I can't believe it is December already! How was your 2017? As we are approaching the end of the year it's the perfect time to make small changes to finish strong and set yourself up for success in 2018. A lot of people get lost in the craziness of the holidays and decide they will focus on their goals in January, but you can get ahead of the curve by planning for success in 2018 right now.



1. end of year reflections

Before you even think about making New Year Resolutions for 2018 it's a good idea to take some time to reflect back on 2017. How did it go? What did you accomplish? What went wrong? Where there any missed opportunities? What did you learn? What can you improve? If you spend some time thinking of where you've been, it helps you better set clear concise goals for 2018. It helps to write it down on paper, maybe write a blog post or type it up in a Word document on your computer. Get it out of your head for the biggest impact. I made a PDF worksheet you can download to get you started. 

2. one goal for December

Set one goal for December. Just one. Something you can accomplish by the end of the month. Something achievable. Don't attempt to get too aggressive with your goals (like lose 25 pounds!) or make too many changes at once or you'll risk getting overwhelmed. What is one thing you can accomplish in December that will set you up for success in 2018? Set a goal and make it your focus for December.

3. develop a new daily healthy habit

Whatever goal you choose for December, choose a daily healthy habit that will help you achieve it. If your goal is fat loss maybe you begin a daily walking habit. Start with 5 minutes a day. If your goal is to build a consistent running schedule, maybe you join the Runner's World winter run streak and run at least one mile every day. If you goal is to get stronger, then maybe spend 15 minutes every day on strength training exercises.

Here are some ideas for daily healthy habits that can have a big impact on your health and wellness: Develop a sleep ritual to get 7-8 hours of sleep each night, eat slowly at meals, drink more water, eat more protein or eat more vegetables. Just choose one or two for the whole month and really focus on making your new habit a part of your daily life. Healthy habits + consistency = healthy lifestyle.

4. gratitude journal

Before you go to bed at night take a few minutes to write down 5-10 things you are grateful for that day. Life has its ups and downs but to take a few minutes to reflect on the good and positive (even when things aren't going well) can help lower stress, improve your perspective and can even help you sleep better!

5. be present

When spending time with friends and family focus on your friends and family, not on your Instagram feed. This is something I am currently working on myself. Turn your phone off during meals and social occasions. Consider an entire day or weekend without the internet. I have to remind myself that nothing more important is happening on my phone than what is in front of me now. This holiday season give the gift of your presence.

6. spend quality time with a friends and family

Call an old friend. Make a lunch date. Invite family over for dinner. In this digital world, be the person who makes the effort to keep real world connections. You can follow your old friend on Facebook but there is nothing like sitting across from her (or running next to her) and getting caught up in person.

7. send cards or notes

Our email boxes are flooded but we don't get much in the mail anymore, so it can be a pleasant surprise to receive handwritten cards or notes. It can be in the form of a holiday card or simply a note card. Write out a few sentences and tell someone how much they mean to you. It costs you just a stamp and can make a huge difference in someone's day/life.

8. practice self-care

What does self-care mean to you? Do at least one thing each week that makes you feel good. Take a bubble bath, give yourself a pedicure, get a massage, spend time with friends, read a book or go for a run. Whatever relaxes you in a healthy positive way. Carve out the time for yourself. It not only makes you feel better, it makes everyone around you feel better too. (When mama's happy, everyone's happy.) It's well worth the time investment in yourself.

9. volunteer or give

Speaking of things that make you feel good, think about ways you can give back, either by giving to your favorite charity or volunteering your time. This time of year, I like to go shopping for Toys for Tots and buy toys for kids who would otherwise not have gifts for Christmas. I have also been considering volunteering at the local dog shelter to run or walk with the dogs. (Ollie will be jealous.) 

One easy way I like to give is to download the Charity Mile app. You can earn money for a charity by walking or running! The app makes a donation to your chosen charity for the miles you run or walk. It's a free app and if you are walking or running regularly anyway, it is a no-brainer.

10. plan ahead for January

Now is the time to plan ahead for January. Once you've reflected on 2017, start making your goals and plans for 2018. Need help? I offer nutrition habits coaching online for people who are ready to make lifestyle and eating habits changes that result in long term fat loss. I have a running coaching program online and personal training in Fort Worth for people who want to get stronger to run their first or fastest race. I can help you break through plateaus to get to the next level. I'd love to help you reach your health and fitness goals for 2018. Not ready for coaching? Sign up to receive updates from the strength and running blog for all the running, strength training and nutrition tips for free!

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