The secret to long term health and fitness success lies with the following of 4 rules. It is no secret that Australia has an obesity problem. In 2011/12, 62.8% of Australians were listed as overweight or obese, and with that data about to get refreshed, the numbers are only going to get higher. Whilst this creates a health problem for our society, it has also created a boom industry for companies who are promising ‘quick fixes’ and ‘miracle cures’, and they do this by selling the short term solution.
Whilst a short-term solution can provide a relative level of success, it is very important to understand that unless the long-term is addressed, it can be very hard to achieve ongoing success with your health and fitness.
Below are 4 rules, which if followed, will greatly benefit you on your path towards long-term health and fitness success.
Understand your ‘why’ and embrace the process
This is the key to long term and sustainable lifestyle change. It is all well and good to set a goal, or say that you want to do something, but unless you really are honest with yourself about WHY it is you want to achieve this particular goal, then it is hard to continually maintain motivation towards it.
With such a large proportion of the population being overweight or obese, there are a lot of people who want to ‘get fit and lose weight’. What I can tell you though, is even with similar goals, deep down, everyone will have a different ‘why’. Figuring out that ‘why’ is crucial for the ongoing change required to not only achieve the goal, but ensure that there are no steps back once it has been achieved.
How do we figure out our ‘why’? This is about being really honest with yourself. Deep down everyone knows why they want to achieve any particular goal, it is just about recognizing the true reason. Is it so that you can keep up with your kids? Are you getting married? Do you want to challenge yourself in a new way? Fitting back in to clothes? To gain more confidence and be happier?
Tapping into the inner motivation and recognizing it will ensure that when the urge to slip back in to old habits arrives, you will be able to push forward and not look back.
Unless you embrace the changes required in order to achieve a long-lasting result, you will continually run the risk of falling back in to old habits.
It is really important to also understand that other areas of your life do not have to be sacrificed in order to achieve your health and fitness goals. Too many people believe that in order to lose weight/get fit, they have to cut down their social life, stop going out for dinner, say no to everything and eat only perfectly prepared food until they achieve their goal. This is not good! Remember, it is about being consistently consistent. Go out, see your friends, enjoy your life, but do it in such a way that allows for the right nutritional decisions to be made, and with the understanding that you are consciously trying to achieve a new goal this year.
Embrace the change required in order to achieve your goal. Incorporate it in to your life, not around your life or instead of your life. If it becomes a part of your life, then you will achieve it every time.
Building in layers of accountability is crucial for success. Tell the important people in your life what you are planning on achieving this year, chances are there will be someone in your circle that wants to make health and fitness changes as well, but at the very least, let the people around you know so they can keep you accountable. The more people you have in your corner to help you through challenging situations, pick you up when you are struggling, get you out of bed on a cold morning, the better. Allowing people to support you also means that you have more than just yourself to rely on, and in turn let down. Accountability is a wonderful thing!
If you are unsure as to how to go about achieving your desired goal, ask for help. Ask someone for advice, talk to a Personal Trainer, go online, educate yourself. This is very important, because it will set you up with the knowledge and tools required in order to make the changes required. Investing in your health is the single best thing that you can do, and even 4 weeks with a Personal Trainer can make the world of difference. Personal Trainers have dedicated their lives’ to helping people achieve their health and fitness goals, and finding someone who is passionate and able to help you get there gives you an immediate head start.
Have a well-balanced training plan
Your training plan must always have a good balance that is in line with your individual goals, but more importantly it must always have a good balance with the rest of your life. If you overcommit in the beginning phase of your program (short-term) it is very easy to burn out and find out that the balance is out of alignment with your every day life. Conversely if you under commit to your program (I.e. not doing enough exercise), you will not be doing enough to get the results that you are after.
So how do we strike the right balance? It is all about finding the amount of time that you can realistically seeing yourself committing to on a PERMANENT basis. This is not always going to be the same number for everyone, and that is perfectly fine, what is important is that you find something that you can commit to, and commit to it.
Do not stress the small things
Always keep an eye on the long term, on the big picture and do not sweat the small things. It is not 1 bad meal or 1 missed workout that impacts your results, but how you respond to them. It is not 1 bad day or week that impacts your long-term results, but how you decide those events are going to define how you move forward. People get stuck on the rollercoaster of success because they go 150% towards their goals for a short period of time and then slip up. It is this slip up which makes them feel like they have let themselves down and failed in their goals. Instead of immediately rectifying the situation, they instead undo even more of their hard work by letting that 1 bad event turn in to multiple.
If you start your journey with a long-term view, understanding that slip ups are allowed, then you face a much higher chance of success than worrying about everything that can go wrong.
Understanding your ‘why’, surrounding yourself with support, having a well balanced training plan and not stressing the small things are 4 great ways to ensuring that you are on the path to long-term health and fitness success. Implement them and you will be the better for it!
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