You don’t have to go carbless or sign up for a marathon to improve your well-being. Sometimes the biggest changes surprisingly start with very small ones. It doesn’t matter if you’re trying to eat better, improve your fitness, or take your vitamins.. a healthier life is a big change. But, what if it doesn’t have to be? How about instead of making the HUGE jump into changing how about you take baby steps. A year is a great timeline to work toward reaching a goal. Force yourself to make just one good decision (and sticking to it) every month. That’s only one change per month. Twelve small changes for the entire year! Are you interested yet? With the ending of each month you may be inspired and ready for the next month’s goal. Just make sure to focus on the days in the month and stick to your goal… before you know it by the time the holiday season rolls around you are on your way to a completely new and healthier you.
January Be positive.
Make January a month all about optimism. Try to always look on the brighter one (there is always one, just make sure to look). Becoming more positive may cause you to second guess your thinking and maybe even change it. This can take time. Becoming more positive is like forming a habit. Take the first part of the month forming this habit. Most importantly, cut yourself some slack. If you focus negatively about what you don’t like about yourself, that isn’t going to change anything. By the end of the month once you have your thinking positive habit down.. identify the things you love about yourself. Put more emphasis into those things.
February Track your calories.
Tracking your food and calorie intake each day every so often is so important. Research shows that people who do, actually lose more weight than those who do not. Counting your calories is really easy these days. There are so many apps that you can download to your phone to help you log your meals. Tracking your meals can help you aware of the types of food you are eating. (I had no idea that olive garden bread sticks are 300 calories.. JUST FOR ONE BREAD STICK). Thanks to my fitnesspal app I now eat 2 bread sticks max! Seeing how many calories are in certain things can help you make smarter choices. Try to hit your calorie goal every day for the month of February. (That’s only 28 days!) Never go over and you will feel a difference in your body.
March Cut your sugar amount.
What you’ll experience when you cut out sugar will depend on the size of your sugar habit. People who eat tons of sugar and then suddenly stop.. actually show addiction like withdrawals. If you ditch your sugar cravings your mood will increase. Your quality of your sleep should improve as well. If you really do need to have something sugary and can’t wait till the end of the month.. eat all of the fruit that you want!
April Meal prepping
Yes, I’m serious. It’s so much easier to eat healthy when meals are already waiting for you in your fridge. Sundays seem to work best to sit down and plan and prep your meals for the entire week. If you need some help getting started.. pinterest has unlimited amounts of meal prepping posts. Try to plan to eat 5 small meals per day. Make it easy on yourself have the same thing for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks for all 7 days of the week. Then switch it up the following week.
May Start to workout regularly.
Maybe you don’t workout what-so-ever. Make May the month to start! (2 times a week is a great starting point) If you already workout regularly.. then use this month to switch it up. Avoid a weight-loss or fitness plateau by changing your routine. Some ways to switch it up include increasing weight and decreasing the amount of reps when lifting. Advanced lifters add and subtract weight from their workouts all the time. Maybe you add 5 pounds one day and do 10 reps, and the next time you do less weight and do 15 reps. Cardio wise.. a great change is switching to shorter distances but at higher intensities. Maybe even throw in some interval training!
June Drink water every morning.
Just imagine not drinking any water, tea, or juice for the next 8 hours. My throat and mouth became dry just thinking about it. This is what happens when you sleep. While you sleep your body essentially becomes dehydrated. Everybody wakes up this way.. so drink a glass of water as soon as you get up. Not only is it the best habit to form, staying hydrated helps with weight loss.
July 10,000 daily step goal.
There’s so much research that proves walking 10,000 steps a day (5 miles) can help with your health. Of course, there’s no “one size fits all” when it comes to fitness and exercise. But, if you’re new to working out or simply walking you can aim for a smaller goal. Maybe try 4000 steps daily maybe only 4 days out of the week. Every week try to add 1500 steps every day. By the end of the month you can be really close to 10,000 steps per day. Download a pedometer app on your phone and keep track all day. Or go all out and purchase yourself an exercise tracker like a fitbit to do the work for you.
August No junk food.
Did you know that some of your favorite snacks are made with the perfect amounts of added sugar, salt, and fat that it tricks your body into wanting more!? Yeah, pretty scary. There’s no denying that my cravings for chips are strong, but apparently, they are made to be! It’s not impossible to give up on junk food though. If you try to eat as many whole foods as possible.. the less junk food you will eat. The less you eat the less you will want. If it’s difficult just think of it.. as dodging obesity and diabetes.
September Try meditating.
I’m not talking about sitting cross-legged humming in silence type of thing. Which has shown to be the best stress reliever there is. I’m talking about meditating by doing by doing what you love to do. Maybe it’s running, painting, or dancing. Times seems to stand still when you focus on doing something you enjoy. Completely immerse yourself into something (a couple of times a week) and let your thoughts and frustrations melt away.
October Try being vegetarian.
OK, maybe not the whole entire month. October is National Vegetarian month though. Maybe one day out of the week try no-meat. What about meat-less Mondays? That’s only 4 Mondays out of the month! Going without meat just for one day helps you turn to new healthy foods. Who knows maybe it’s something you can try more than monthly?
November Sign up for a 5K.
Signing up for a 5K walk/run really helps in holding you accountable. You aren’t expected to suddenly become a runner this month. If anything use it as a cardio sesh. But do sign up for a race by the end of the month. It’s so much harder to over indulge on Thanksgiving knowing that you have a race the following week. When you focus on competing, you’re more likely to be satisfied with your workouts and training to achieve your goal.
December Sleep! Sleep! Sleep!
Good sleep habits can make a big difference in your quality of life. Try to stick to a sleep schedule of the same bedtime and wake up time. Even on the weekends. Also, start a relaxing bedtime routine. A routine before bed helps your body realize that sleep is coming. Try taking an Epsom salt bath or turning on some ocean sounds. Maybe you like to watch TV before bed.. take some melatonin and you will be relaxed and ready for bed in 20 minutes! Having a routine helps your body to wind down and switch into sleep mode. Make sure you get enough sleep during the holiday season!