With the start of a new year comes a new semester, and motivation is in the air. From selfies captioned “new year, new me” to the large size of group fitness classes, it’s obvious that everyone wants this semester to be their best one yet. But remember that you don’t need to completely change your life to elicit positive change. Setting manageable, healthy goals with discernible paths like the ones listed below is your key to success.
When most people plan out their busy days, the last thing they think to do is pencil in time to sleep. Even if you think you don’t have time for some shut-eye, getting a good night’s sleep improves your mood and helps you stay focused throughout the day. Taking the time to make sleep a priority will make getting through everything else a bit easier. Instead of planning to stay up as late as you need to study, planning to sleep will force you to shift your schedule up and study at a more reasonable hour.
Set weekly fitness goals
A lot of people are too broad when setting fitness goals. Telling yourself that starting tomorrow, you’re going to commit to going to the gym five days a week for the rest of the semester will likely end in a failed resolution. Instead of setting long-term goals that are hard to live up to, start by setting small goals every week. Keeping your schedule for that week and the weather in mind, you’ll be able to tailor your fitness goals to suit your immediate future. For example, on Sunday you can decide to run Monday and Thursday, lift on Wednesday and take a Zumba class on Saturday. Once you allow setting weekly goals to become a habit, you’re no longer just fulfilling a resolution — you’re starting a new lifestyle.
Plan healthy snacks
You know when you have classes and you know how long you can go before feeling hungry. But for some reason, you still seem shocked that you leave your 2:40-4:15 with hunger pangs. Instead of letting your hunger get the best of you and reaching for the first bag of chips you see, make a habit of bringing a healthy snack to class to perk you up and hold you over until dinner. Pack a protein-rich snack like an apple and Greek yogurt or hummus and carrots. You’ll thank yourself later.
Take care of your skin
While this seems obvious for some, a lot of people tend to skip out on routine skin care. The winter air is too cold and dry to be lax with your skin. If you shy away from washing your face too often this season because it dries out your skin, you need to find a new face wash and use a good moisturizer. Lathering up and moisturizing in the morning and at night will give your skin the nutrients it needs to protect itself from the cold, and the moisture to prevent dry patches. You’ll want to avoid any harsh face washes — especially ones with alcohol. Opt for a more gentle formula, and finish it off with a thick moisturizer.
Take the time to clear your head everyday
Whether it’s watching an episode of your favorite show, meditating or taking a barre class at the gym, it is essential to get out of your head for a bit every day. The best way to relieve stress is to find the relaxation techniques that work for you before you need them. Your mental health is just as important as your physical health, and making daily relaxation a habit in the beginning of the semester will benefit you down the road.