After the excesses of the holiday season, most North Americans are eager to return to a more balanced lifestyle and diet. Losing weight is one of the most common New Year’s resolutions, and many people who want a healthier, fitter body start January off with good intentions to eat better and hit the gym more regularly. 

But no matter how good the intention is, it is extremely difficult to make progress on these kinds of resolutions if you don’t have a clear strategy for how you are actually going to change your lifestyle. Habits around eating and exercise are some of the hardest to break, and doing so requires more than just willpower.

One of the first things people who are serious about changing their lifestyle need to confront is the fact that just about every aspect of modern urban life predisposes us to unhealthy habits. Junk food is plentiful, cheap, and readily available, work is stressful and often precarious, and most people feel that there aren’t enough hours in the day to do everything that needs to be done.

This is why it is important to have a plan. Losing weight is never easy, but adhering to these three principles can help you make the long-term changes to your habits that will set you up for success:

1. Cook Your Own Food 

Lifestyle experts have long noted that one of the best ways to improve your diet is simply to cook your own food. Meals that are made of whole foods and cooked at home tend to be much lower in salt and saturated fats, and are much more likely to incorporate a balance of healthy ingredients like vegetables, fruits, and lean meats.

2. Sign Up for a High Quality Grocery Delivery Plan

It is impossible to build a better diet if you aren’t eating better food. Signing up for a service that will make it easy for you to place an order to get fresh meat delivered will help make cooking at home easier, and will also reduce your reliance on carbohydrates to fill you up.

Services like truLOCAL have made a name for themselves by offering premium, locally sourced and sustainably raised meats at affordable prices, and are a great way to improve the quality of food you are eating.   

3. Walk and Cycle More

Making time to get to the gym is a perennial problem for the perpetually busy, and if you haven’t already built a regular workout into your routine, it can be extremely difficult to find the time and energy.

While intense gym workouts are the fastest way to lose weight, building physical exercise into your daily routine will have a powerful long-term impact on your health. Not everyone can commute to work by walking or cycling, but running errands and doing everyday tasks on your own steam is a great place to start if you want to become more active. If you are unhappy with some aspects of your lifestyle but don’t know how to break your bad habits, January is the perfect time to take stock of your situation and make changes that will have long-term purchase. If you start with small things like cooking your own food, using a meat delivery service to improve your diet, and building physical activity into your daily routine, it will be pave the way to making bigger changes down the road.