As busy college students juggling academics, extracurriculars, and social lives, it can be a challenge to adopt healthy habits to live a healthy lifestyle. As college life can be demanding, we find ourselves too tired to hit the gym, too lazy to prepare a healthy meal, or too busy to find time for our overall well-being. 

My past experience balancing college life with health and fitness has been difficult to manage—often resulting in inconsistency and chaos. As a New Year’s resolution, one of my goals was to stay consistent with my overall health and prove that harmony could exist between a demanding everyday schedule and personal health.  Here are five healthy tips that have helped me stay on track with my goals:

1. Set Up A Visual Schedule

Planner, pen, sharpie and desk HD photo by Jazmin Quaynor (@jazminantoinette) on Unsplash

Unsplash on Unsplash

Don't have time to workout? Plan your day around it! One new healthy habit that has really helped me achieve my goals this year is simply putting aside some time at the beginning of the week to plan out my workout schedule. Setting up a visual and convenient schedule with Google Sheets, a planner, or a calendar has personally made it easier for me to not have to worry about my workouts, and it keeps me determined to hit the gym when I have a clear goal and workout plan in mind. 

#SpoonTip: Not sure which exercises to do at the gym? Try a group exercise class, watch some Youtube videos, or try out HIIT if you're pressed for time. 

2. Make Sustainable Goals

Making appointments photo by STIL (@stilclassics) on Unsplash

Unsplash on Unsplash

While we can sometimes be overly ambitious with our aspirations, it is important to establish achievable goals. If your goal is to workout multiple times a week, try to commit to 30 minutes a day. If you want to incorporate more fresh fruit and vegetables into your daily diet, start off by including your favorite fruit as a snack at least once a day. According to Harvard Medical School, goals should be SMARTSpecific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timely. Rather than setting a broad and lofty goal, break it down to make it more manageable.

3. Meal Prep

Meal Prep for Breakfast & Lunch photo by Ella Olsson (@ellaolsson) on Unsplash

Unsplash on Unsplash

We are all victims of hangry behavior—reaching for the quickest, most convenient food source when we are ravenous. Meal prepping has become a routine that I have worked into my weekly schedule, and this has saved me so much time and money during the week. Set aside a day to cook all your food for the week, ration it into containers to store in the fridge, and heat them up when you're hungry. 

#SpoonTip: Not sure about what to cook that will last you throughout the week? Keep things simple! For each meal, pick a protein source, a carbohydrate, and some of your favorite vegetables and pair them with your favorite fruits or snacks. 

4. Get Your Friends Involved

grass, exercise, Friends, squats, two girls, workout, outside, outdoors, working out
Julia Gilman

Working out, eating healthily, and de-stressing doesn't have to be a chore. Grab one of your friends and set a day in which you both are free to gym together, grocery shop, or share a meal to hold you more accountable. According to the scientific journal "Partner Influence in Diet and Exercise Behaviors: Testing Behavior Modeling, Social Control, and Normative Body Size," an individual who makes a healthy lifestyle change is more likely to largely impact those around them than one who chooses to live stagnantly. 

5. Do Things With A Purpose and For Yourself

water, Backpacking, Hiking, Greece, nature, outdoors, backpack, scenery
Shelby Cohron

While it is easy to get caught up in the pressures from social media and our general lives, it is important to remember to adopt these healthy habits for our own personal benefits and not for the wrong reasons. We each have one body that we'll live in for the rest of our lives, and we have the power to care for, nourish, and strengthen our physical and mental health. 

Whether or not you are feeling motivated to adopt a healthy lifestyle amidst the pressures in your life, I hope you are inspired to know that you are not alone in struggling with a busy lifestyle, and that health and fitness can indeed become a part of our daily lives with a few simple changes.