If you’ve hopped on the 2018 resolution train and vowed to get healthy this year…but haven’t quite figured out how to get the train to leave the station, don’t panic. We’ve rounded up our favorite tips on how to keep your resolutions on track (pun intended!). From how to get more sleep to the most effective exercises you can squeeze in while your baby naps, here are 15 ways to get healthy in the year ahead.

photo: StockSnap via Pixabay

1. Reflect on 2017.
Of course you want immediate results, so starting off with a step that makes you sit down and think about last year may not seem important, but trust us, it is. The best way to set yourself up for success is to reflect on what you’ve been doing to see what’s working and what isn’t. Ask yourself questions like, “What 2017 health decisions am I most proud of?” and “In what areas did I struggle most?”

2. Write down your goals and intentions.
Once you’ve had the chance to reflect on 2017, it’s time to write down your health and wellness plan for 2018. A recent study by Dr. Gail Matthews, a psychology professor at Dominican University in California, found that the simple act of recording your goal increases your chance of achieving it by more than 40%. Another sure-fire way to increase the odds you stay on track: Share your goals with a friend you trust to support you and help hold you accountable.

photo: ponce_photography via Pixabay

3. Start your day with lemon water.
We wouldn’t dare ask you to give up your morning coffee (remember, the goal is to stay on track, not completely throw in the towel by day 2!), but if you want to rev up your digestive fire, get a jolt of energy and help your body detox, drink warm water with lemon first thing in the morning. If you’re trying this for the first time, begin with a quarter of a lemon and then work your way up to half a lemon over several days.

4. Stress less, breathe more.
Stress can prevent you from losing weight or, even worse, make you gain it (gasp!). Here’s why: The body responds to all stress in the same way. Your brain instructs your cells to release potent hormones, giving you a burst of adrenaline. Then your body goes into fight-or-flee mode and you get a surge of cortisol that tells your body to replenish the energy. So, you get hungry even though you haven’t physically burned any calories. A simple recipe for unnecessary weight gain.

Now that you know why it happens, what can you do to avoid it? Breathe. In their 2012 book, The Healing Power of the Breath, doctors Richard P. Brown and Patricia L. Gerbarg write: “Studies are revealing that, by changing the patterns of breathing, it is possible to restore balance to the stress response systems, calm an agitated mind, relieve symptoms of anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), improve physical health and endurance, elevate performance, and enhance relationships.” Need help getting started? Check out these mom-friendly meditation apps.

5. Stop comparing yourself to others.
Teddy Roosevelt was on to something when he said, “Comparison is the thief of joy”. Comparing your life (your body, kids, house, job, etc.) to others is also a major drain on your energy. And energy is what you need for the meaningful stuff in life, like making 2018 the best possible year for you! If you want to stay physically and mentally healthy in 2018, learn to be happy for other people’s successes, not envious.

photo: aktivioslo via Flickr

6. Exercise with your baby.
As a new mom, there will be days when you don’t have a minute to yourself, so you’ll have to figure out a way to exercise with baby in tow. Luckily, there are mommy & me exercise classes in many areas, as well as lots of ways to work up a sweat at home or around your neighborhood. Check out these new mom fitness tips and YouTube workouts you can do with your baby.

7. Find effective exercises you can do in minutes.
On days when you do have time to yourself, prioritize your health! To make that easier, find the most effective exercises you can do in the shortest amount of time. Quality over quantity is the name of the game. There’s a reason why fitness guru Tracy Anderson is a celebrity favorite: Her program works.

8. Fast for 12 hours a day.
Issues with our gut flora has increasingly been linked to a range of health conditions, including obesity, diabetes, arthritis, colitis and irritable bowel syndrome. One way health practitioners suggest you improve gut health is by fasting for at least 12 hours a day. In addition to resetting your gut flora, an overnight fast makes the body switch from burning food to burning fat. Here’s to fat-burning while sleeping! 

9. Plan healthy meals and snacks in advance.
One challenging part of sticking to a healthy diet is having the right meals and snacks on hand when hunger strikes. Everyone knows about stashing almonds and veggies in your bag, but you’ll want to mix up your snacks to prevent boredom. Think low-sugar, high-protein treats like trail mix, hard-boiled eggs or banana-peanut butter smoothies.

10. Get more sleep.
The benefits of a deep, peaceful slumber sadly can’t be replaced by a cup of coffee (no, not even a strong one!). Sleep offers your body and brain a chance to replenish themselves while your most vital and basic functions are regulated and refreshed. But as a new mom, sleep can be hard to come by. Check out these 10 new sleep solutions for new parents.

photo: dailygreatness.co

11. Keep a wellness journal.
We already talked about how documenting goals leads to success; a lot of the same principles apply to keeping a wellness journal. Basically, you can’t change what you don’t measure, and tracking your days will help you see patterns develop. If the patterns lead to good decisions, keep them up. If they don’t, you can adjust them before they become habits. Keep the journal near your bed or, for even more accountability, out in the open! We like this journal from Daily Greatness ($49.95).

12. Stay strong at the supermarket.
Grocery aisles are full of alluring food that isn’t good for you. If you can keep these foods out of your cart, you won’t be tempted by them at home. Stock up in the perimeter of the store, where healthier options like fresh fruits, veggies and meats are stored, and make smart choices, like whole grains, in the interior aisles.

13. Make your errands work for you.
Doesn’t it seem like some days are filled with doing errands? Make those errands work for your health plan by remembering that every step counts. Park in a spot further away from the entrance. Take the stairs to your doctor’s appointment. Wear a baby carrier rather than using a stroller. Can’t you just feel the calories burning already?

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14. Find a buddy to get healthy with.
Ask a supportive friend to join you in your effort to get healthy this year. Meeting up for a walk or an exercise class with a friend is more fun that going solo. Your best bet is to ask a fellow new mom, who may have similar health goals and struggles, and who’ll understand that you may need to adjust plans based on baby’s schedule and mood.

15. Set mini goals, and treat yourself when they’re achieved.
Last, but certainly not least, is remembering to reward yourself for your effort. If you’ve filled your cart with healthier items and said no to the sugary sweets, treat yourself to a manicure with the extra money you saved. Celebrating the smaller victories will give you the motivation to keep going.

Tell us your health and fitness goals for this year!

— Aimee Della Bitta