"New year, new me" is a phrase often uttered by people looking to make a change as the first of January rolls around.
For some people that means resolutions to shift certain habits for the better, but those changes can be hard to stick to.
Tracey Gairns Brioux is a a fitness and wellness coach and the founder of RESET: breathe, and she said people often put too much pressure on themselves to begin these changes in January and come up with big plans for resolutions.
It's simpler and healthier, she said, to think of more long-term goals so that new habits stick longer.
"Life happens, or kids get sick, or you have a few hard days and it kind of derails you and you feel like you failed," she said.
"I've seen so many people just get so discouraged that they just stop."
But if you can stick with it and think about the long haul, and celebrating every little victory along the way, she says, they add up and can make healthy changes that you can look back on and be proud of.
Here are some of her tips to help you get there.
1. What do I need to do today?
Small steps lead to big changes for both mental and physical health.
Asking yourself everyday "what do I need today?" is a great first step in racking up little victories, Gairns Brioux said.
"What do you need to do today to make yourself feel better? Have more energy?," she said. "What doesn't overwhelm you that you can do, one thing, everyday, that will make your day better?"
That could mean exercise, a nap, writing in a journal, a daily walk or having a healthy lunch, she said. Something small and achievable that isn't something you just "want" to do, but something you "need" to do to make yourself feel better.
2. Listen to your body
"Every day is going to be different, every season is going to be different," Gairns Brioux said.
With that in mind, it's important to listen to your body and work out accordingly.
If you're sore or hurting, take it easy. If you're full of energy and feel you can take on a run, the gym or some sort of activity, then do what you can.
"Just ask your body how it's feeling and see what answers you get."
3. Don't wait for motivation
You could be waiting a long time for motivation to show up on your doorstep.
"Sometimes we just have to get out of our head and into our shoes," she said.
Instead of waiting around for something that may never come, "just go," Gairns Brioux said.
4. Create space in your day
This is a tough one.
When your day is packed full of things to do, and being mindful that we're in a pandemic, making time for yourself is hard.
But finding that time to be active or even just relax and decompress is good for mental and physical health.
"When we can get into the habit of taking things out of our calendar so we have actually space for our wellness, or even just to sit, than we're more apt to have that time," she said.
5. Celebrate the little wins
Self-encouragement and celebration goes hand-in-hand with a healthier lifestyle, Gairns Brioux said.
"Even if you showed up and it felt like you hardly moved, or it was the best exercise or workout you had in a long time, it's whatever you're capable of that day and that's worth celebrating," she said.
"When we take time to celebrate our wins than we're more apt to come back for that intrinsic reward the next day."
One more tip: lean on someone who cheers you on
Gairns Brioux said having support is critical to working on your fitness.
A family member or a friend, someone you work with, whomever it may be to encourage you so you don't feel alone.
"We're all better when we're part of something that's bigger than us, even if we participate or we're a silent partner, we all definitely need support now more than ever," she said.