Let’s be upfront: Hardly anyone follows through on their New Year’s resolutions. (So says the data.)
While nearly half the population sets one, less than 10% feel like they’ve followed through, according to recent research. To make matters worse, that same study lists weight loss and healthier eating as the Number 1 resolution people set.
That explains why, if you’re one of those people, you might be worried you’ve fallen off the wagon — it’s nearly March, which means we’re closing in quickly on 2017 being one-quarter over. Yikes.
But here’s some good news: Even though you might not yet be seeing dramatic results in your weight, it’s possible that your New Year’s resolution has moved you in the right direction. Your goal may not have been a perfect fit for you and your lifestyle or it simply wasn’t specific enough to keep you motivated long term, you might still on the right track toward improved health and wellness — you just don’t recognize some of the subtler signs.
Here are a few small ways to know you’re still on the right track when it comes to achieving better health.
1. YOUR ENERGY LEVELS ARE UP
If you’ve noticed a little extra pep in your step, it could mean that you’ve been eating more nutrient-rich foods or you’re drinking more water consistently since the start of the new year. Either way, keeping yourself well-fueled and hydrated can help you feel less fatigued. This subtle sign may be most noticeable between meals or during a midafternoon slump. Foods rich in complex carbohydrates or protein are often considered to be more sustaining, releasing energy slower as they take longer for the body to digest. As you plan your meals, incorporating these foods — along with other nutrient-rich options — can help you stay more alert and focused.
2. MEALS HAVE BECOME MORE SATISFYING
Whether your goal was to lose weight, to become fitter or even to eat more vegetables, meal satisfaction can play a large role in successfully achieving any of those outcomes. If your New Year’s resolution inspired you to incorporate more nutrient-rich foods into your day, then hopefully your meals have become more satisfying, too.
3. IT’S EASIER TO MOVE
Taking care of your body means it should function the way it’s supposed to most of the time. If you’re finding that you’re less likely to get winded while climbing a flight of stairs or have an easier time keeping up with your kids, those also can be subtle signs that you’re moving in the right direction with your health goals. Of course, the more you keep active, the more likely you’ll be able to move your body with ease. What you eat can also support an active body, playing an important role in making sure you have the muscle and bone support needed to move through activities of everyday life.
4. YOUR TUMMY IS HAPPY
Your bathroom habits can tell you a lot about your overall health and well-being. If things are running smoothly down there, that may be a subtle sign you’re eating well. If your meal plan is incorporating plenty of fiber, you’re eating meals regularly and consistently, and you’re drinking enough water, your digestive health should reflect that. Eating foods rich in probiotics, like yogurt and kefir, have also been shown to support positive digestive health. Did you set a goal to be more physically active? Even activities like stretching and walking can help support good digestive health.
5. YOU’RE FEELING LESS HANGRY
Go too long without eating and your body will let you know that it’s not pleased. Blood-sugar levels drop, causing you to feel, well, hangry. If your resolution encouraged you to go no longer than four to five hours in between meals, you may have noticed that your mood has improved. That’s because your blood sugar is better maintained and you’re avoiding extreme highs and lows. Eating balanced meals throughout the day can help regulate mood, but exercise can also help by promoting the release of mood-boosting endorphins.
Resolutions are fun to set — they make you feel empowered, like you can start anew. But we all know they’re hard to stick to. By focusing on those subtle signs of success, you can stress less knowing you are continuing to make great strides toward feeling your best even when those big goals seem a bit out of reach.
GEAR UP FOR YOUR NEXT WORKOUT