Photo: Woman walking or hiking

You might be at a point in the year when you’re struggling to keep the new year’s health resolutions you made and you’re falling back to old habits. Old habits die hard, but they don’t have to in your case! Here’s a list of some of the most common barriers to staying healthy and how to overcome them:

  1. Lack of knowledge – The biggest barrier to a healthy lifestyle might be that you truly don’t know how to, and don’t feel comfortable to make healthy changes. The best place to start is by overhauling your diet since you are what you eat. Choose a variety of fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains as often as possible. If you’re not used to cooking healthy, start learning. We often hold cooking classes that you can find on our website. Plan to exercise at least 20 minutes a day. Reach and maintain a healthy body weight and stop drinking alcohol and using tobacco products. Get enough sleep, minimize stress and maintain a positive attitude. Seek the support you need to commit to your resolutions.
  2. Lack of time – Time is a luxury very few people have these days. It’s important to adjust your schedule to prioritize your health. Try replacing half an hour of TV or social media time with a quick exercise session. You can also squeeze in 10-minute exercise sessions throughout your day – start your day with a quick morning stretch routine, go for a walk after lunch or do squats and push-ups while dinner is simmering. Try preparing foods ahead of time by making a large batch and dividing it into portions according to days or cook quick meals. You don’t need a lot of time to cook healthy! Look in the Recipes section of our website for recipe ideas.
  3. Lack of money – A healthy lifestyle isn’t always more expensive. While gym memberships and dining out every meal can empty your wallet fast, there are plenty of cheap options available. Free exercise ideas include walking outdoors or developing an exercise routine to do at home that requires no special equipment or training. Not to mention the fact that we live in Hawaii – every mountain is a hike to explore and we are surrounded by beaches to swim and surf at! In terms of healthy food, you could grow a small garden at home, look for sales or coupons, buy canned or frozen options, or shop in the bulk department of any our Down to Earth stores. Plan a week’s worth of meals all at once so you’re not as likely to go out to eat on the spur of the moment.
  4. Lack of self-control – Temptation is everywhere. Fast food restaurants are conveniently situated on almost every corner and their food is cheap, making it attractive to busy people. Many people are also held back by family and friends who tempt them. Eliminating temptation is almost impossible. Instead, cultivate new healthy habits and distractions - if you usually reach for a sweet treat when you’re feeling lonely, call a friend instead or go for a walk. Tell your ohana and loved ones about your health goals so they can help you stick with them. You may even inspire them to develop a healthy habit or two!

Think about your own habits and why you’re not following through with keeping your health resolutions. What’s holding you back? Write down your personal barriers, then for each of your barriers, write a strategy that helps you overcome them. Stick to your resolutions, and you’ll be surprised at the end of the year how far you’ve come on your health journey!