The new year brings in new goals-or old ones. So many of us strive to eat healthier, lose weight, go to the gym more, and overall live a “healthier” life. Every year we set the same goals with the same outcome-failure. This year I challenge you to set up the new year with success by following these easy tips!
1. Set realistic goals
Is your goal to lose 20 pounds and be thinner than you were in high school? The ambition is respected but when you don’t reach that goal it can be a huge blow to your self-esteem and set you back even more. Achieving smaller goals first will motivate you more. Want to lose 20 pounds? Let’s start with 5. Go to the gym 6 days a week? Let’s start with 3. Plan to run 3 miles a day (and can only run 1 right now) Let’s start with 1.5. Mastering baby steps will boost your self-esteem while you’re climbing up your mountain to better health.
2. Drink more water
We all know water is important for us, but how important is it really? Staying hydrated can improve motor function, brain function, sleep, eating habits and more. There are tons of cool reusable water bottles on the market you can sip on throughout the day. Don’t like water? Add a slice of lemon or orange! Even a stick of cinnamon for a real treat.
3. Find an activity you love
Setting a goal for going to the gym 4 days a week is awesome, but not when you hate the gym! You get so much more satisfaction-mentally, physically, and emotionally- when you practice an activity you love. There are so many fun activities out there you can take up-and a variety of rec centers you can get memberships too. Some activity ideas include: basketball, yoga, pilates, Zumba, crossfit, rock climbing, hiking, biking, gardening, softball, flag football, cycling, skiing, snowboarding, ice skating, pole dancing- man the list never ends!
4. Learn to unplug
It’s so easy to get off track and lose mobility when you’re attached to your tv or smartphone. Make a goal for yourself to spend at least 1 hr a day less on your screens. The Forest app is a great app that helps you track screenless time by growing a tree during certain increments. This app is so motivating and saved me in college!
5. Get better sleep
Yes we’ve heard it all before, a good nights sleep is important for our health. But poor sleep can also promote cravings for high-calorie low-nutrient (like sweets!). If you’re having trouble getting enough sleep, look into setting a nightly routine before bed, unplug screens 1 hr before, and invest in a better bed! A good mattress can make all the difference.
6. Fool around with flavor- and color!
Every day I have clients telling me how hard it is to eat a salad or any vegetables. I know! I’ve been there! Experiment with complementary flavors to thrill your taste buds. Craving salt? Add 1 oz of your favorite cheese. Need to balance the cheese? Add some craisins. Need something filling? Add chicken, quinoa, or farro! Need something crunchy? Add some nuts. A great way to experiment with flavor is adding colors to your dish. Some brightly colored foods include: kale, carrots, beets, avocado, herbs, sweet potato, tomatoes, oranges, apples, the list goes on and on!
7. Buy clothes that fit
You’re probably thinking, why is this one on the list? When setting “healthy” goals for the new year, feeling good about your body while doing it will make you so much more successful. You won’t believe how much more you’ll feel comfortable in your own skin when you own clothes that fit. Stop trying to squeeze into that size 6 anymore! The pain from your waist band so isn’t worth it.
8. Don’t do it alone
I don’t know about you but I love salads but it’s REALLY hard to choose a salad when my friends want to go to McDonald’s. Start making healthy choices with friends or a loved one. Go for a walk around the block with your spouse to unwind after work. Or pick a night of the week to try a new recipe!
9. Choose in season produce
In season produce tastes better, looks better, is cheaper, and makes it easy to find complimentary foods for a good dish. Right now, root vegetables are at their peak! Cook some beets, turnips, or sweet potatoes with some herbs like rosemary, thyme, or sage for an excellent meal.
10. Don’t restrict yourself
This tip is actually my #1. A healthy lifestyle is a good lifestyle, but one that involves restriction is destructive. You don’t have to eat 1,200 calories a day or cut out an entire food group to be healthy. Restriction can hurt your body and your mindset. If you want to make serious changes in the way you’re eating always refer to a Registered Dietitian. They know your bodies needs and totally get your cravings.