Let's face it, most of us do not get as much exercise as we probably need to reap the health benefits. There are millions of reasons why this is. Society has it ingrained in us to always be productive in some fashion, but we tend to forget that being productive with our own lives and health does not count as much, for whatever reason.

With the new year comes a whole new host of opportunities for self-improvement.

An easy goal to make is to better your own health, which could actually rub off on the people around you. Today, it is very easy to overlook your health and to focus on other areas such as a career, your family, or even school.

1. Setting goals

Setting a goal, or goals is a crucial first step in the process of becoming a healthier version of yourself. It affords you the opportunity to visualize a path to go from where you are now to where you would like to be at the end of your journey.

Choose something that is realistic and actually attainable and start small. Pick something relatively easy and build from there. Remember, you are creating new habits that you are trying to make stick for long-term progress. A good Rule Of Thumb is simply to make the goal the goal. This means to not constantly change your goals. Stick to something and see how far you get. Good luck!

2. Track your workouts

Whether it be a simple notepad/journal, or keeping track on your smartphone, write down your workouts.

I prefer to use a pen and notebook just for the sake of simplicity. Keeping track of your progress in the gym can be so helpful in the long-term. It allows you to look back on where you started and compare where you are now. I also think writing down your workouts allows you to make sustained progress; which in turn sets you up for better long-term progress/happiness.

3. Eat more vegetables

Now, this tip seems simple and straightforward, but it is something we could all work on.

Whether you are a vegan or a meat-eater, try getting a few more servings of veggies throughout your day. Even a quick snack would work too, like one serving of peanut butter and some celery sticks.

4. Drink more water

Water is such an important aspect of daily life. Staying hydrated is crucial for proper performance in and out of the gym, so try getting more water in throughout your day. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention do not have a general recommendation for water consumption as an adult or youth, but they do list several things that increased water intake can help with, such as: "preventing dehydration, managing body weight, and reducing caloric intake when substituted for drinks with calories." Try to add a glass of water to each meal that you have.

5. Pay attention to how much you sleep

Sleep is vital to optimal performance, whether that be in the gym or in the office. According to the National Sleep Foundation, seven to nine hours of sleep is recommended for ages 14 to 65 and older. You might be able to function on five or six, but imagine how much more energy you would have with a couple extra hours of sleep. Pay Attention to your sleep habits too.

Try to avoid using a smartphone or laptop computer late at night, as the bright lights can have a negative effect on your circadian rhythm.

So there you have it, five relatively easy tips to follow on your journey to a better you. This is a new year with a lot of opportunity for growth and change. I wish you all the best of luck in all your endeavors!

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