Rather than sending yourself into a panic of crazy workouts and crash dieting when you realize swimsuit season is around the corner, why not set yourself up for success right now, in winter?
Follow these seven tips to get started on the road towards a healthier you for summer – and beyond.
1 Start with workouts at home
Do you know why so many people give up on their workout routine? It’s because getting to the gym really can be a pain sometimes. And once you’ve associated working out with the gym, anytime you don’t show up to the gym means you also don’t work out.
So, let’s try something much easier.
Start doing your workouts at home. No, this doesn’t mean you have to go out and spend a ton of money on equipment, there are plenty of bodyweight circuits you can do in your living room. What this does is take the whole “showing up” factor out of the equation completely. Whether it’s raining, snowing, or the traffic is terrible, your ability to work out is never affected because you don’t have to travel.
2 Find a workout you actually like doing
While you’re at it, winter is a great time to begin experimenting with different types of workouts. When you don’t feel as pressed for time, you have a lot more freedom to try new things.
Every person will enjoy something different. Maybe for you, it’s belly dancing, slack line walking, or hula hooping. It could even be binge-watching your favorite TV show while you run on the elliptical. The point is, if you can begin looking forward to your workouts, you’ll actually keep doing them.
3 Cook your own meals most days
Look, it’s winter. It’s dark out well before dinner time, so it’s not like you’re missing out on much by staying in and focusing some of your energy into the kitchen. Don’t let yourself be too intimidated by the thought of preparing your own meals. You don’t have to swing for the fences every time you light a burner. Simply taking the time to prepare fresh vegetables ensures you’re taking a more active role in your own well-being.
4 Keep your goals open-ended and attainable
Which one of the following options sounds like it would drive you crazy?
- I will make sure that at least 35% of the calories I consume every day will come from vegetables and fruit.
- I will try some new recipes where vegetables are the main ingredient, and see what I like.
Both of these choices are ostensibly healthy, but one is set up for failure, and the other is set up for success. Begin thinking about your goals in such a way that you can actually achieve them.
5 Form good habits slowly, one at a time
Forming habits takes a while – on average, several weeks per habit. Allowing yourself enough room to adjust to them one at a time means you are much more likely to keep each good habit as opposed to having your whole plan blow up in your face.
So, rather than trying to adjust your workouts, eating, sleeping and fluid intake all at once, pick one to begin with. Once you feel you have that one down, add another. Take your time.
6 Recognize your limits, and look for ways around them
So you really are a klutz in the kitchen? It’s okay. Look for prepackaged healthy meals or a meal subscription service which gives you everything you need to complete a single recipe.
You just aren’t cut out for running? Then step off the treadmill. Try yoga, dance, skating, or anything else that sounds good to you.
You hate waking up early to do your workouts? Well, who says you can’t work out at night? There’s nothing magical about working out at certain times of the day.
Don’t have enough time to go food shopping? Lots of stores do grocery delivery now. You can shop from your laptop, and your groceries can show up when you get home from work.
7 Get to Bed on Time
You won’t work out if you are tired and you won’t want to spend time cooking or preparing meals. You don’t make the best food choices when you are tired. The solution to all of these problems? More sleep.
Begin inching back your bedtime 10 minutes at a time each week. Ideally, you want to have 8 to 9 hours set aside for nothing but sleep. The rest will fall into place much easier if you wake up refreshed and recharged.
Get the jump on everyone else, and start preparing for a healthier you right now. You’ll be so glad you gave yourself the extra time.