January 22, 2020 at 10:00AM by CWC
Raise your hand if this story sounds familiar: You start off a new year filled with motivation to totally crush all your new goals, but after just a couple weeks you find yourself settling back into old routines.
You’re so not alone. This year, most people were predicted to give up on their new year’s resolutions by January 19, AKA “quitter’s day,” according to research conducted by fitness tracking app Strava. If you’re one of them (no shame, January is hard), we grabbed some advice on how to set yourself up for wellness success all year long—even if that requires a little mid-Jan jumpstart.
“Truly improving your habits for the long haul requires setting smart goals that are realistic, doable, and maintainable,” says Cynthia Sass, RD and consultant for ZENB, a new plant-based brand that makes veggie-forward snacks using all parts of the vegetable (even the stems and seeds). “Small changes may not feel as impactful, but because you can stick with them long term, the benefits snowball over time, and ultimately make a greater impact on your goals.”
Once the habits associated with your goals start to feel like your new normal, Sass suggests adding another (and so on). Before you know it, you’ll have shown 2020 who’s boss with your goals officially crossed off.
Keep scrolling for 5 simple-yet-smart goals you can start on now and actually stick with throughout the year.
1. Choose plant-based snacks
Setting out to overhaul your whole diet in one fell swoop is a (literal) recipe for failure. Instead, Sass says to start with a single category—in this case, snacking—that can have a big impact on your overall nutrition.
“According to the CDC, fewer than 10 percent of adults eat the recommended minimum intake of two to three cups of vegetables per day,” Sass says. “And, an estimated 95 percent of American adults do not consume the recommended daily goal for fiber.”
By filling your desk drawer with plant-based snacking options like ZENB Veggie Bites—which provide one cup of veggies and up to 29 percent of the daily recommended dose of fiber—you’ll not only be hitting your goal of snacking better, you’ll be defying statistics in 2020.
2. Drink more water
This is one of those goals that could probably fit on anyone’s list, every single year—and science agrees. “According to Mayoclinic, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine estimated adequate daily fluid intake is approximately 16 cups for men and 12 cups for women,” Sass says.
Of course, that number varies depending on your levels of exercise, environment, and overall health, Sass says. But there’s one universal truth: Water is the real OG.
3. Up your produce intake
Instead of making a nutrition goal about restricting foods as off limits (which you know will be hard the next time you just really want a dessert), flip your mindset to focus on what you can add to your diet.
Sass recommends trying to eat seven cups of produce a day, and the more variety the better. Amp up the nutrition of your pasta sauce by blending carrots or butternut squash into the mix, or throw a handful of frozen zucchini into a smoothie (trust us)
“In addition to increasing nutrient intake, upping your produce intake can help enhance overall happiness, support digestive health, and may result in healthier-looking skin,” she adds. One simple goal just turned into three killer payoffs.
And if you’re not near a fridge? Grab a pouch of ZENB Veggie Bites to munch on. They come in flavors like summer beet with orange and cacao nibs, AKA a flavor-upgraded fusion with veggies you might not normally eat.
4. Get creative with your movement
Just because all the “healthy” people you follow on Instagram go to spin class five times a week, that doesn’t mean that’s what you have to do too—especially if you don’t actually like spin classes.
“When a workout feels like a chore or punishment, you’re less likely to stick with it,” Sass says. (Preach.) “Find activities you enjoy that just happen to count as exercise, such as dance, hiking, or roller skating.” The cool thing about enjoying your mode of exercise is that you’ll forget it even counts as a workout at all.
5. Practice mindfulness
Have you ever met someone and thought they’re too centered? Probably not, which means you could likely benefit from adding some more Zen time to your routine. “Even five minutes a day of mindful meditation can help reduce stress and improve overall happiness,” Sass says. And just like that, you have five smart goals you can confidently brag on yourself about all year long.
Sponsored by ZENB
Top photo: Getty Images/Westend61