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January is nearly over, but don't let the cold and the dark keep you from making those healthy changes permanent.

Seamus Mullen
January 26, 2018
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January, January, January....

It happens to all of us. We start the year with the best intentions: Highly motivated to make significant changes in our lives, whether it’s committing to a new fitness regime or making adjustments to our diets.

New Year. New Food. Healthy eating starts here, with the Cooking Light Diet.

We get a few weeks in and, splat. We fall flat on our faces before we are able to realize our goals. I know, I’ve been there. In fact, I’m there all the time!

But I have learned a few important lessons along the way that have helped me push through, and keep striving. So here are my top tips for sticking to those goals, and staying motivated when it might feel impossible.

RELATED: Try the 30-Minute At-Home Workout That Helped Seamus Get Fit

Keep your goals achievable

When it comes to fitness, rather than starting with “I want to get in shape!” (which is a very vague ambition), try setting an attainable goal—perhaps working out three days a week. Once you reach that goal, move the goal post. Up it to four days a week. Then five. You got this!

RELATED: How to Set New Year Goals You'll Actually Stick To

Have a plan

So we’ve established that we’re going to work out three times a week. Now, take a little time to program what those three workouts will be. Maximize your workout time to actually make progress. Try setting up one day as a cardio/conditioning day, one day as strength training, and one day for mobility.

RELATED: Here's What I Learned After Trying Seamus Mullen's 21-Day Reboot

Be the inertia

It’s easiest to succumb to the inertia of life. How often do we say things like, “I don’t have time to exercise” or “I don’t have time to cook”?

Once you commit to a plan and you get a few days under your belt, you’ll feel the benefits, and will start saying “I don’t have time not to exercise” or “I can’t wait to get home and cook!” With the momentum of accomplishment behind you and the wind at your back, it will only get easier and easier.

Work like a gardener

When I was growing up, my grandfather’s best friend was a traditional Japanese gardener named Tatsuo. One time, when I was about nine years old, I was in the garden with him and I noticed he was working on his hands and knees, crawling backwards.

When I asked him why, he said, “So I only see what I have accomplished. I never feel overwhelmed by the task ahead of me.”

I use this approach when I’m doing a really hard work out: if I’m holding a plank for 4 minutes, it seems like an eternity. But when I break it down into 30- second blocks and count then off in my head, it’s only 8 blocks. Totally doable!

Get over APS

What is APS you ask? Amazon Prime Syndrome! We want what we want and we want it now. I hate to break it to you, but fitness and health just don’t work that way.

It’s a process with no end. We have peaks and valleys, but the important part is to use the tricks above to stay on the path. With each seemingly small step, feel confident in the fact that you’re building up to something great. It will only get easier and easier.

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Chef Seamus Mullen is an award-winning chef, wellness guru, and author of Real Food Heals.