If you’ve started a journey towards losing body fat, you already know it isn’t easy. There are several obstacles—diet, time, and obligations—that can sometimes stop your progress in its tracks. However, a well-made plan and strategy can help you avoid some of the pitfalls many face.
We’ve listed 10 helpful tips that can jumpstart your fitness journey to a new, healthier you.
- ① Set Effective Goals – While deciding you should workout more is commendable, it isn’t specific. An effective goal needs to be clear, realistic, and measurable. If you know you can commit to planning three thirty-minute blocks of time for exercise during the week, then that would be a better goal to measure. Setting these behavioral goals will put you on track for a healthier lifestyle, which will in turn can lead you toward your ultimate goal.
- ② Set Short-Term Goals – Setting small goals and achieving them will help you move step by step toward your long-term goal. Accomplishing smaller goals will boost your confidence, knowing that you are moving in the right direction.
- ③ Reward Success – Setting small, short-term goals is an easy way to track your progress. Consider rewarding yourself after small goals to strengthen your overall effort. Purchase new workout music, get a new workout item, or put some money away for a bigger purchase. Just try to avoid rewarding yourself with food items that may derail your progress.
- ④ Record Your Efforts – As you make efforts to change behaviors, make sure to record your process. If you have a good week and meet your goals, write down everything that contributed to that goal. This way you will have a record of what worked for you so that you can repeat it the next time.
- ⑤ Monitor Your Progress – It’s important to have a way to measure your progress. Whether you choose to use a scale, tape measure, body fat analyzer, or your favorite pair of tight jeans, having a physical way to monitor progress can help you determine what works and what doesn’t.
- ⑥ Avoid Social or Environmental Triggers – It’s likely that you will run into obstacles during your lifestyle. Social events, family functions, work parties, or holidays among other things could potentially cause setbacks in your health and fitness program. Planning and preparing for these triggers that may cause unhealthy behaviors is key to long term success.
- ⑦ Eat Slowly – It takes 15 minutes for the brain to receive a message that you are full. Slowing the rate of food consumption can help get those signals to your brain before you have a chance to overeat. Consuming more foods that are high in fiber, like vegetables, can also cause an expansive effect on your stomach. This often stimulates a sensation of fullness before you have a chance to overeat. Using smaller plates can also help you avoid piling on more food than you need.
- ⑧ Don’t Let Indulging Turn into Backsliding – Enjoying your favorite adult beverages, dessert, or fast food joint might be tempting as you progress along your health and fitness plan. The key to success can include indulging on occasion, but not letting multiple binges happen throughout your plan. One moment of indulgence will not derail your progress if you are sticking to your healthy behavior plan—most of the time.
- ⑨ Find an Accountability Partner – A good accountability partner can make a significant difference in your success. Look for someone who is willing to join you along your health and fitness journey who may have similar goals. Ask them to check in on your progress and remind you about your daily or weekly goals. Meeting for workouts, phone calls, emails, or text messages can all be ways your accountability partner can help keep you on track. Good choices for accountability partners are family, friends, coworkers, or personal trainers.
- ⑩ Remember your “Why” – Perhaps the single most important aspect to your success is going to be why you have decided to start the journey towards better health and fitness. Your “why” is different than your goal. Your why determines your goal. If you are getting married and want to lose a few extra pounds, your goal is to lose weight, but your “why” is because you are getting married. Maybe you have a poor family health history and are motivated to stay active, so your “why” is that you don’t succumb to the same health conditions. The power of your why will determine how successful you are in achieving your health and fitness goals.