If your goal is to take better care of yourself this year and beyond, you’re not alone. These days, everyone is paying more attention to self-care, and for good reasons, too. Not only is its importance to your physical health well-known, but its mental benefits are also just as well-recognized and lauded, as well.
But despite the many virtues of self-care, it’s notoriously difficult to sustain the practice beyond the first flush of zealousness that one rings in the new year with. New self-care routines may take the back burner before they become fruitful habits, thanks to the minutiae of daily living and the inability to keep up the costs. Sadly, if left unchecked, they stay there for good.
Staying true to your self-care and wellness goals is the biggest challenge yet, not just because of mental barriers and scheduling challenges, but also because of the expense. Consider the following cost-effective steps to bring about the lifestyle change you crave.
Set Realistic Goals
It’s oft-said in fitness that one should always “go big or go home.” However, this can be counterproductive when you’re still starting out, as this can burn you out quickly.
Indeed, the best way to stick to a healthy routine is to set realistic fitness goals that are also SMART — that is, Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-limited. Essentially, start the bar low with micro-goals, then work your way up to bigger ones. This allows you to focus on one goal at a time, rather than too many simultaneously.
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And while joining a gym or exercise studio often comes to mind in the pursuit of fitness, know that there are many ways to incorporate physical activity into your life without such an expense. Heading into the great outdoors, for one, is completely free and offers countless fitness opportunities, such as walking or running. Moreover, it’s easy enough to work out in your own home with the plethora of fitness apps and videos — often cheap or better yet, free — available today. Just invest in some affordable fitness tools and you’re good to go.
Keep Yourself Accountable
Arguably one of the best ways you can stick to your self-care and health goals is by keeping yourself accountable. This can be as simple as talking about your plans to trusted friends or family members and maybe even engaging a partner to support you and keep you on track in the face of temptation. Documenting your health journey on a platform like Instagram or joining wellness groups online will also do the trick.
Another thing that’s great for accountability is by making a conscious effort to track your progress. These days, there are countless health apps you can use that are designed to easily track everything from your weight to workouts to food intake. Best of all, they’re usually free or cost no more than a few dollars at most.
Reward your efforts
And finally, don’t fail to reward yourself for hard work. This kind of positive reinforcement is doubtless one of the most surefire ways to keep yourself motivated, which will, indeed, do wonders in your ability to sustain these healthful habits in the long run.
However, this doesn’t mean that you’re now allowed to binge-eat all the junk food you can get your hands on. As a rule of thumb, let your rewards complement your wellness goals, instead of contradicting them. For example, few things will motivate you to get moving more than new workout gear, so why not reward yourself with new sneakers to boost your workouts and make you look good while you’re at it? You don’t even need to break the bank to do with so; for example, websites like Rakuten can help you find deals and savings on women’s footwear.
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Suffice it to say, your self-care and wellness goals won’t be achieved overnight; you’ll need to put in real work to realize them. So, use these handy tips to make these healthy habits an indelible part of your life while staying true to yourself and your budget.
The Blue Ocean Life Community is thankful to Amy Mason, the founder of FitnessoftheMind.org, for offering another insightful post on ways to improve wellness.
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