30-Day Get Lean in 2018 Challenge Day 1: How to Crush Your Goals This Year

Katie laughing looking very rejuvenated drinking a green juice
Today is the day! (Image: Kristen Schellenberg / LIVESTRONG.COM)

Congratulations! You’ve done it. You’ve decided it’s time to get healthy, and you’ve committed to doing this for YOU. Welcome to the LIVESTRONG.COM 30-Day Get Lean in 2018 Challenge.

Our entire team is here to support you every step of the way. Like a song that’s been on a loop in your head, you’re stuck with us — but in a good way. Every day we’ll give you info and tools to keep you motivated and to help you succeed.

Start Strong But Start Small

It's easy to overcommit yourself amidst the hype reaching the "finish line" of getting fit, but in order not to fizzle out before the month is even over, it's important to establish balance.

Balance is essential if you want to reach your goals. Tracking your meals and focusing on your workouts are both critical components, but you need to balance your fitness routine and your life. It's common to make your transformation the primary focus of your attention, but don't take on too much at once.

You're juggling a lot. You're working to replace old habits with new ones that support your new healthier lifestyle, but you don't need to change everything at once. It's not all or nothing. Here are some ideas for small changes you can start today, and then build on through the rest of the challenge:

Your first week, try tracking without changing too much so you can get a baseline for how much you eat.

–Identify one food or drink you know you can pretty easily do without (soda, donuts, dessert, alcohol) and commit to cutting it out of your diet for just one week to see how you feel.
–Add just a little more movement each day. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, park at the other end of the parking lot and walk to the store, use your lunch break to take a walk with your coworker.
–Figure out which foods you don't mind swapping out for healthier alternatives.
–Tell yourself you're never going to eat directly from the bag. Instead, portion out your meal or snack and stop when you've finished whatever you've allotted.
–Fill up on fruits and veggies so that you're less likely to eat more of the less healthier options at meals.
–Opt to cook more meals at home instead of going out to a restaurant.

Find Balance to Get Healthier

Like the saying goes, slow and steady wins the race. Don't overwhelm yourself by attempting a complete life overhaul. You'll have greater success if you make small, meaningful changes and build from there. This is a marathon, not a sprint.

Manage your expectations and set yourself up for long-term success. For example, you're not going to get six-pack abs, run a marathon and cook and eat five healthy, perfectly balanced meals a day — all in your first month. While that's wonderfully ambitious, it's not realistic.

Be kind to yourself and use your resources to achieve and maintain balance. You've got an arsenal of tools at your disposal, including the LIVESTRONG.COM community to provide support and accountability to help you out. A balanced approach will help tip the scales in your favor — toward success.

How to Join the 30-Day Get Lean in 2018 Challenge

using a smartphone to track calories eaten on the MyPlate app
Tracking is easy with MyPlate. (Image: LIVESTRONG.COM)

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