Why It’s OK to Make Health A Priority in the New Year + A GIVEAWAY

While people may mock new year's resolutions to exercise and get healthy, every journey has to start somewhere. If the new year is your jumping off point, own it. Give yourself a break if things don't go perfectly and have realistic expectations as you travel on your journey.

A lot of people make light of fitness resolutions in the new year.

While it’s true that a large proportion will fall off as the year progresses, I commend anyone who makes an effort to live a healthier life. For those of you who start and stop, maybe right now is not your time.

I wrote a post last year about how recovery and healthy living parallel each other. The biggest parallel I can draw is that a person won’t be able to commit until they’ve made the decision for themselves. Until the pain gets great enough. Until they’re sick of the way they’re living and honestly ready to make a change.

Neil and I got a gym membership together during their Thanksgiving special. We used the holidays when we had extra time off and the approaching new year to start living healthier lives. It felt great to be back in a fitness environment after being active in my teen years and then losing it slowly during college and the years where I focused more on drugs and drinking than anything else.

I was still learning how to live a clean and sober life and when life got hard, I chose the one thing I knew I could control and that was exercise. I’ve written about it before, but I had a rough time of using exercise as a way to manage my feelings and try to control things that would never be in my control. It was a bumpy journey, but somewhere along the line I was able to level off and find the balance that worked for me.

Why It's OK to Make Health A Priority in the New Year

I think a lot of people feel like starting a healthy journey has to be all or none. “I have to eat clean at all times or I’m failing.” “I have to exercise x times a week or else none of it mattered.” “I must ALWAYS be progressing or I may as well not be trying at all.”

Guys, that’s a ton of pressure. I don’t know anyone who can live up to that. It’s no wonder that so many people fall off their resolutions as the year continues. Things come up, exercising gets missed, eating becomes a little more lax, and sooner or later they feel like it’s not worth continuing since they aren’t doing it the way they think they should. How to make sure those things don’t happen as frequently is a post for another day, but for now let’s just focus on the expectations.

Understand that adopting a new lifestyle if you’re not used to it is hard. It’s easier to gain weight than lose it and it’s easier to lose muscle than to gain it. (Awesome, great pep talk). It takes time. It takes patience. Do a little every day. Don’t abruptly turn your life around. Don’t give up if you take a week off. Figuring out what works for you and what will make you happy will take time. There are ups and downs and side to sides. It’s not always a linear progression, so please give yourself a break. What works for you now may not work for you in the future, but you won’t be able to figure that out if you don’t move at all.

If the new year is your jumping off point, own it. Figure out your goals, make a plan, and take that first step.

It has to start somewhere.

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If you have some healthy resolutions you want to dig into this year, one thing that may help you is $100 to jump start that journey.

I’ve worked with Swanson in the past and they have a TON of healthy foods, vitamins, beauty products, etc. to choose from. Seriously, it always takes me FOREVER to figure out what I want since their inventory is so huge.  They also don’t exclusively sell Swanson brand items and I’ve gotten things from Bob’s Red Mill, Yogi tea, Think Thin, Purely Elizabeth, and the list goes on and on.

I’m partnering with Swanson again to give one reader a $100 gift card for whatever you want. Unless you’re buying tubs of protein powder, that means you can get a LOT. The giveaway will be open for one week, ending on 1/4 at midnight CST. Simply enter using the widget below and I’ll email the winner next week. Good luck!!

Thanks also to Amanda for letting me think out loud!

Erin’s Inside Job & Swanson Health Products Giveaway

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27 Comments

  1. Jillian
    December 28, 2016 / 5:40 am

    I’m cutting back on sugar!

  2. Roberta Regan
    December 28, 2016 / 5:44 am

    I love the attention you bring to the “all or none” mentality that can overtake any of us attempting significant lifestyle changes. As someone who is also in recovery, I also want to point out how this can happen there as well. For that reason I do not count days recovered, nor do I collect AA or NA chips. I have heard too many people refer to themselves as failures with even a minor relapse. Every day of living is a chance to move forward, but like you have said Erin, we all have bad days and they like to think of them as “trips but not falls” during a road race that should be fun…and not as a reason to quit the road race and feel the need to start over.

  3. December 28, 2016 / 7:27 am

    One thing that I am going to try to do in the new year is find ANY amount of time each day to do something self compassionate. Whether it be reading a book, painting my nails, stretching, going to the gym–anything for ME. Right now I’m working two jobs and all of my free time has vanished but I need to ensure that I take care of myself as well.
    Laura recently posted…Time to be HonestMy Profile

  4. Ashley Nescio
    December 28, 2016 / 9:20 am

    Thanks for posting this! I too often get caught up in the all or nothing mentality so this is such a helpful reminder!

  5. DJ
    December 28, 2016 / 9:37 am

    My goal this year is to walk 25 miles a week.

  6. December 28, 2016 / 9:51 am

    This is totally a priority I’m going to make in the New Year. I tend to get tempted to over exercise too much and not take rest days and sleep enough; so that’s a priority for this year!
    Emily recently posted…The One New Year’s Goal for 2017My Profile

  7. Crystal
    December 28, 2016 / 10:51 am

    “One foot in front of the other” and “progress over perfection” have been my two mantras this past year. I lost my job a year ago and although that was scary, it was also a welcome relief to re-evaluate how I was living. I starting walking (just 10 minutes a day – sometimes after just 5 min I’d have to stop and rest before finishing the other 5 minutes). In January, my husband and I did a Whole30. Although it was daunting at first, I just had to keep reminding myself it was only 30 days! Even if everything went back as it was before on day 31, I could commit to 30 days. But in that 30 days, I started using MyFitnessPal and bought a Garmin fitness tracker. And honestly, I felt so good, there really wasn’t any going back to before. My path isn’t perfect, and it doesn’t need to be. I just have to keep trying.

  8. steph
    December 28, 2016 / 12:10 pm

    I am just hoping for a healthy baby and happiness for the rest of our growing family!

  9. Deb E
    December 28, 2016 / 12:16 pm

    Last year I really wanted to focus on gaining more muscle because I faced how scrawny I was looking! I did really well with that, despite making it pretty vague and not specifying how much, when, etc. I can see and feel I have more muscle and don’t need to get lost in a bunch of numbers or track weights. No pressure. This year, I want to focus more on endurance and really step up my cardiovascular fitness. I journal now so I’ll start keeping track of my improvement that way. I want it to be a healthy habit I do regularly and not just logging numbers every day. I may change that approach but those are my initials thoughts heading into the new year.

  10. Alli O
    December 28, 2016 / 1:54 pm

    I’m starting a new medicine to try and get my symptoms under control in order to be able to workout again and live my life!

  11. Hillary
    December 28, 2016 / 2:31 pm

    I’m going to sleep more!

    Erin are you a kimchi fan? I just started making more own after your fermented passions to make kombucha! I need to try myhand at bucha next…..

  12. December 28, 2016 / 7:52 pm

    My health goals are mostly *mental* health related. Sure, I’d love to put on a bit more weight, lift heavier, do handstands, run tons, etc., but my two biggest priorities are getting a grip on my anxiety/depression and manage to use the healthy coping mechanisms I know, rather than resorting to the unhealthy habits that make me feel icky.
    Ellen @ My Uncommon Everyday recently posted…Five Friday Favorites 12/23/16My Profile

  13. Amanda S.
    December 28, 2016 / 8:40 pm

    I am excited to start taking yoga classes in 2017 as I received a pass as a Christmas gift!

  14. December 28, 2016 / 9:48 pm

    I definitely agree that if a goal doesn’t work out, this may just not have been the time for you. Or it wasn’t the right goal. I’ve somewhat stopped making “goals,” but I do want to try to keep my focus on doing things that will make me feel as I want to feel. This year one of my words is “flow,” so I want to continue to work on my ability to let go of what I cannot control and go along with any changes of plan that come my way.
    Cora recently posted…Diary of a Lovely (Holi)Day at Home: What I Ate WednesdayMy Profile

  15. Angela Saver
    December 28, 2016 / 10:09 pm

    I will be exercising at least 5 days per week, and eating more fruits and veggies!

  16. Susan Blommer
    December 29, 2016 / 1:45 am

    I plan on taking better care of myself by taking more “me” time. I need to be there for my mom at her memory care home, but I need to start taking some time off for myself too. I plan to start using essential oils for my physical health issues and looking at some accupuncture and accupreassure treatments. I had started those in 20w6 but them didn’t follow through.

  17. Annamarie V
    January 1, 2017 / 10:23 pm

    I am really watching my carb intake and walking more.

  18. Amy M.
    January 2, 2017 / 6:37 pm

    I plan on signing up for a gym membership in the new year. In the fall I made the transition from working as a dog walker to working in an elementary school, and I am definitely feeling the effects of no longer walking 3-6 hours per day! It’s so much harder to live a healthy lifestyle when being active isn’t built into your daily routine. But I just need to accept that and get myself to a gym!

  19. Nikki
    January 3, 2017 / 11:49 am

    Heal my broken ankle!

  20. January 3, 2017 / 2:49 pm

    You said it, Erin. Change is really about one step at a time. If you change too many things all at once, it’s hard to stick with it… but if you make one healthy change at a time, you will see progress sooner than you think.
    I love this post. It’s important. I tend to chuckle at the “full gym” after the new year, but in all honestly, people are trying to make positive changes and that’s commendable in itself.
    San recently posted…A year in review: 2016My Profile

  21. Amany
    January 3, 2017 / 7:44 pm

    Powerful post!

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