian favorites that you can incorporate into your everyday diet.
5. Do the Monday Mile
Resolving to walk a mile every Monday isn’t just a fantastic way to squeeze in a few extra minutes of physical activity; it can also provide context for sticking with some of your other healthy habits. Make the Monday Mile a standing weekly engagement with family, friends or coworkers. Then, use that time to not only get your heart pumping, but also to check in with your support partners, stop by a vegetarian lunch joint or talk about a new exercise class or healthy recipe you’re planning to try.