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12 Monthly Goals For a Healthy New Year

By Ali Struhs

You know you want to make this year your best yet by getting healthy and fit, but setting one sweeping resolution to lose weight just seems a bit overwhelming. Why not break down your resolution into monthly goals? Not only will you be taking steps each month toward a healthier you, but your overall weight loss goal will seem more attainable, month after month. This year, make a plan and set a simple, reachable goal for all twelve months. Here are 12 ideas to get you on track in the new year.

January: Join Jenny Craig
Did you know Jenny Craig members lose three times more weight than dieting on their own?* Sign up for Jenny Craig and you’ll start your weight loss journey with a consultant who can advise you throughout the entire year. Plus, you’ll have access to a full menu of Jenny Craig food, the foundation of the weight loss program.

February: Improve your mood
This month, when the winter blues can take over, vow to improve your mood each day. Turn on music in the morning while you’re getting dressed, hit the sale racks for retail therapy, and catch up over coffee with a friend. The simplest way to boost your mood? Wear your smile proudly. Even a fake smile can make you feel better and reduce stress.

March: Take the stairs
Skip the elevator and commit to take the stairs each day. Even just two flights of stairs can shed 6 pounds off over the course of a year. It’s an easy exercise that fits into your schedule and requires no equipment.

April: Clean the pantry
While you’re spring cleaning your home, clean the pantry and refrigerator. Spring is the perfect time to start fresh by getting rid of sneaky junk food tucked away. These foods could potentially derail your diet, so commit to a new healthier you by replacing the food you throw out with fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grain pastas, and lean proteins.

May: Plant a garden
Imagine picking fresh tomatoes, lettuce, beets, carrots, and squash from your very own garden. Spend May tilling, digging, and planting a garden to tend over the summer. You’ll reap the rewards: fruits and vegetables to supplement a healthy diet and great exercise while digging and weeding. According to the CDC, you can burn around 330 calories per hour doing light yard work!

June: Run a race
Sign up for a 5k or 10k race and get running (or walking)! Work your way up to running the race distance, so you can finish strong. Plus, with your entrance fee, you’ll probably score some new running swag and support a great cause.

July: Go exploring
Head to the mountains or to your favorite lake or beach. Involve the family and choose a new hike to do together each weekend in July. The fresh air, quality family time, and activity will feel rejuvenating on a warm summer day. Just be sure to pack plenty of water and healthy snacks!

August: Try new recipes
Visit your local farmer’s market and make a new recipe with all of the fresh produce you purchase. Corn, peaches, squash, and tomatoes are all in season in August. Try grilling peaches for a light summery dessert!

September: TV workouts
With the crisp nights of September and the return of all your favorite fall TV shows, it’s tempting to stay inside and curl up on the couch. You can still watch TV and get your workout in, too! Try crunches, couch tricep dips, and side elbow planks while catching up on the latest episode.

October: Swap out sweets
With Halloween on the calendar and the holidays looming just around the corner, sweets are all around you. Swap out the candy and autumnal baked goods for seasonal fruit, like pears and apples. Did you know pears and apples may actually reduce your stroke risk? Just one apple could reduce your risk by 9%.

November: Try a new class
The elliptical and same-old workout videos can be mundane, so switch up your routine by trying a new group exercise class. An array of classes are available from Curves circuit training to dance and kickboxing, or low-impact classes like yoga and Pilates that relieve stress and increase flexibility. Invite a friend to try the class with you!

December: Track your steps
With so many different options for fitness trackers, you can log all of those steps you take while holiday shopping. Doing most of your gift shopping online these days? Bundle up and soak in the warm winter sunshine while on a walk during your lunch break at work. Aim to hit 10,000 steps each day in December.

*JAMA. 2010 Oct. 27; 304(16) 1803-10.

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