As we enter 2021, there is (was?) a sense of hope for the future. But many of us took the start of lockdown to indulge in negative habits — and that’s ok! — however, now many of us are looking to undo the damage of 2020, and we don’t know where to start. Our sister publication, Soapbox, spoke to two fitness instructors — Lindsey Schmitt and Jan Angilella — for advice.
When asked for advice about how to stay on track past March when resolutions tend to lose momentum, Angilella, who is also a Soapbox contributor, says: “My best piece of advice is don't make the goals too big, like, ‘I have to lose 50 pounds by March!’ Make daily goals. Get through one day of ‘workout, eating better, sleep.’ Then on to the next day. When it gets boring, then do a new workout. Do something different from what you've been doing. That makes it feel like you're starting new again. Just be smart. Make little changes.”
Schmitt — who runs Best Life With Lindsey — agrees, and elaborates during a Q&A with Soapbox.
Soapbox: How do you encourage people to make — and stick with — resolutions for the entire year?
Lindsey Schmitt: When it comes to health resolutions and goals there are some proven strategies: Write them down, share them with someone, and find an accountability partner. Lately, I have been focusing on the front end, taking time to pause and reflect on WHY this goal is important to you. I tell clients to really dig deep. It has to be more than weight loss. Why do you need to lose weight? What will that look and feel like? What about your longevity and long term health?
SB: That sounds reasonable. But how do you stay on track in the winter, which tends to be dark, cold, and gloomy in our region?
LS: When the alarm goes off on a cold winter morning at 5 a.m., you need to know, breathe, and live your why. Also, why not focus on ONE thing with your health at a time. If movement is your thing, then focus on an exercise program. Let ONE health habit become the keystone habit, the lead domino. Don't attempt to make drastic changes in too many areas at once. If food is your ONE thing, focus on healthy food and cutting back on processed food first. Spend 1–2 months on ONE thing, ONE new habit, ONE big change.
SB: What are your thoughts on diets?
LS: Now that I recently completed my certification as a holistic nutritionist, I have a personal focus with all my clients on plants. I want to help everyone understand the power of a plant-based diet in preventing, reversing, and treating chronic conditions. There are numerous studies as to how plant diversity is key to a healthy gut microbiome. My own goal this year is to diversify the plants I eat. I created a Facebook Group, "52 plants, 52 weeks." One plant per week. I am basing it off of seasonal produce and again, plant diversity. We often eat the same foods again and again. I want to help people feel empowered to try new things.