By Brianna Nagel
Not Scientifically Reviewed by Dr. Eeks
Tired of making the same New Year’s resolutions over and over again? If you want to finally get serious about your health and fitness and make progress towards your goals, the most important thing you’re going to need is a mindset shift.
The following seven tips won’t tell you the perfect diet to follow or the exercises that will give you a flat belly. Instead, they’ll help you change your attitude towards health and fitness to give you the best shot at actually achieving consistency and the results you want.
Lower the Bar
First of all, you’re not setting yourself up for success by setting unachievable goals for yourself, so you need to start by lowering the bar.
Start by implementing small habits, and not all at once. You can set yourself a goal of working out twice per week – this is a habit that should be achievable for most people. Once you manage to be consistent with it for a few weeks, you can level up to three days if you’d like or add in a new habit like eating a side of veggies or fruit at every meal.
Make it More Accessible
Your healthy lifestyle needs to be accessible to you. If getting to the gym doesn’t fit in with your busy schedule or the commute is too long, then it will be even harder to force yourself to go.
Instead, bring your workout to the comfort of your home, where it will be easier to find a spare 30 minutes. If you want to build some muscle at home, all you need is something like an adjustable kettlebell and some resistance bands, and a massive amount of workout programmes will open up to you.
Do the Exercise You Enjoy
Not everyone likes the gym, or even working out in general, but there’s more than likely some form of exercise that you might enjoy. Instead of forcing yourself to do an activity you hate (which will only work for so long), find something that actually brings you joy.
Whether you like dancing, kickboxing, a team sport, or simply taking walks in the park, find an activity that you won’t feel resistant to when it comes time to get your heart rate up.
For most people, the concept of healthy eating simply equates to “eat less”. This restrictive mindset is the reason you’ll do great on a diet for about a week, and then lose yourself in a box of chocolates and undo all your hard work.
Whether your goal is to lose weight, gain weight or simply be healthier, there’s nothing wrong with abundance. Focus on nutrient-dense foods that will give you energy, fuel your workouts and allow you to give your entire day everything you’ve got.
Eat Smarter, Not Less
When weight loss is the goal, and you need to be conscious of your portion sizes, it can feel a little disheartening to look at your tiny plate of food. However, this doesn’t have to be the case. You can lose weight and reach your goals while still feeling full and energised if you just eat smarter.
One great tip is to increase your protein intake. This will help you to feel fuller for longer and also boost muscle growth to help you look more toned. Another great idea is to eat lots of volume – big amounts of low-calorie options like vegetables.
Find Healthy Meals You Love
Forcing yourself to go for a run every day when you hate running will probably fail after about a week or two. Similarly, forcing yourself to eat healthy meals that you don’t enjoy will probably lead to more spontaneous takeout orders than you’d like.
Healthy food CAN be delicious, you just need to figure out what you like! Experiment with different healthy recipes (there are 1000s online) and add them to your repertoire to make and remake again and again. This makes healthy eating so much easier.
Seek Balance Rather Than Perfection
Finally, you can’t be giving 100% all the time, and balance is key here.
You need to remember the importance of rest too. More is not always better – pushing yourself in the gym seven days a week will only leave you with sore muscles and unable to perform at your best. Similarly, if you never allow yourself a bit of sugar or something “unhealthy” in your diet, you’re far more likely to give up entirely after one week and devour a family-sized bag of potato chips in 15 minutes.