When it comes to setting any type of goals or resolutions, I like to aim low. I know that sounds crazy because typically we all want to see an immediate change in ourselves. But be honest with me—how many times have you set a super lofty goal for yourself, only to see it crash and burn before you two weeks later? Yes, I aim low, because I find myself actually achieving my goals when I do.
Last year, my main health goal was to develop more meal plans. I am proud to sit here and write that I was successful with this goal, knowing that both our bodies and our bank accounts are healthier because of it. It was a goal that was able to help in a lot of areas in my life (healthier fridge, ordering less, saving money), and I want to set a few more for myself in 2018 that are achievable and challenging at the same time.
Below I have written out seven health goals that we can all try. Remember, you don’t have to commit to all of these. The seven below are for you to get some ideas. Choose ones that will work for you. If you want to do all seven, props! But don’t feel bad about just choosing one or two. It’s your year, after all, so do what will actually be manageable for you.
Set a workout per week quota
Now this will look different for everyone, so before I share my week quota, here’s what you need to do: Choose a number that will actually challenge you. Right now if you don’t workout at all, challenge yourself to one or maybe even two workouts a week. Sure it’s not a ton, but it’s more important to be consistent than setting a high goal that is absolutely unattainable. Find something that is doable, but will also challenge you.
Right now I average around three to four workouts a week, so I think a challenge for me is to workout five days a week.
Remember, a workout does not have to be an hour or two at the gym every time. For me, a workout is a quick 30-minutes right in my living room. I switch between HIIT, pilates, weight training, and cardio throughout the week. And to top it off, I spend an hour at my yoga studio on the weekend.
So before setting your workout per week quota, ask yourself—what is a workout challenge that I can actually achieve at this point in my life?
Choose your carbs wisely
After reading Why We Get Fat by Gary Taubes this year, my perception of consuming carbohydrates changed drastically. Since then, I’ve been cutting my carb intake and my entire body feels different. However, I know cutting carbs completely is impractical for us right now (given that we can’t afford to live in such a way) so I need to compromise somewhere.
My goal is to only consume potatoes, rice, or oats on a regular basis. For me, a regular basis would mean choosing one or two meals a day to have a serving. Bread, pasta, and other complex carbs would be counted as a “cheat” meal, which I explain more below.
I think fully limiting ourselves from these types of food is way too lofty of a goal. Instead, choose wisely. I have my three go-to’s that I use in my meal plans. What is a good “limit” for you? Or better question, could you swap out that carb in your meal with a nice large handful of greens or vegetables?
Enjoy a “cheat” once a week
I’m pretty sure it would be impossible to live my life and not eat a bagel, so I give myself a little grace. During the holiday season, my “cheat” was to have three Christmas cookies a week. I found that having them all at once with a large cup of tea was way more enjoyable than trying to restrain myself to only eating one at a time during the week. So instead of having mini cheats throughout the week, I just have one big fat one. This also gives me room to enjoy date nights with my guy, without feeling guilty about what I’m eating.
For some, this may be a challenge in itself. For others, this may seem very generous. Me? It’s both. It’s a challenge to cut these things out of my life, but a nice treat to myself after a long week of trying to workout and eat right. And it hands me a higher possibility of actually succeeding, instead of failing once on a cheat meal and giving up altogether.
Don’t get on the scale
Please, please, please avoid it. You are going to gain muscle, and yes, muscle still weighs more than fat. It’s going to just be discouraging for you. But, if you still feel need to get on the scale, try limiting it. I limit myself to getting on the scale once a month.
However, if you are going to weigh yourself, also try measuring the circumferences of your body. Yes, I’m absolutely serious. You may weigh the exact same you did when you started your health journey, but your body could look completely different. You’ll know this by looking at some before and after photos, or measuring the width of your arms, legs, waist, butt, and more.
Make coffee at home
Not only will this protect the environment, but it will also save you a ton of calories during the week. Be honest, how many times are you heading to your local coffee shop and just grabbing a cup of black coffee? Probably not that often. And just think about all of those paper cups in the trash…
If you hate black coffee, I get it. But I still think it’s going to save you a ton of calories if you make coffee and use creamer right at home. For example, a tall vanilla latte from Starbucks actually has 37 grams of carbs and 25 grams of sugar. Now compare that to your cup of coffee at home with a tablespoon of generic vanilla creamer, which is only 6 grams of carbs and 6 grams of sugar.
So get yourself a cute to-go mug and your favorite flavored creamer to kick off the new year.
Drink 8 cups of water a day
You know all that stuff about how water helps your metabolism, and that thirst can secretly feel like hunger? All still true, people. If you drink water consistently, you may find yourself less hungry and less bloaty.
Now I’ve been told that you should actually drink half your body weight in ounces of water every day, which is actually way more than 8 cups. So I would say choose one of those goals and try drinking that much water on a daily basis.
Read 5 books
Your mental health is also super important to keep up with, and reading helps your mental health. Challenge yourself to read five books this year. Does that seem like a small number? Than join me and Reader’s Digest with the 2018 Reading Challenge. 25 books, think you can do it?