Recommendations for health and fitness always seem to be changing. Studies conflict each other. One minute a food is a super food, and then you’re not supposed to eat it. New exercise routines that are all the go, and then they say it’s dangerous. This is all tiring and confusing.
Personally, I believe it’s not exactly about the diet or exercise you choose, it’s just that you commit to it and give it a solid go. There’s no “magic pill” for health and wellness.
The secret is find what works for you, then to stick with it.
Problem is, it’s bloody hard to stay committed…and it’s way too easy to fall off the health and fitness wagon. The big problem is it’s hard to stay on a healthy path for weeks, months, and years, but that’s what it takes to achieve real, long-lasting results.
Fortunately, there’s are a few tricks that will help you stick to a new diet and exercise plan. Here’s five tips for sticking with a healthy routine over the long haul.
1. Make an Appointment
One way to create accountability is to hire a personal trainer. Nothing will get you out of bed faster than knowing someone is waiting for you to show up. When I book a training session with a private coach…I’ll never miss it, because I couldn’t stand the thought of them standing alone in an empty gym. Not to mention the wasted money from skipping a session.
If you don’t want to pay for a personal trainer, enlist a friend as a running partner or a gym buddy. Knowing you’ll get a “where are you?” text if you don’t show works wonders.
2. Plan Ahead
Before I figured out how to make exercise a non-negotiable part of my life, the biggest obstacle preventing me from achieving my goals was a cold winters night…I’d easy stay at home.
In Winter, I’d work all day, come home, and flop down on the couch for “just a minute” and then I’d never get up. One day, I had the bright idea to pack a bag in the morning, run my gear to to work and then get a lift straight from work to the gym.
It worked. Instead of going home, I’d be straight to training. After training, I walked in the door of my house feeling victorious, instead of useless and unmotivated.
The whole thing was a silly mind-game with myself, because there was nothing actually preventing me from going straight home after work.
A similar strategy works with nutrition. Sitting around thinking, “I really should eat better,” is not going to work, especially if your house is filled with junk food and you have no idea what good nutrition involves.
Pick a nutrition plan and commit to it. Fill your house with delicious food and “meal prep” for when you know you’ll be short on time. If you’ve put the work into preparing it and spent the money on it already, you’ll be more likely to eat it.
3. Find Something Challenging to Enjoy
Unless you have paralysis of the brain and love being bored out of your mind, the treadmill will never be your path to fitness. It’s just ridiculously boring. There’s nothing to learn from it and there’s absolutely no skill involved.
The treadmill is fine if you live in a war zone and you can’t venture outside, but the secret to committing to an activity is to find something that you enjoy that also requires some level of skill. That’s why people are obsessed with a sport like Golf. Golf gets its hooks in peoples brains and pushes them to keep working for improvement.
We all need activities that stimulate our brains…for me, it’s Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, but yours could be ballet or mountain biking or yoga or rock climbing. If you haven’t found this thing in your life yet, keep looking. The search is fun, and when you find your “thing,” you’ll never be short on motivation again. It’s worth getting off the treadmill and finding your passion.
4. Go Public
A good way to wholeheartedly commit to something is to tell others about your new lease on life. Our Lifestyle Challenges have teams for that reason. A team will keep you motivated, on track, and accountable.
If you’re not currently on one of our Challenges, ask a few people you see regularly to check in on your progress. Knowing one of your mates is going to ask you on Friday if you managed to avoid eating out all week may be the motivation you need to prepare your meals ahead of time on Sunday.
Posting on Facebook or Instagram, while very public, lacks the personal accountability you need to make this work. If it’s a post out to everyone, nobody will take ownership. A better idea is to choose a friend and get them to hold you accountable with regularly scheduled check-ins.
Maybe offer to do the same for them, a good trade-off. Then you won’t feel like you’re putting them out.
5. Spend Some Money
We all know that money can’t buy health, but investing money in your wellness can help you stay committed.
By spending money, you’re more likely to follow through and stay in the game, more so than when you do something for free. Perhaps, a more expensive gym membership might be the thing that finally get’s you to training on more consistent basis.
It doesn’t need to be a huge investment…just not free. Putting money down and getting some skin in the game may help you stay engaged for the entire 6 weeks of a Challenge.
Taking the Reins of Your Health and Fitness Wagon
Good health isn’t achieved through only one lifestyle change. For example, it’s not enough to change your diet, you also need to exercise, connect with others, and manage stress.
Developing lifelong healthy habits require a mix of strategies. One of these 5 tips by itself may not make the difference, but employing all of them is awesome. If you can make an appointment, plan ahead, find a difficult activity you enjoy, make it public, and invest some money, you have a high chance of success.