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Keep Those Healthy Habits Going!

Fitting healthy habits into your chaotic life can be quite difficult. There always seems to be too much to do, and not enough time. So we’ve put together a few things we thought might help you in reaching your goals to keep those healthy habits going!

(Re)Assess your SMART goals
Statistics show that by making goals SMART (Specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely) you are more likely to follow through rather than one that is vague. For example, “I will eat healthy in 2016” is not SMART because it is not a specific, measurable, or timely. However, if you amend that statement to say “I will eat 2 servings of vegetables every day for a month” is SMART. There’s a clear goal mentioned, a clear measure, seems realistic and doable, and it definitely gives a clear timeline. Maybe you already have created some SMART goals for yourself around new year’s this year. Take some time to reassess your progress. Has it been going well? Have you had a really hard time keeping up with it? Or did you make the goal too challenging to follow through? No worries! Life is dynamic and evolving, and your goals should be the same. Change the goal to make it work for you. Did it become too easy after being consistent for a few months? Add an extra challenge! Did the goal really not pan out as you hoped? Be kind to yourself, amend the goal, and try again!

Write down your goals
It is so easy to conveniently forget about goals when they are just thoughts, and it is even easier to let yourself off the hook or make excuses for unattained goals that were fleeting. The best way to hold yourself accountable is to write your goals down. Studies show that those people who write down their goals are significantly more likely to accomplish their goals. That’s amazing because, who doesn’t want to accomplish their goals significantly more? So, whether you have a journaling practice or just like to make reminders for yourself on your bathroom mirror, start writing those goals! If the end goal is a bigger goal in the far future, keep track of all the intermediate, smaller goals that will lead you to success. Also, give yourself benchmarks. Are you moving faster than expected? Slower than expected? Take time to revise those goals to better align with the progress you are making.

Add veggies to everything
Sure, salads and green smoothies are obvious choices when it comes to getting those veggies into your daily diet, but after exhausting your variations, you may find yourself dreading these options. So what do you do when you when you hit that food plateau? Get creative of course! Find ways to sneak veggies into everything. Some tried and true favorites include adding chopped spinach and mushrooms to Tex-mex inspired dishes, adding roasted veggies to pasta sauce, and adding butternut squash to macaroni and cheese. Roasting veggies is a particular tasty option when it comes to cooking your veggies, and they had such a great flavor to whatever meals they’re added into. If you’re craving a few slices of pizza, throw some roasted veggies on top to still reap the benefits of the greens. Squashes are all too often overlooked, and are incredibly versatile. Cooked butternut squash can be sneaked into macaroni and cheese, adding a bit of sweetness and heartiness to an already all-American favorite. Spaghetti squash, once cooked, can mix into, or even replace, your pasta. Quickly stir fry cooked spaghetti squash in some olive oil, salt, and black pepper, and add to angel hair pasta for a seamless vitamin and fiber boost.

Prep meals for the week
How often have we groaned at the thought of still having to make breakfast or dinner when our time is short, and opted instead, for a less healthy but incredibly convenient option? That beckoning aroma of pizza is all that’s needed to derail an otherwise resolute decision to have a balanced meal for dinner. An easy way to break that habit is to prep meals ahead of time. We all know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day for many reasons (it balances blood sugar throughout the day, keeps your energy levels high, and serves as the energy source for your brain), and there are great ways to make sure that you don’t miss out on all the great benefits of it! Some suggestions include overnight oats and homemade whole wheat pancakes. Overnight oats make for quick night-before prep (5 minutes max) and you get all the health-boosting benefits of oats. Instead of buying frozen boxes of waffles or pancakes at the grocery store, you can achieve the same convenience on your own with just a little bit of legwork. Also, you can customize the recipe to include health boosting ingredients (think bananas, flax seeds, and nuts) and to exclude preservatives. Snacks and small meals are also great to prepare ahead of time so you are not reaching for much more convenient packaged foods. Hummus is a great option for a snack, especially when it is paired with cut up veggies. Portion out the hummus and store in the fridge with a baggie of cut up veggies for a fiber and protein-packed snack on the go. Also, making a big batch of brown rice of quinoa at the beginning of the week means one less ingredient that needs to be cooked for weeknights meals. Set aside a day to cook and to further enhance your dining experience, get some cute containers to store your food.

Try MyJoyYoga.com
A change in schedule or travel plans can very easily derail our best intentions of maintaining healthy habits. It takes time for our bodies to adapt to a new schedule, and we all know the feeling of needing some time to reset after a period of travel. Maybe your new schedule doesn’t allow you to go to the gym, attend your regularly scheduled group exercises classes, or get your run in at the time you normally used to. It can be very easy to give up on these goals, especially when a changed schedule leaves us feeling exhausted and out of energy. This is a great time to utilize phone apps and resources on the internet to maintain your normal exercise routine. A quick internet search will yield a myriad of options available to you.
Not able to attend a yoga class you used to frequent? No problem! A really great way to still attend your favorite yoga class at Joy Yoga is to try our online streaming classes at MyJoyYoga.com Not only will you still be able to get your daily yoga class in, but you will also be able to take it with your favorite instructor!

Schedule rewards
When everything is all said and done, we all too often forget to pat ourselves on the back for the amazing work that we have put into our lives. So, schedule rewards into your schedule! These incentives can also help us stay on track with our current habits and let’s face it. It can be really exciting to know that you earned your reward. Since the objective is to maintain healthy habits, try to set up rewards as things that tie directly into your goals rather than unhealthy food options. New fitness gear, a new yoga mat, and books to enhance your yoga practice are just some of the many options out there for you.

So whether you have been slow and steady in your progress with your goals, or whether you took a little detour from the path, set yourself up for success by adding these habits into your life. Habits take at least 21 days to set, so be patient and consistent with your goals. You will see the fruits of your labor in no time!

Bhakti Chavda is a Joy Yoga employee and a Joy Yoga University student in teacher training. You can catch her welcoming yogis and yoiginis into class. Knowing that yoga is a great way to both stimulate your body and de-stress, check out Joy Yoga’s class schedule here!

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