IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

7 ‘little wins’ that can motivate you to stick with your health goals

Grabbing an apple, drinking more water and the laundry basket feeling lighter are all accomplishments worth celebrating.
If grabbing a piece of fruit when you're in a hurry has become a habit, that's a sign your making progress toward your health goals.
If grabbing a piece of fruit when you're in a hurry has become a habit, that's a sign your making progress toward your health goals.Buppha Wuttifery / Getty Images

We are now one month into the new year and this is where it can start to get tough. That new year sparkle has faded and with it your motivation to stick with a health and fitness routine is likely starting to wane. Especially since it may still be too early to see any huge changes in your body from all of your hard work.

But there are small wins you can keep an eye out for that can help you celebrate sticking with it this long — and motivate you to keep going.

Noticing and celebrating small wins has made a huge difference for my weight-loss clients. You don’t have to wait until you hit huge milestones to celebrate your hard work! After all, it’s the small actions we take every day that add up to big changes over time. So while making one healthy choice may not feel like huge progress, those are the stepping stones to reaching your goal.

Even on those days where you miss a workout or slip up with your healthy diet, there’s always something to be proud of. Here are some of my favorite little wins to keep an eye out for.

Pulling yourself away from the TV

We’ve all been there: A new season of your favorite series comes out and your suddenly glued to the couch. It can feel nearly impossible to pull yourself away and get your workout in — especially on cold, winter days! So on those days when you manage to get moving, you deserve a major pat on the back. Treat getting up and doing just a five-minute workout as a win. One of my clients used this mindset to shift what her workout looks like on Sundays, when she binge watches episodes of her favorite shows. She squeezes in a five-minute workout between episodes, like lifting weights, doing Pilates ab exercises or running in place. After the all-day binge, she has a 25-minute workout in the books! And this is all because she started looking at moving for just a few minutes as a win.

Developing a morning routine

Maybe it’s pouring a big glass of water and doing a short meditation or a workout followed by a healthy breakfast. Whatever your morning looks like, instituting and committing to an a.m. routine that sets you up for a successful day is no small feat. Have you managed to establish a morning routine this year that makes your mental and physical health a priority? That's a big step toward adopting a healthy lifestyle and forming habits that will help you reach your larger goals.

 Feeling more energized in the morning

Speaking of mornings, take note of how you feel when your alarm goes off. When we’re physically active and eating a healthy diet, we tend to sleep better and wake up feeling more refreshed. After committing to a healthy lifestyle consistently for a month, you will likely start to notice yourself feeling more energized in the mornings. This is a great sign that you’re making progress. So when you wake up without hitting snooze and are able to start your morning without feeling drowsy, give yourself a pat on the back.

Grabbing a piece of fruit when you're in a hurry

Incorporating healthy foods like fruits and vegetables into your diet can be difficult, especially on busy weekdays. It’s so easy to grab a processed snack on your way to work or in between Zoom meetings. So take note when you reach for the fruit bowl when you get a hankering for an afternoon snack. This is proof that you’re shifting your eating habits away from unhealthy processed foods and toward healthy whole foods. This is a huge accomplishment! Too often we think of our diet in absolutes: we have to stick to a plan 100% in order to be doing well. But each and every healthy choice you make is a small victory worth celebrating.

A decrease in unhealthy food cravings

When your health and fitness routine is working, you may start to notice that you’re not craving unhealthy foods as often. I often find that when my clients commit to a workout routine, eating a healthy diet naturally follows suit. If you find your cravings for sweets, salty snacks or fast food subsiding, this is a big sign that you’re succeeding, even if you don’t see it when you look in the mirror. Plus, focusing on adding healthy foods rather than taking away unhealthy foods helps create a positive relationship with food and makes eating healthily feel like less of a drag. So as you naturally start to reduce your cravings and choose healthy foods over junk food, it’s time to celebrate.

Everyday chores (like laundry, climbing up the stairs) feel easier

Constantly bending up and down when folding the laundry can be exhausting — until it’s not. When you start to feel less fatigued after simple chores like doing laundry or carrying the groceries, that is a clear sign that your endurance and strength is improving. You may even have an extra pep in your step when climbing the stairs. Many of the members in our “Start TODAY” Facebook group credit our walking workout plan with giving them more mobility and energy to do everyday tasks around the house. Often this is the first positive change they notice before any weight loss! Take note of the ease and agility with which you perform chores because this is signaling that your body is getting stronger and healthier.

Refilling your water bottle a few times a day

The majority of us do not drink enough water — and staying hydrated is so important in how our body functions and how we feel every day. Dehydration causes headaches and mood swings and affects our ability to think clearly. So each time you refill your water bottle you’re doing your body a favor. But drinking more water is definitely a habit that takes practice. You may notice after a month of making a more conscious effort to hydrate that it is becoming second nature. Time for a little victory dance by the water cooler!