There is good news about the upcoming holiday-pack-on-the-pounds-season. It’s still many weeks away. That means—at the moment—you can’t use the excuse of “it’s a bad time of year” to justify NOT working on your eating and exercise goals to get healthier.

Imagine this: if you start today, you have a nice head start on your 2018 resolutions.

Now, are you ready? If so, here are 11 strategies toward achieving a healthier body and mental outlook:

1. Reach your ideal weight. 

Learn what your BMI is to determine how much you need to lose or gain to improve your health. Anything lower than 18.5 is considered underweight and a BMI over 30 is considered obese.

2. Move into a groove.

What kind of exercise brings a smile to your face? That’s not a trick question. Most of us like doing some kind of activity. The goal is to be active most days of the week for at least 30 minutes. Pump your favorite music and dance while cleaning, watching TV, or lifting weights. Find what works and rock out.

3. Chew more.

Speed eating leads to thicker waistlines. Slow down. Focus on savoring your meals, snacks, and refreshments. Challenge yourself to appreciate every ingredient. Jazz up your table, counter, or island with flowers, candles, or colorful plates and enjoy the view.

4. Minimize stress.

Start with deep breathing, which can lower cortisol levels and blood pressure, studies show. Whether you write in a journal, listen to music, or do an art project, find a way to unwind and relax while enjoying yourself.

5. Maximize positivity.

Your mind is a powerful tool to help you change. Start there. Look for the bright side. Seek out supportive friends. Find ways to reduce stress and increase laughter. Start each day with gratitude and move from there.

6. Get outside.

Fresh air and a brisk walk can be a wonderful combination to lift your mood, increase energy, and burn calories. Consider a picnic while it’s still warm.

7. Ink in play dates (for you, not your child).

You know that pedicure or dinner with your best friend that you keep putting off? Stop doing that. Repeat this: You are allowed to have fun.

8. Keep learning.

Ever longed to play an instrument? Want to learn screenwriting? If not now, when? Keep your mind nimble by stretching your brain. If time is tight, consider online classes.

9. Add vitamin D.

Research shows many of us are vitamin D deficient, which exposes us to all sorts of illnesses and diseases such as an increased risk for coronary artery disease, Alzheimer’s, and early death.

10. Practice mindfulness.

Being in the moment means you are fully present and paying attention to what’s occurring. This type of focus takes practice. Google to learn some exercises to practice mindfulness.

11. Drink lots of water.

Sometimes thirst is mistaken for hunger. Start the day by adding a bit of lemon juice to your water, which aids your immunity and digestion. Carry a water bottle with you to ensure you are hydrated.

Adding these strategies to your daily regimen requires discipline. Aren’t you worth it?

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Robin Farmer

Robin Farmer covers health, business, and education as a freelance journalist. Visit her online at www.RobinFarmerWrites.com.

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