It can be hard to stay motivated when on a health and fitness journey. So, I thought it would be helpful to give my 8 best tips to reach your fitness goals. These are the ones I’ve found work for me, so I hope they’re helpful for you too.
1. Don’t wait for motivation to kick in!
I used to think you had to feel motivated before you could take action. However, I read a blog post a few years’ ago which said you have to take action first and the motivation will follow.
At the time I read this I didn’t really understand it. Now, years later, I realise it was right.
I certainly don’t spring out of bed every morning, excited to exercise. Some mornings I drag myself out of bed, bleary-eyed, wishing I could just sleep longer!
But, by the time I finish exercising I’m fired up and glad I got it done, which motivates me for the next day!
2. Get clear on your health and fitness goal
Do you want to lose fat, build muscle, or maintain weight? Do you want to increase your cardiovascular health? Do you want to get stronger?
If you get clear on your health and fitness goal this will help guide you to the steps you need to take to work towards the goal.
An important part of this is to plan small steps towards your goals. This is often much more effective at helping you reach your goal. Often, people want to dive straight in, but can become overwhelmed really quickly.
If you break your main goal down into small steps this will be more manageable and you’ll increase the likelihood that you’ll achieve your goal.
3. Find an exercise you like doing
Some people might start an exercise regime because it’s the latest fad, or because other people tell them they should do it. However, you’re more likely to stick to a routine if it’s something you like and enjoy.
Your taste in exercise may also change over time, and that’s okay too.
As well as considering the health benefits of exercise, it’s important to exercise for the enjoyment of it, otherwise it can become a chore.
4. Exercise at a time that suits you
Lots of people have their opinions about the best time to exercise. Some say early morning before breakfast is best. Others say later in the day.
In fact, the best time to exercise is the one that works for you!
I’ve exercised early in the morning for years because it works for me. I know that I don’t have the motivation to exercise when I get home from work.
Again, it comes down to sustainability. You’re more likely to sustain your exercise regime if you’re doing at times which work for you.
5. Remember that fitness is more than about how you look
A lot of people assume that people who have low body fat, who look toned and ‘shredded’, are healthy. However, looks can be deceiving and this isn’t always the case.
The people online and in magazines often have to work really hard to look a certain way. This might involve restricting calories and a lot of food groups. Some might even take illegal substances.
The way these people look often isn’t sustainable in the long term because the body wants to maintain a certain set point in terms of weight and fat.
Health and fitness is more about looking after your body in a way which helps you function better, both physically and psychologically.
6. Meal prep and batch cook meals
I find that meal-prepping at the weekend can take the stress out of trying to find things to eat during the week.
To save time, I try as much as possible to prep the lunches at the weekend that I’ll take to work during the week. The last thing I want to be doing every morning is trying to decide what food to take when I’m trying to get ready.
If you make time to meal prep it can also help you reach your health and fitness goals by incorporating more whole foods into your diet.
7. Don’t restrict the foods you eat
There are some diets, like Keto and Intermittent Fasting (IF), that people find work for them. However, I prefer not to restrict what I eat, because if I restrict this only leads me to crave the foods I’m not allowing myself!
I personally find that following the 80/20 rule works well. So, have 80% of your daily intake made up of whole foods and 20% from processed foods like chocolate, cookies, and crisps.
Just remember, no food is ‘good’ or ‘bad’. Looking after your health and wellbeing is not only about eating foods that nourish your body, but ones which nourish you psychologically. If you want a slice of cake because it’ll feel good to eat it, then eat it!
8. Don’t compare yourself to others
Social media is a double-edged sword when it comes to how to reach your fitness goals. Some people find it motivates them to keep going, whilst others might feel they’re not doing enough.
Remember, a lot of the images you see online have been digitally altered. Some people aren’t necessarily honest about how they keep fit either. Some promote products which promise quick results, but are useless or even dangerous.
The best thing I learnt was to focus on myself and not on what other people are doing.
I hope this post has given you some useful tips to reach your health and fitness goals. Do you have any tips not listed here?
Let me know in the comments!
Welcome! I’m a Psychologist and fitness enthusiast. My passion is supporting people with their health and wellbeing, and inspiring them to pursue the things they love doing. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or want to collaborate!