It’s a new year, and you are ready to change your life around. 2017 was a bit of a hot mess (or maybe it wasn’t), so you’re swearing 2018 is your year to get your crap together. The top of your priority list? Finally hitting the gym and eating clean. It’s so easy to write out these goals on the first of the year, but to actually follow through with them? Easier than you think. I’ve got 10 tips for how you can accomplish your goals in 2018 and be the best you yet (or at least a healthier you).
1. Don’t lose site of your goals.
It’s so easy to set goals January first and feel empowered to crush them with your “new year, new me” attitude, but it’s a lot of harder to maintain that mindset a week or two later when you’re craving some Blue Ranch Doritos and want to skip the gym to binge watch “New Girl” on the couch. Something I’m going to try this year is writing out monthly health goals — go to the gym five times a week, try a new yoga class, squat 50 pounds. These goals can be as big or as small as you want, but I think having something small to work toward each week or month will make it easier to stay in a fit mindset.
2. Switch up your routine.
I never do the same thing twice when I go to the gym. I rotate between running, biking, and going on the elliptical. This ensures that I don’t get bored, and neither do my muscles. I also like to keep myself entertained when I’m doing boring cardio by selecting interval workouts, listening to an audiobook, or watching an episode of Netflix. Try to plan out your workouts too so that when you get to the gym you know exactly what you’re working on that day.
3. Meal plan.
This is such a crucial part to any fitness plan. Pick out a handful of meals that you want to try out, and make recipes for the whole week on Sundays (or whatever day works best for you). I’m blessed with the ability to eat the same meal over and over again without getting tired of it, so left overs are my best friend, but if you like to have a variety of food, try making smaller meal preps. Also, portion out your snacks for the week so that you aren’t over eating. I find even if I’ve got strawberries in the fridge, I’m more likely to go for a protein bar because I don’t want to spend the time cutting up fruit (yes, I truly am that lazy). So I take all my grapes off the vine, slice up my celery, and portion out my almonds on Sundays while watching an episode of Netflix (do you sense a trend here?) so that I don’t even have to think about my snacks come Wednesday night.
4. Try a fitness class.
One of my goals this year is to try a new fitness class once a month (maybe once a week?). I’m pretty sure my gym offers them, so I might check those out, but I think it would also be fun to try out a new yoga studio or pick up kick-boxing!
5. Interact with nature.
You barely even know you’re exercising when you make it fun. Go on a hike. Take a canoe trip down a local river. You’ll be getting a workout without having to log miles on a treadmill indoors.
6. Find a fitness pal.
I’m the first to admit that I’m typically pretty bad about working out with a friend because I don’t want them to judge me for doing the wrong thing or using the wrong equipment. But the only way to get better is to put yourself in that “uncomfortable” situation. Find a friend or gym buddy that is going to push you to try new workouts and isn’t afraid to tell you if your form is off. You’re also less likely to cancel on going to the gym if you’ve got a friend waiting for you when you get there.
7. Stock your fridge and cabinet with healthy snacks.
This kind of goes back to meal planning, but personally, the only way I keep myself from binge eating chips and cookies is by not buying them. As a kid, I used to sneak cookies and candies after my parents went to bed, but I had to be careful not to eat too many because they would know. As an adult, I don’t have anyone I have to hide my eating habits from, so I’ve got to hold myself to higher standard. Therefore, I rarely buy candies, cookies, or ice cream because I know I’ll eat the whole bag/sleeve/carton at once, and that’s not good for anyone.
8. Treat yourself.
I don’t mean add an extra cheat day to your week, I mean treat yourself to something you’ve been eyeing for awhile as a reward for your hard work. I especially recommend treating yourself to something workout/health related like a new pair of running shoes or a cute pair of workout leggings (I’d love to finally get a pair of Lululemon leggings at some point, but that might take more than just a few trips to the gym). I know it’s psychological, but whenever I get new workout gear, I am immediately 100 times more excited to get to the gym than if I’m working out in a ratty sorority t-shirt and my old Nike’s. Find out what motivates you and use it to push yourself to reach your goals.
9. Try to make as much of your food as possible at home.
One of my goals this year is to only indulge in sweets that I bake myself. I know I can’t cut out sweets all together (I have a new cavity every time I go to the dentist from my sweet tooth), but I can make sure I am limiting processed sugars and preservatives from entering my body. Try to do this with everything you’re eating — make your own granola bars, cook your own meals, and try your best to limit the toxins you are putting in your body.
10. Challenge yourself!
I’m the type of person that loves a good challenge, and I love being able to say that I was able to accomplish a task. Therefore, I think it’s super important to set mini challenges for yourself throughout your fitness journey. Go a month with no processed sugar. Workout everyday for a month straight. Cut out carbs for a month. Or, make it a week. Whatever helps you accomplish your goals and stay motivated to stay fit is a great idea! This also goes back to breaking up your routine and keeping yourself engaged in your fitness journey.
We all want to be the healthy girl on our Instagram feed pounding green smoothies and hitting the gym before yoga class, but that’s not attainable for everyone. You are at a special place in your life just as everyone else is, so do what you can and take small steps to reach your big goals.
Happy goal crushing,