Smart Goal Setting: Attack These 10 Small Healthy Changes

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The New Year is upon us already and many of you have already begun thinking how 2016 is going to be “Your Year.” You are going to do everything you didn’t do the year before because for you, a New Year means a fresh start.

Right?

You are going to get stronger in the gym.
You are going to eat healthier.
You are going to get leaner.
You are going to fit into that bathing suit by July.
You are going to become the healthiest version of yourself.

Any of these sound familiar? Were you saying the same things at the beginning of 2015? These are some of the many thoughts we have as an old year ends and a new one begins. The approach of a New Year gives us this feeling that we can leave everything from the previous year behind and this New Year is going to be a better one.

Related: How to Reach Your Goals: The Follow-Through

But, that’s where the problem lies. Many of us believe a new year is going to automatically wash away our bad habits or negative mindset from the year before. We tend to think that somehow when the clock strikes midnight our habits and actions are going to magically change.

If you really want to see change and transform yourself in the New Year there’s no magic involved. There’s only you: Me, Myself, and I. You are the one that is going to ignite the change and the easiest way to do that is to make small, simple, easy changes within your lifestyle that will benefit you in the long run.

Fitness Goals

The mistake many of us make when planning goals or getting on that New Year ‘health kick’ is that we set big goals for ourselves without establishing a roadmap to lead us there. Instead of focusing on that huge goal, switch it up and set a small, simple goal for yourself.

Making a small change within your day to day life will lead you to making other small, positive changes. By making small, but effective changes you will put yourself in a position to succeed and lead yourself towards accomplishing even bigger goals than you imagined.

These are 10 simple, yet effective changes all of you can make towards truly making 2016 your best year yet.

10 Small Changes You Can Make

#1 – Purchase a Water Container

Drinking more water is one of the easiest changes you can make to improve yourself both mentally and physically. Many of us don’t drink near the recommended amount of water we should be getting each day, which can have a negative impact on our performance in the gym and our internal functioning.

Related: Calculate Your Daily Water Intake Requirements

Water assists with digestion, the transportation of glucose to muscles, and keeping your energy levels high during exercise. By having a water container close to you, whether it’s a full gallon jug or simply a shaker cup you can fill with water, you will always have a water source close to you. By drinking more water each day and staying hydrated you can increase your performance in the gym and help your body function at an optimum level.

#2 – 30 Minutes More Sleep

PillowYou need to sleep more. Groundbreaking stuff right? As easy as it sounds we all get sucked into those 3am Netflix marathons and find ourselves struggling to even pour ourselves a cup of coffee the next morning.

Not getting enough sleep can have a profound effect on your daily performance in life and in the gym. A lack of sleep can cause increases in hunger and have a negative impact on your body’s ability to recover from an intense exercise session. So, make it a point to get 30 more minutes of sleep than you normally do every night.

When you’re setting alarm to wake up the next morning, set an alarm to tell you it’s time to go to sleep. Putting your body in a resting state for 30 minutes more each night is a small change you can make towards increasing your energy and productivity day to day.

#3 – Write Down One Struggle

What’s the one thing you struggled with the most this past year? Getting to the gym? Keeping your nutrition in check? Maybe a more personal issue? Whatever struggles you had this past year that you want to work on in 2016 write one of them down. You may have more than one struggle, but only write one of them down on a sticky note or in your phone.

Keep this struggle you’ve written down in a place where you see it each morning you wake up and every night before you go to bed. By facing your struggle each day you will be more focused and determined to do everything you can to turn that struggle into an achievement.

#4 – Set a Specific Exercise Time

Many of us are creatures of habit and succeed within a structure, repetitive setting. If you’re an athlete practice is at the same time every day. If you work a standard 8-5 job work starts at the same time every day. This set, repetitive nature keeps you on track with your daily activity.

So, why should your work out plan be any different? Working out at the same time every day is going to get you into a regular routine to keep you on schedule with your fitness plan. The more you consistently work out at a specific time each day, the more your daily exercises becomes just another part of your daily routine.

Ditch the Alcohol

#5 – Ditch the Alcohol for 30 Days

This one may not be for all of you. Some of you may not be able to give up that glass of wine with dinner each night which is fine. I’m not here to be your parent to tell you what to do. But, ditching any alcohol for 30 days straight can have a substantial impact on your fat loss.

Not only does alcohol fill your body with empty calories and carbohydrates, it also increases your appetite and can lower testosterone levels. By cutting alcohol for 30 days you can jumpstart your fat loss just by cutting down the calories and carbohydrates that make up an alcoholic beverage.

Personally, this is the one thing I did at the beginning of this last year that really got me focused on completely changing my physique throughout 2015.

#6 – Skip the Appetizer and Dessert

If you are someone who tends to eat out often there are plenty of macro-friendly, healthy food options you can choose when going out to eat. You may be ordering a healthy entrée, but are you also indulging on an appetizer and dessert? If so, it’s time to ditch both.

By not ordering an appetizer or dessert you can save yourself from consuming an extra 1000+ calories within a single meal. By making this one small change when eating out you can significantly decrease your caloric intake, which can play a huge role in helping you to lose fat.

#7 – Clear Out the Kitchen

A New Year means clearing out the past and focusing on the future. While you’re clearing out the past mentally, you should also clear out the past physically. On January 1st go through your pantry and refrigerator and clear it out.

The holiday cookies from Christmas, that small slice of pumpkin pie, and the frozen family sized lasagna need to go. Filling your kitchen with clean, healthy food and snacks to begin the year will get you mentally prepared to put an emphasis on your nutrition as you begin your 2016 fitness journey.

#8 – Take a Picture of Yourself Once a Week

One small change you can make for tracking your progress in 2016 is to take a picture of yourself at the end of each week. Take the picture in the same place when you wake up each morning and keep this log of pictures somewhere. Don’t consistently analyze the pictures you have taken of yourself after each week, but rather look back at the series of pictures after 3-4 months.

If you’ve stayed committed and consistent with your training you’ll be amazed at the changes you see in each picture over that time span. Sometimes the scale doesn’t tell the whole story and these series of pictures can truly be worth 1,000 words.

#9 – Understand Your Supplements

A change many of you may be thinking about making in the New Year is the addition of supplements into your diet. Before you start purchasing random supplements it’s important to do your research. All supplements are created with different ingredients to serve a specific purpose.

So, if your goal for the New Year is to gain weight and gain muscle, you may not be taking the same supplements as someone whose goal is to get toned and lose weight. This small action of taking time to read and learn about certain supplements before you start purchasing anything could be the difference in making 2016 your best fitness year to date.

#10 – Get a Gym Bag

If you don’t have a gym bag already, this simple addition to your fitness arsenal can help you stay organized in the New Year. And, for many of us organization equals success. Not only will having a gym bag keep you organized, a gym bag will serve as a constant reminder for you to go exercise.

Having a gym bag filled with your exercise equipment staring at you in your car or as you leave the house can help you push yourself mentally and give you that extra motivation you may need to get yourself to the gym.

Crush Your Goals in 2016

These 10 small changes are the perfect starting point for any of you who are looking to make a serious change to your body in 2016. Doing on small thing to get you focused on yourself and change your mindset towards exercise and nutrition can have a profound impact towards creating the best version of yourself. A small change can produce big gains.

For more fitness and nutrition advice subscribe to the MuscleMinds Youtube channel and follow me on Instagram @thebrentness.

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Name: Brently Rousset

Bio: Born, raised, and currently residing in beautiful San Diego, CA, I've been around some form of fitness almost my entire life. My mom was an aerobics teacher at the local gym when I was in elementary school through middle school. My dad had a full home gym in the garage and raced mountain bikes professionally through my high school years. My parents engrained the importance of health and fitness into me from a young age. I started playing soccer in my elementary days only to leave it behind for my true loves of basketball and surfing.