Whether you have kids getting ready to begin another school year or not, September is a reminder that those dog days of summer are almost over. And while summer for most of us is a time of being active and outdoors, it can also be filled with many temptations—hot dogs at the ballpark, ice cream at the beach, cotton candy at the amusement park. So if you “cheated” a bit on your diet and workouts this summer, think of September as your re-set button. It’s a great time to take stock of where you are on your personal health and wellness journey.
If you are like most humans, you may need a little help jump starting those “back-to-school” healthy habits before your busy schedule puts them on the back-burner. Here are a few tips to get you started:
- Set a goal for yourself
You may have had the best of intentions back in May, but, ahem, that big goal you were planning to tackle this summer somehow got lost in the shuffle. Don’t beat yourself up, but this time let’s keep it front and center. First, write down your goal on a piece of paper. Then rip it up! Yes, you heard me. I want you to rip it up. Now rewrite the goal this time cutting it in half. For example, if you want to lose 10 pounds in the next two months, I want you to drop it to 5. Want to run a 10K? Start with a 5K. Take your new goal and tape it to your bathroom mirror so that every time you brush your teeth you are reminded of its importance.
- Conduct a pantry purge
If you are looking to eat healthy getting rid of the temptations is a necessary step and it starts with cleaning out the kitchen. Pull out the trashcan and pick up every item one-by-one that is in your pantry and refrigerator. Toss out the foods that have expired as well as those that don’t seem to ever go bad! If there seems to be no shelf life, chances are that product is loaded with a ton of preservatives and unrecognizable ingredients (that are undoubtedly going to keep you from accomplishing your new goal). You’ll be amazed at what’s lurking inside your kitchen.
- Make a grocery list and plan ahead
The trick here is to keep this simple. It’s time to get down to the basics. You’ll want to have on this list all the opposites of what you just purged in step 2. Think fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats, and whole grains. A list that I love that is good for runners and non-runners alike is called the Runner’s Ultimate Grocery List. Find a couple of simple go-to healthy recipes (e.g.: grilled chicken atop a spinach salad chock full of colorful vegetables) and shop for those items that will be your meals for the week.
- Find an accountability partner
Lastly, you may have all the best intentions to stick with your new action plan but let’s be honest, it’s much easier to give ourselves an out when no one else is watching. A few busy days, late nights and over scheduling can quickly lead us down the path of no return. So find a trusted friend who will encourage you and push you a little outside your comfort zone when you feel you are slipping. Set a challenge together with built-in daily or weekly check-ins to keep one another accountable. When you reach your goal it will be so more fun to celebrate your accomplishments with someone else!
And just remember you’re in the driver’s seat of your new year. There is no time like the present to set some healthy habits in motion and get moving today!
Are you looking for help on your goal setting, pantry purge, grocery list development, and accountability? I’m happy to help get you started and if you are serious about taking your health to the next level, IDLife–the incredible health and wellness movement that I’m a part of–has three day-by-day 28-Day Challenges (weight loss, fit, and performance) that can jump-start those back-to-school habits now. Fill out the form below to schedule your FREE consultation.