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How to Stay Motivated Past January: Well-Balanced

You wouldn’t know it from how much we talk about cookies, but Birchbox staffers are a pretty healthy bunch. We love our veggies and mind-clearing workouts, and are always up to try the latest fitness class or nutrition bar. Check back weekly for our Well-Balanced columns, with the latest in food, fitness, and more.image

Wellness essentials, clockwise from top left: awesome gear (love my fuchsia New Balance Minimus kicks); fun healthy food (purple cauliflower!); friends (team Birchbox workday workouts); and motivation (my Jawbone UP knows how much I move and sleep).

Every January, gyms and juice cleanses capitalize on the fact that most of us are feeling newly energized and ready to make a change, whether that means losing ten pounds or cutting out refined sugars. The problem is, those changes don’t usually make it past January. Over the years, I’ve made and broken a million resolutions (wellness and otherwise) and I’ve come to a few conclusions: keep your goals small and achievable, build in rewards, and be nice to yourself. Here are some of my best tips for keeping that New Year energy going well past January.

1. Make fitness a constant.

Find a class you love. Get a workout buddy. Make dates on the weekends. There are very few constants in my life besides exercise (I go in the mornings) and work. I’m addicted to group classes because they motivate me to get to the gym at a certain time. You have to find what you love—maybe you’re more of a hot yoga or solo bike ride kind of person! 

My personal favorites: Yoga, High Intensity Training classes like Tabata and MetCon3, and long runs with friends.

2. Invest in workout clothes that make you feel good.

A few years ago, during a group fitness class, I found myself more focused on how my ill-fitting pants were highlighting my tummy than on how strong the push-ups and burpees made me feel. I have another friend who says that finding the right sports bra absolutely changed her running life. To get my mom jazzed about yoga, I bought her a pair of Lululemon pants that she loves because she says they make her feel “stealth.” Try different brands and styles to find the pieces that make you feel like a superhero—because you are!

My personal favorites: Lululemon Run Inspire Crop. I know these are pricey but I wear them more than I wear my jeans and they last forever. I never have to tug at the waistband when I am running and they make me feel sleek and speedy. I also stock up on Champion seamless tanks whenever I am at Target—the brighter the color, the better!

3. Find healthy food you love.

The key to eating well is—and this may seem obvious—finding healthy foods you like. Not a salad person? Well, I could probably make you a salad you’d love. But in the meantime, focus on preparing veggies the way you do enjoy them—in an Asian-style stir fry, or roasted and mixed with quinoa and feta, or perhaps whizzed up into a green smoothie. When in doubt, eat colorfully: if your plate is all white, you need to make some changes. 

Need inspiration? Try any recipe on 101 Cookbooks (I make the Kale Market Salad again and again); Bon Appetit’s Food Lover’s Cleanse, two week’s worth of creative, drool-inducing recipes; or New York Times’ Recipes for Health series. Or just tweet me :)

4. Turn it into a game.

Set a goal for each week, whether it’s eating a wholesome breakfast or logging a certain number of cardio minutes. When you hit the goal, give yourself a reward—a new top, a manicure, or (yes) a cookie.

My goal: I recently invested in a Jawbone UP to help me track my activity and sleep levels. My first goal: at least seven hours of sleep a night!

5. Be nice to yourself.

You’ll have weeks where you feel super energized and strong, and ones where it’s all you can do to open the GrubHub app on your iPhone. Don’t beat yourself up when you have pizza at 2 a.m., and give yourself a pass on the days when you just. Can’t. Get. Out. Of. Bed. 

Good luck with your resolutions (or non-resolutions) and let me know how it goes!

—Mollie

No time to work out? No biggie. Women’s Health gave us a 15-minute, full body routine we can do at home.

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