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We like to start off the New Year with grand plans on ways to better our health. But when we fall short of those goals, all we have left is a feeling of inadequacy. The problem is we don’t account for life getting in the way.

This is why having a predetermined back-up plan is so important to keeping you on track. That way, when something unexpected happens, you still gain the health benefits you seek.

Here are some suggested back-up plans for those days when things don’t go as planned.

Goal: To exercise 30 minutes every day.

Reality: I had to work late which cut into my planned gym time.

Back-up Plan: Keep a pair of sneakers at your desk. That way, you can squeeze in walks when possible. Have a meeting across campus? Walk instead of taking the golf cart. Or infuse more activity throughout your day by taking the stairs or by taking a computer break and doing some quick chair squats at your desk. Hold a walking meeting instead of sitting in a conference room.

Goal: To eat healthier.

Reality: I didn’t make it to the grocery store, and my fridge is bare.

Back-up plan: Keep frozen veggies, beans and whole grain rice on hand as staples and put them on every weekly shopping list. That way when you don’t make it to the store, you have healthy staples ready to go. Try sautéing up a bag of gumbo mix frozen veggies, add some beans and whole-grain rice and you have a quick and healthy meal.

Goal: To meditate every morning.

Reality: I was tired and slept in.

Back-up plan: Download a meditation app on your phone and squeeze in five or 10 minutes over your lunch break.

Life happens to all of us. When you have a plan in place for times when things don’t go as planned, you can still take steps toward your healthy goal.

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