Every year gyms start having deals in December and fitness-bloggers begin their #newyearnewme trends for hopeful people in search of changing their lives in the span of a 30-day-Buzzfeed-butt-challenge! This mindset almost every new year sets everyone up for failure. So much so that now it is normalized to overindulge during the holidays, punish yourself for a month, and then get #backonyourbullshit in February. Well, we're not going to let that happen.

It's great to have goals, and it's wonderful to pursue positive change, but using loaded words like "diet," and "cheat day," or setting up lots of restrictions for your body and lifestyle can lead to unattainable expectations and, in worst cases, an unhealthy relationship with your body. So how do you set up and achieve healthy goals? How can you tell the difference between healthy eating habits and exercise and exercise and obsession? 

It's time to start basing our goals for the new year on how we are feeling and how we want to change, instead of just our appearance. If you are feeling trapped in your body, try talking to someone about it before taking it out on yourself in the gym. If you find you eat a lot at night before going to bed and it's often when you're bored or stressed about what's happened in the day, try finding an activity that calms you down, or journaling instead of eating. Most importantly, if you are trying to change your body because it is not "up to standard" with society — don't. Find what you love about your body now and focus on all the amazing things it can do, not the things that it can't. It's time to stop comparing. 

Here's some goals to focus on that have nothing to do with how you look, and more to do with how you feel about yourself...

1. Stay Consistent. 

Sabrina Yu

If you make a goal to move more, consciously try to add movement to your routine. If you need to drink more water, set an alarm for each day to drink water. With any new goal or new part of your life, unless you do it repeatedly for two weeks, I don't think it'll stick. If you want to make change, you have to remind yourself to continue to actively make new choices. Find a rhythm for yourself, whether it's scheduling times each week you'll have to go to the gym, meditating, or setting aside time to journal each day right before you go to bed. Make sure that the positive change you found in January is realistic and attainable, but also something you want to do. That is what helps you stay motivated and consistent in life. 

2. Talk to your loved ones.

wine, alcohol, date
Meghan Tocci

Whoever you have in your life that fuels your soul, a partner, a parent, a friend, make sure they know they are loved by you or how much you appreciate their presence in your life. Try to keep in touch with those that may have gone by the wayside. Staying in positive contact with people you admire, look up to, or people you don't often get to see will keep you energized, confident, and feeling warm and fuzzy until the weather finally warms up!

3. Eat Well. 

avocado, cheese
Maggie Finney

Whatever this means to you, you need to eat, and you need to eat well. Eat when you're hungry, and make sure that when you choose to eat, that some part of you is being fed: your appetite, your pleasure center, or your heart (bonus points for all three at once). Sometimes you need comfort food, but keep track of if that's all the time. Try to eat mindfully by separating meal time from TV time. And, If you live with someone and you own a table, try to eat with them at the table.

4. Stay Organized.

tea, coffee, beer
Katie Jannotta

No matter how much you may say you don't have a routine, you do. There are habits you have everyday that you can't stop. Try to keep track of what you do and what makes you happy. If you usually get up 5 minutes before class, try getting up 30 minutes before and spending some time with yourself before starting your day. Keep a journal or make a to-do list the night before on your phone of things you want to accomplish the next day and, back to #1, stay consistent with your goals. This will motivate you to keep going and make positive change because you'll be doing it!

5. S.L.E.E.P.

tea, coffee, beer
Josie Persson

I cannot tell you how important this one is. If you don't remember anything else I've said so far, remember this. Sleep is the most vital part of health. Without your needed amount of sleep, none of the other things I've said can be done. According to the American Sleep Association, 50 to 70 million US adults have a sleep disorder and a large percentage of college age students report short sleep duration. Sure, you can say "Coffee is my savior," but we all know the feeling when we've reached our limit and start eating a lot at night, or experiencing higher levels of stress, or you're just falling asleep in class.

Try for a week to log when you go to bed and when you get up as well as your quality of sleep. How many hours do you need to function? How many hours would you like to have? How do you cope when you don't get enough sleep? Try setting a timer 20 minutes before you'd like to sleep and turn off all electronics or put them outside your room. Having an electronic bedtime was literally how I got through high school. Sure, I couldn't stand it then, but I'm so glad I learned that principle now as an adult. 

"Healthy" is a pretty loaded term. As someone who has battled with what I understand to be "healthy" in my life, I've come to understand that it has a slightly different definition for everyone. What I've come to learn is being healthy does not mean eating just salad and working out everyday. Health works side by side with wellness. It is not this unattainable goop-esque goal cried over by women who can't afford special elixirs or pills. It is not checking the scale everyday to watch your progress towards a "beach body." Heath is not measured by how you are viewed, but by how you feel.