How To: Stay Healthy and Fit This Semester

Photo courtesy of FizzUp

Now that the new semester is well and truly in full swing (midterms, what?), getting a grip on your health and fitness goals is becoming increasingly a priority. Whether your goals for the semester are to lose those last 10 pounds, get fit, run a half-marathon or simply feel better in your own skin, you need a plan.

Without a plan, it’s easy for your goals to slip out of your mind as you become overwhelmed with work and social outings, and one day here and there becomes every day, which becomes your habit, routine and reality.

The most important steps to take in order to plan out your week, inclusive of your health and fitness goals, and then follow it over and over and over until you don’t even have to think about it!

  1. Make yourself a priority.  If you are serious about getting fit, losing weight or feeling fabulous, then you need to act seriously. Your grades are important, your social life is important, your sleep is important, but moreover, your health is important. When you finalize your class timetable for the spring, sit down for half an hour, take out a pen and physically write in where and when you are going to workout. If your focus rests more on diet, then plan out how you will meal prep each week. Will you go to Ralph’s every Sunday? Will you place an Amazon Fresh order? Will you spend Sunday night cooking up two healthy meals that you can refrigerate and eat throughout the week?
  2. Play to your strengths. Some of us are morning people, others swear by the night. No matter what your personal preference, figure it out and stick with it. Just because that super motivating, Instagram-famous fitness guru says that working out before 8 a.m. every morning is her number one tip, if you struggle to get out of bed before 11 a.m., don’t! Working out in its early stages is hard enough as it is; finding ways to make getting out the door easier and more enjoyable will transfer into long-term routine.
  3. Change Up Your Workouts. Don’t do the same thing every day — not only will your body adjust to your workouts and hit a plateau in terms of physical results, but it will also become very boring very quickly. Find workouts that excite you and entice you to take that first step; try incorporating interval work, jump rope, bodyweight exercises, anything that can be fun, different yet challenging nonetheless!
  4. Tell Your Friends/Get A Workout Buddy. Having someone to keep you accountable works both ways; not only will your friend make you get out the door, but also, other times, you’ll make your friend get out the door. Being helped and offering help are two of the most feel-good acts of kindness any two people can engage in, and when you’re feeling motivated by someone you love, or motivating that same someone, your mood will elevate, your mindset will brighten and your workout will be smoked.
  5. Think About It The Night Before. Every night when you lie in bed, look at your plan/calendar, think about what you have on the next day, and refresh your mind on your plans within the next 24 hours. Falling asleep motivated, optimistic and confident within yourself will correlate to waking in a good mood, focused, determined and powerful to crush another day!
  6. Change Your Mindset. At the end of the day, everything we do comes down to what we do and do not think. In terms of diet and exercise, there are two things that you must work on and embrace in order to succeed. Firstly — gratitude. You absolutely, unequivocally must be thankful for where you are and who you are right now, today. There is no point working out because you hate the way you look, live or feel — such negative motivation is short-term, toxic and bound to direct you straight toward a giant binge, or falling off the wagon altogether. Focus on yourself for yourself, because you love and respect your body enough to work on it.

Secondly, the law of attraction. This law is vastly complicated and far too lengthy for me to explain here in this article (although I highly recommend looking into it), however, on a fundamental scale, this is what I mean: If you act like you’re already living the life of your dreams, you will. It’s that simple. If you are grateful for everything you have and are, and you live each day with the positivity, productivity and passion that you foresee in your future life (be this when you’ve lost the weight, got the abs or cut out the junk food), then your future life will become your reality.

Remember that what you do day in and day out directly and unequivocally determines who you are and how you feel. It is your decision to feel happy, successful, fit and healthy — but you have to truly, actively, entirely decide to believe in you.

Annabel Hickey is a sophomore majoring in creative writing. Her column, How To, runs every other week on Monday.