Whether it’s a New Year’s resolution, because your cloths are a bit tighter than you’d like or simply because you want to feel better and be healthier, we’ve all declared that we’re going to get in shape at one point or another.
Then comes the hard part of actually following through. Starting your healthy lifestyle journey isn’t always easy, but these seven steps can help you establish a sustainable routine to achieve you fitness goals.
Be Honest With Yourself
Some people are committed to getting up early and working out in the morning, others prefer to work out after work. One isn’t better than the other, it’s all about what works best for you. You know yourself best, so be honest with yourself when making your workout plans. If you’re not naturally a morning person, you’re not really going to get up early to work out, especially if you’re not particularly fond of working out.
The same goes for revamping your eating habits. If you have a major sweet tooth you’ll be miserable if you try to cut out sweets entirely. You’re also not likely to succeed with a strict “no sweets” rule.
You’re trying to establish new, healthy habits, and establishing habits isn’t exactly easy. Don’t make it harder on yourself by setting workout routine or healthy eating goals that don’t align with your personality.
Set Realistic Goals
When you’re new to working out and getting in shape, setting large goals can be daunting. Instead, start with smaller, more attainable goals like committing to 30 minutes of physical activity a day or working out three times a week.
If you’re not sure where to start, hire a personal trainer and discuss your goals; he or she will be able to help you create a plan to achieve those goals. When addressing your eating habits, talk to your doctor or a nutritionist to make sure the changes you make are healthy and in line with your desired results.
Treat Your Workout like a Meeting
You wouldn’t skip a work meeting or a doctor’s appointment, so treat your workout with the same commitment. When working out isn’t your favorite activity, it’s very easy to find excuses to skip it. Your friends want to meet up, you didn’t sleep well and could really use that extra 30 minutes – there are a million reasons to not work out.
Set your workout schedule and stick to it. If something comes up that interrupts one of your pre-planned workouts don’t just skip it, reschedule it.
Find a Workout You Love
It’s simple, you’re not going to be motivated to do something that you don’t like, but if there’s an exercise, workout or class you genuinely enjoy, you’ll be excited to do it.
If you hate running, find something else – don’t let that be the reason you stop trying to get in shape. Talk to your trainer about trying different machines, methods and exercises and look into taking a class. There are so many different types of workout classes now, from yoga and Pilates to spin and dance. Try out different ones and see if there’s something you really like.
You can also start playing a sport. If you loved soccer or basketball when you were younger, look into recreational teams or regular pickup games you can join. If there’s a sport you’ve always wanted to try, get out there and give it a go!
When you truly enjoy what you’re doing it won’t feel like work anymore.
Find Your Motivation
Everyone has different motivators and one the keys to sticking to your commitment to get in shape is to find yours.
If you work better when someone else holds you accountable, find a workout buddy to keep each other motivated and on track. If you need words of encouragement and accountability without a workout buddy, turn to your social media profiles and post about your progress. If your goal is to start playing a sport, run a marathon or get stronger, keep that goal in mind when you need a motivation boost. Reminding yourself that you’re working towards something that’s meaningful and important to you will help push you through the rough patches.
Don’t Ignore Your Eating Habits
If you have unhealthy eating habits, getting in shape will be exponentially harder – no matter how much you work out. While fad diets and quick-fix cleanses are tempting, they don’t lay the ground work for a sustainably healthy lifestyle.
Instead, commit to eating better and limiting your vices. Start with simple changes. If you’re an avid soda drinker, cut it out entirely or limit yourself to one can a day. If you find yourself at the fast food drive thru more often than not, go only once a week or commit to cooking at home at least five nights a week. Push yourself so that you make substantial changes, but don’t go so extreme that you won’t consistently follow through.
When it comes to working out and getting in shape, something is always better than nothing. When you feel like you’re going to slip, push yourself to do just a little bit. Do a quick 10-20 minute workout or order the healthiest option from the drive thru (and skip the fries). We’re not perfect but pushing just a little bit when you don’t want to will help keep you on track and make you feel good that you stuck to your commitment. (Just don’t make the bare minimum a habit!)
Remind yourself that you’re doing all of this for a reason, and it’s a good one.