by Krystal Hawks, ETC blog contributor

By now, you may have forgotten your New Year’s Resolution…but don’t let that stop you from setting and accomplishing a goal! Don’t wait, now is the time!

 

A couple of ground rules to consider:

 

Set simple, realistic goals. It is completely okay to separate one big goal into smaller, more manageable chunks (it’s actually advised)!

Write it down…EVERYWHERE! Put it on your bathroom mirror for when you’re getting ready for the day, put it somewhere in your car, on your laptop, the options are endless. Write your goal multiple places so you see it throughout the day as a simple reminder of what you’re working towards.

When you’re creating a goal, think of all the reasons why you want to achieve that goal and write those down too, no matter how silly they may seem. Think outside the box and include mental and social reasons, along with the physical.

All right, so you established a goal that is achievable…now how do you actually achieve it?!

 

A good place to start is with something that you enjoy. You can probably suffer through a couple of weeks on the treadmill even if you hate running, but soon after, life will get in the way (and so will your excuses). Find a different cardio activity you actually enjoy doing and sticking with that workout routine has suddenly become more practical and, even, fun!

Along with that, make sure you vary your routine! If your goal is to start the day with a nutritious breakfast, don’t just make scrambled eggs and toast. Switch it up! Add some fresh fruit, swap-in some oatmeal, substitute an omelet with salsa.  Then, the only thing in the way of your goal is your imagination. Eat the Chocolate’s meal plans a packed with fun, easy, and nutritious breakfast options. Check them out here!

Hold yourself accountable! Yes, a rest day, cheat meal, snoozed alarm, etc. is allowed, but don’t let that become your new habit. Give yourself a break when you truly need one, but don’t let yourself off the hook too often (because you deserve better)!

Implement the 15-minute rule. Even if you don’t want to do something, try it for 15 minutes, and then after that, assess again if you still want to stop. After all, the hardest part is often the first 5 minutes, and momentum takes care of the rest!

Build a support team. Doing things with others forces you to become accountable to them, too! They don’t have to have the same goal as you; they are most likely going through the same challenges you are, just in a different way!

Reward yourself, big or small. Every mini-goal you achieve, celebrate it! Whether it’s a bath bomb, a fresh manicure/pedicure, a new workout top, or a morning to sleep in, acknowledge a job well done and use it as motivation to reach the next one!

Use positive affirmations and maintain a positive attitude! When I’m not feeling particularly motivated, I browse Pinterest for those “No rain, no flowers,” “Excuses don’t get results,” and those “I didn’t come this far to only come this far” inspirational messages. You can also make a vision board full of your own, or post them everywhere with your lists of reasons.

What do you do when you get stuck? After you reached a plateau…

 

Recognize all the progress you’ve made! You may not have saved enough money to finance that well-deserved vacation, but having enough to buy plane tickets is more than you’ve had when you started, acknowledge that! It’s still one step closer!

Visualize the big picture! You may not be making the same big strides now as you were in the beginning when you started, but re-imagine why you started this whole journey (note the word choice: journey). Go back to your list of reasons and use that to propel you forward!

Watch a TED talk, YouTube video, commencement speech, or listen to an audiobook. There are so many positive thinking options out there, you are guaranteed to find one that fits your style/needs. I recommend You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living and Awesome Life by Jen Sincero; Will Smith’s ‘Believe’ speech; and The 3 A’s of Awesome by Neil Pasricha.

Revamp your playlist! Switching around my songs or adding new ones somehow always makes my runs go faster. My new additions include: Bills, Bills, Bills by Destiny’s Child; Be with Me by Old Dominion; Instruction by Jax Jones ft. Demi Lovato and Stefflon Don; Carry Out by Timbaland ft. Justin Timberlake; No Scrubs by TLC.

 

Leaving you on a very cheesy but true note, if it was easy, everybody would be doing it. Realize any improvement (no matter how miniscule) is still improvement! At the end of the day, we are all doing our best. Don’t give up. Love yourself. And #eatthechocolate.

Krystal is an undergraduate student at Kent State University studying Nutrition and Exercise Science. She has a passion for working out and making healthier alternatives to her family’s recipes. Her ultimate career goal is to become a Sports Dietitian and show active individuals the importance of a balanced diet, that it doesn’t have to be boring, and all the benefits of well-being and health!