Ah, summer–the season where relaxation is embedded into our daily routines, and indulging in an extra scoop of ice cream is always acceptable. It’s easy to let our health goals fall by the wayside when everywhere we look people are either jet-setting around Europe or lounging poolside with a glass of rosé. It feels like January 1 was a lifetime ago when we set the goal of working out three times a week or meditating every day for 10 minutes. If New Year’s Day is made for setting resolutions, then summer is the ultimate test of those goals.
While it may be tempting to put a hold on your health goals this summer, there is a way to stick with them and still make the most of the warm weather and everything the next few months have to offer. So whether you want to keep up with your workout routine, maintain a healthy diet, or improve your mental health, here are six hacks to keep your health goals in check (while still fully enjoying the season).
1. Adapt to the season and make a plan
Back in January when you set your health goals, you were probably eager, motivated, and committed. Six months later, the initial enthusiasm you felt to see them through may have dwindled, and that’s OK. It just means it’s time to reevaluate and make a new plan, specifically for summer. Review your goals and see where you can make adjustments to make the most of this season. For example, if your goal was to work out more, but the idea of going to a gym while it’s sunny outside sounds awful, move your workout outdoors. Writing out your plan helps put it in motion and holds you accountable for your intentions.
2. Set aside dedicated time for your goals
For most of us, summer is the busiest time of year. We travel more, attend more weddings, and have a busier social calendar, making it harder to find time to prioritize our health goals. But being able to enjoy all that summer has to offer is dependent on our health, so we have to make time for it. Think about it: You want to have optimal energy, digestion, and mood to be able to fully enjoy all the special moments. Carving out time to carry out your aforementioned plan should be prioritized the same way you would a work meeting or meeting up with friends. Schedule a time block in your calendar every day or every week for the duration of summer, and stick with it!
3. Provide positive reinforcement
Remember being rewarded for something good you did as a kid? Perhaps it was a cookie after lunch for completing your homework or a playdate with friends after doing your chores. Now I’m not saying you should reward yourself every time you get one step closer to reaching your goals, but sometimes a change in mindset can help. Try reframing how you approach your goals by planning fun events or trips as the “pat on your back” for your hard work. It’s the best way to ensure you stick with your goals without sacrificing your summer.
4. Adjust for travel
If you’re anything like me, you eagerly count down the days to your vacation, but also get anxious wondering how you’re going to maintain some semblance of a wellness routine while away. Over the years, I’ve learned to adjust my wellness routine for travel so I can still enjoy the time off and feel good about my health. This might mean fitting in a 15- or 30-minute workout in the morning before everyone else wakes up, packing supplements that can help support your system (I always bring digestive enzymes, a B-complex, probiotics, and a greens powder), or taking some time each day for yourself to meditate or journal. No matter your health goals, there is a way to adapt them for travel. Your routine may not be exactly the same as at home, but that’s part of living a well-balanced life.
5. Find a buddy
Having an accountability buddy not only makes you more likely to stick with your goals but also makes executing them a lot more fun. Find someone who shares similar health goals with you and make a plan together on how to maintain them. Sign up for the same workout classes, make grocery shopping dates, or check in via text with one another each day. Having someone you can share your health journey with allows for a more encouraging environment.
6. Reflect on your progress
With any long-term goal, it’s necessary to take the time to reflect on your progress, assess everything you’ve learned, and make any adjustments as needed to continue. If you’re six months into your goal of meditating daily, and you’ve stuck with it, congrats! But if you’re someone who fell off the wagon a couple of times, that’s OK too. Every day looks different, and there really is no “wagon” to fall off of. Being healthy is simply adapting how you show up for yourself every day. No matter where you are on your journey, be proud of what you’ve accomplished. Wellness is a lifelong journey, and reflecting on your progress is one of the many joys of it.