23 steps for a fitter, healthier you in 2023 – that you can actually sustain

Let's get physical(ly and mentally healthier).
23 steps for a fitter, healthier you in 2023 – that you can actually sustain

Ready for a healthier you? (Picture: Getty/Metro.co.uk)

Seven weeks. No, that’s not the predicted tenure for the current Prime Minister; it’s the average length of time a New Year’s resolution lasts.

However, to help you set new goals that last past March, we have 23 steps you can take in 2023 to reach a consistently fitter, happier and healthier you.

Long-term change is tough. It takes commitment and effort. Therefore, for change to be successful and sustainable, it must be gradual and achievable.

Mandy Wong Oultram, award-winning personal trainer and nutrition coach at FlexFit, tells Metro.co.uk: ‘My main goal is to help people fall in love with training by showing them how fitness can fit into their busy lifestyles.

‘I want you to be motivated to exercise and eat healthily way beyond March when everyone else has ditched their resolutions!

‘So much so that this is the last year ever that “fitness” is a New Year’s resolution for you!’

Ahead, we break down 23 hacks you can start doing now to be healthier in the next year.

Find your why

Motivation can be hard to muster but even more so if you have no real idea why you’re doing something.

Wong Oultram agrees: ‘Dig deep into your mind to work out why you want to exercise more. Write it down and refer back to it when you’re feeling unmotivated (because, yes, we all have off days!).’

Be realistic and stay consistent

It’s reported that it takes an average of 66 days to change a habit. Therefore, you’re not going to change overnight, and it’s unlikely to happen in January.

However, it can be more achievable if you’re realistic about seeking change and stay consistent in your approach

‘If you’re struggling to maintain your momentum in the first month, try to stick with it, and you should find the change of lifestyle becomes a lot easier by the end of the second month,’ advises Mandy. 

Try new things (Picture: Getty/Metro.co.uk)

Set SMART goals

To stay focused and remind yourself

To stay focused and remind yourself what you want to achieve, set SMART goals: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-Bound. Without goals, there’s little accountability, and measuring progress is difficult.

Create manageable targets

Mandy says you should aim for targets that you have an eight out of ten chance of doing.

‘If your average daily step count is 5,000, rather than having your goal as 10,000 and not making it, set a target for say 6,000 and work out how you will walk your extra steps easily,’ she suggests.

List the benefits of getting fit and healthy

By listing the benefits of getting fit, you’ll create personal reasons to keep going. You’ll also have a reminder if you have weak moments, and you can stick it somewhere you’ll see it.

Wong Oultram says: ‘The benefits of exercise are well documented, but this is your list. Write down what’s important to you.’

Be realistic with your goals (Picture: Getty/Metro.co.uk)

List the consequences of not doing things

By listing the risks or consequences of not changing your lifestyle, you’ll reiterate your why. It’s not there to scare you but can encourage you when motivation is low. 

Schedule your workouts

While some of us may like to wing it when it comes to fitness, the reality is that it’s easy for life to get in the way of preventing us from working out. If you have a weekly schedule, then it’s harder to avoid.

‘Put exercise in your diary around your other commitments,’ Mandy recommends. ‘Plan for when you are least likely to abandon the idea, such as first thing in the morning.’

Don’t compare yourself

Don’t panic if it’s your first exercise class or workout for a while and others seem fitter than you—work against your targets and objectives, not someone else’s.

Healthy competition is one thing, but unrealistic goals are sure to invoke demotivation.

Grab small windows of opportunity

Just because you don’t have a full hour to work out doesn’t mean you can’t exercise; something is better than nothing.

Wong Oultram agrees: You don’t need an hour a day to train. 20 mins of exercise three or four days a week is still significant and worthwhile.

‘To see change, you just need to do more than you are now.’

Warm up before you work out (Picture: Getty/Metro.co.uk)

Celebrate small wins

Sometimes the little achievements count and can motivate you to keep going.

‘Don’t underestimate the power of patting yourself on the back for small steps you have made towards your goals,’ Mandy says. ‘All progress, no matter how small, should be noted.’

Plan your workout

The gym can be intimidating, and for some, it’s boring.

However, if you go armed with a workout (complete with sets and reps), it will provide structure and motivation. Alternatively, join a class to give you direction. 

Hire a personal trainer

Sometimes, we all need a push or someone to encourage us to keep going. The right personal trainer will vary your workouts, improve your technique and encourage you to work at your optimal capacity. 

Start strength training

Whatever your age, strength training will benefit you if you do it properly.

A recent study shows that strength training can help you live longer. It also reduces the risk of osteoporosis, can enhance your mood and confidence, increase your metabolism and improve heart health.

Drink water

You know the benefits of drinking lots of water, so make it as easy as possible.

Wong Oultram suggests taking your bottle with you everywhere and adding orange or lemon pieces to add flavour. 

Strength training is key (Picture: Getty/Metro.co.uk)

Make eating healthily more convenient

You can make healthy foods a part of your everyday life by batch cooking and freezing portions or buying pre-prepared vegetables like carrot batons that are quick and easy to use. Frozen berries and fruit are also handy for making a quick, healthy smoothie. 

Reduce your alcohol intake

Boozing might be fun at the time, but alcohol has detrimental effects on your workouts. It can cause dehydration because our kidneys produce more urine, and energy levels are affected as, making less glucose which makes us more tired.

‘If you’re tired, you’re more likely to make poor food choices and duck out of training the next day,” says Wong Oultram.

Eat high-energy foods

Carbs, including pasta, potatoes and rice, are vital for providing exercise fuel and you need them if you’re training regularly. 

Get enough good quality sleep

Wong Oultram says we should: ‘Sleep right to exercise and eat better the day after’.

She adds that it’s important to wind down an hour before bed by reading a book, listening to a podcast and restricting your use of phones.

Good rest is key (Picture: Getty/Metro.co.uk)

Do a warm-up

It’s easy to skip this part and crack on with your workout but a warm-up literally warms your muscles ready for exercise, increases circulation and body temperature and gradually raises your heart rate.

If you’re stuck for ideas, Wong Oultram suggests: A great idea is to warm up with lower intensity versions of the same movements you’ll be doing during your training.’

Stretch after your workout

A cool-down stretch is important.

‘Stretch when your muscles are warm and mobile,’ Mandy advises. ‘This will help your muscles recover and reduce soreness the next day.’

Train with friends

If you join a class or train with others, you can keep each other accountable. 

Create a playlist

If you exercise alone, a playlist of your favourite music can help motivate your workout, lift your mood and keep you doing it for longer.

As Wong Oultram says: ‘Make your mind associate exercise with good times!’

Try new things

You don’t have to run just because your friends swear by it; decide what you enjoy and try out some new types of exercise.

There are so many options, and you never know, aerial hoop, indoor rock climbing or pole fit might be just your thing.

What’s your New Year’s resolution? Have your say in the comments belowComment Now

Do you have a story to share?

Get in touch by emailing MetroLifestyleTeam@Metro.co.uk.


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