There are plenty of reasons we can’t meet the lofty goals we set for ourselves. We may set goals that are unrealistic; we may be trying to do it all alone; we may have great intentions but no real plan. However, it is possible to stick with your goals and see real results. You can change your habits if you’re smart about it. We recommend the following 5 tips for keeping on track:
1. Intentionally Schedule Time for Transformation
Give yourself a set amount of time to meet a goal. Setting a finish line helps you establish a new habit within an attainable timeframe.
Why does this work so well? First of all, you know in the back of your mind that you can quit after so many weeks if it isn’t working for you. By that time, however, you often find that this short-term commitment is beginning to pay dividends.
The key to forming new habits is repetition. If you can repeat a habit in the month or so while you’re feeling especially motivated or while you’re taking part in a structured fitness program, you’re more likely to make that habit stick long-term.
2. Combine Something Hard with Something Easy
Some people do their best cardio when they’re listening to music or their favorite podcast. Others discover that if they can pair a favorite food with a healthy food, they’re more likely to keep their meals balanced.
The trick is finding something you already enjoy and pairing it with something you have to do. It makes the difficult or unpleasant a little more tolerable. You may even discover that you’re looking forward to the healthy habit you’re trying to establish.
3. Set Reasonable Goals that Make Sense for Your Lifestyle
If you haven’t exercised regularly in years, it may not make sense for you to run a marathon in 6 months. Yet, that’s the kind of unattainable goal that many of us set for ourselves. No wonder we fail!
It’s far more effective to set a goal that is reachable and has clearly defined action steps. For instance, deciding to walk before or after work 3 days a week is much more attainable than vaguely promising to get more active.
You also want to avoid the impulse to throw in the towel if you slip up. Did you miss a trip to the gym? Okay … forgive yourself and get back to it next time.
4. Find Your Support System
It’s hard to do it alone. Forcing yourself to go to the gym when no one’s around to remind you … sticking to your diet when your spouse keeps bringing home fast food … it’s just not sustainable! That’s why it’s so vital to find your own helpers. You'll have more success in your fitness and nutrition journey if you have an accountability partner. Whether it’s a trainer, a spouse, or a workout buddy, you need someone who can push you a little when you’re just not feeling it.
5. Structure Your Environment for Success
If you keep unhealthy treats in your cupboard, you will eat them. If you don’t do the work of shopping for meal-prep ingredients or rearranging your schedule to allow for regular workouts, you’re setting yourself up to fail. If you want to succeed, it’s not enough to wing it. It’s important to structure your home, your office, and your calendar around your fitness goals.
We recommend purging anything that’s unhealthy from your kitchen. Do you have an old treadmill or exercise bike that sits in a spare room or garage? Dig it out, dust it off, and find a place in your home where you’ll see it and be encouraged to use it. If you arrange your environment to limit unhealthy temptations and inspire better habits, you’ll have an easier time achieving those goals.
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If you’re worried that you’re not sticking to your goals so far this year, don’t beat yourself up. Instead, regroup. Remind yourself of your reason for making those fitness goals in the first place and re-arrange your schedule so you can recommit to your own health in a meaningful way.