Even though resolutions season is still a good four months away, all the back-to-school, back-to-work flurry of September can make this time of year ideal for a fresh routine and do some self-improvement. No more lazing about like it’s summer (even though, yes, we know it’s still summer until September 23rd). Now’s the time to buckle down and commit to some health goals. Here are three steps to make it happen:
Think it: The first step is to take stock of what you’re currently doing and identify what you’d like to change. What about your food, exercise and health routine is working for you right now? What’s not? Maybe the first things to come up are really general — you want to lose weight, or eat healthier. Try to get a little more specific — what behaviors would you need to change to meet that goal? Eat less sugar? Eat more vegetables? Exercise more regularly?
Plan it: No matter your goal, you need to break it down into specific actions you can take (We’ve all heard of SMART goals by now, right?). So, if you want to eat more vegetables, for instance, decide what “more” means and plan for doing it. You could translate that one into “I’d like to eat the recommended number of servings of vegetables for me each day.” First, you’d look up what that number is. Then you’d brainstorm ways to make that happen. For example, you could decide to keep baby carrots on hand for snacks, or stock your freezer with frozen vegetables, so you can add them to pasta or mac & cheese at dinner, or add baby spinach and sliced tomatoes to your breakfast sandwich.
Do it: Decide when you’re going to start and, if it makes it easier to commit, decide when this particular goal will end. You might find that at the end of the challenge, a new habit has been formed and it’s easy to continue. Or maybe you’ll tweak it to make it work better for you, or tackle another goal. That’s all good.