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Tips on how to keep that New Year's resolution to be healthier

People think being in the gym and eating healthy only helps physical appearance but it really helps mentally too.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — When the ball drops most people have their new year's resolutions mapped out and ready to go. But keeping resolutions to be healthier can be draining and difficult for some.

Fortunately, experts have some tips and reasons for you to keep you on the right track.

Jennifer Wolff, the owner of J.J. Wolff Counseling, said that there needs to be preparation in order to start a healthy lifestyle. Mentally, almost no one can wake up and stop eating sugar or cut things out on the first day of the year, Wolff said. She added that it's important to understand that it's a process - and that's where the first bit of mental awareness comes in. She explained that it's important to not go into it thinking it's all physical - because it is mental. 

Wolff said that the saying "slow and steady wins the race," really speaks to the process and that we need to be easier on our bodies and not so hard. You should not wake up and say 'I am going to lose 20 pounds this year,' you need to make it slow and start off just exercising and then getting to a point where goals can be set. 

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Wolff said that in the clients she's worked with, she notices that a cleaner diet and stricter workout program have proven to lead to a stronger mindset. 

"The mind is connected to the body, the two cannot be treated separately so however you are treating your body is going to directly correlate to the mind," adding.

Columbia residents were out hitting the gyms on Sunday and spoke about the improvements they have experienced from the healthy lifestyle. Student Mary Walter Creech said it helped her with mental health, anxiety, and achieving better grades in school. Whereas Brian Dye said he's noticed that his mind functions more strongly than ever. He feels sharper and overall better since getting into working out and eating clean. 

But some people find it hard to follow that lifestyle or they pick it up during the rising omicron cases and fear gyms because of the surge. Wolff stressed that it's important to realize you do not always need a gym. She said there are ways to be active at home whether through yoga, stretching, or going for a walk or run. Incorporating physical activity and eating healthy and drinking water do not require you to be in a gym full of people. 

RELATED: Local gym helps train young athletes for free during the pandemic

A resident of Columbia, Mark Austin said that even though he sometimes does not want to work out, he finds a way to stay active at home if he isn't feeling the gym. Whether it's not wanting to leave, COVID cases, or the weather, he can work out at the house and remain in good shape. 

Wolff did have one final tip for those who want to change their lifestyle. She said that once you figure out the "why" then the "how" becomes possible. Wolff also said it does not have to be a resolution. It can happen at any time of year or when you want to put your mind to it. 

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