Now that the weather is warming up and it’s officially Spring, it seems like a good time to take on a new challenge. We only have 8 weeks until June is here!
(How is this year flying by so quickly?!)
Rather than tackling a massively restrictive challenge, like cutting out all sugar, or eating only raw foods, or exercising twice a day, I prefer to take a more moderate approach to change, and I’d encourage you all to do the same. Permanent change takes time, and if you do too much, too fast, you’re doomed to rebound!
For years, I suffered on a “diet roller coaster,” where I was either on a diet or I wasn’t–and when I wasn’t, I was diving head-first into every food that had been temporarily off-limits to me! Let’s just say, I didn’t end up losing ANY permanent weight that way… and I ended up miserably obsessing over food as a result. There’s a reason why diets don’t work: most tend to be too restrictive and unrealistic! Studies have shown that once a diet is over, most people end up weighing more than they did in the first place. Why go through that, only to be worse off than you started?
That’s why I’d like to challenge you to make just one or two manageable changes over the next several weeks– changes that you’d like to keep up for the rest of your life. (So, unless you want to juice fast for the rest of your life, pick something a little easier.) Because those are the kind of changes that stick! And eventually, they won’t feel like a change… they will become an automatic habit, just like brushing your teeth before bed or looking both ways before you cross the street.
So, what new habit would you like to develop by summer?
Here are some possible ideas:
- Cut out all sodas
- Move your body at least 30 minutes a day
- Make your own salad dressing instead of using store-bought varieties
- Replace refined sugar treats with homemade naturally sweetened versions
- Eat at least one large salad a day
- Have a green smoothie for breakfast each morning
- Eat one meatless meal each day
- Eat one dairy-free meal each day
- Reduce or eliminate caffeine
- Commit to a workout class or DVD 3 times a week
- Meditate each morning
- Read 25 pages of a book each day
Being the planner (and graphic designer) that I am, I created a printable chart to keep myself accountable over the next 8 weeks, and thought I’d share it here, below, in case it might help someone else. I love to cross off each day as I go, starting a streak! There’s something very satisfying about seeing your progress on paper, especially on days that feel more challenging. Eight weeks isn’t that long in the grand scheme of things, but it can also make a huge difference!
To download the chart yourself, just click on the image below for a full-size PDF.
Tip: Make sure your goal is action-based, rather than results-based. For example, you can’t control how long it will take your body to lose a certain number of pounds, so it will be frustrating if you can’t meet that goal in the allotted time frame. However, you can make an action-based goal to “workout 4 times a week” or to “enjoy a green smoothie every morning”– which will help you reach that result eventually, without the disappointment.
I’ve designed the chart above to accommodate two goals at time, because I prefer to multi-task, but both goals should still be manageable. For example, my own two goals are as follows:
- Satisfy my sweet tooth with fruit-based desserts
- Perform 30-minute strength training workouts 3 times a week
So, I’ll cross off each day as I go, and on the days that I do my strength training workouts, I’ll also check off the little box in the bottom corner for that day. The same method could be used for any number of goals, so feel free to use the chart however you like.
Here’s to a healthy and happy Spring, and I look forward to hearing about your progress over the next several weeks!
Reader Feedback: What goals will YOU tackle over the next 8 weeks? Share them in the comments below, if you’d like!
(P.S. I have an amazing vegan and grain-free brownie recipe for you coming up this week, so I hope you don’t give up chocolate!)