Want to get leaner? Bulk up? Get Instagrammable abs? You’re hardly alone. However, most Americans aren’t doing what they need to do to get healthier, fitter, or achieve their fitness goals. If you’re one of them, you can stop being a dreamer and start being a doer by finding ways to better track and achieve your goals.
Just how many people are struggling to keep themselves in tiptop shape? According to federally collected statistics cited in a recent Time article, less than one-third of adults are putting enough effort into exercising. And the most recently available data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates around four in 10 individuals are clinically obese.
It can be tough to know where to start, though. Let’s say you’re working out and trying to eat a mostly “clean” diet. You may still find it hard to shift gears and change your behavior or lifestyle. Below are some effective techniques to finally get past your most frustrating health and wellness plateaus.
1. Leverage technology.
Never before has it been as possible as it is for us to obtain personalized fitness data. Thanks to the digital devices we all carry or wear, we can now make use of high-powered apps. There’s a variety of apps out there, but it’s important to choose the one most important to your needs.
For instance, you may be a regular gym-goer who balances lifting with cardio. Nevertheless, you may find that the apps you’ve been using don’t seem to give you the insights you need. As noted by MacroFactor app, you probably need an app that delivers a higher degree of personalization. Case in point: MacroFactor’s algorithm uses AI to “learn” each user’s energy expenditure. This helps the app make more reliable nutrition recommendations and can trigger a deeper knowledge of your body’s metabolic adaptation. With the information, you can begin to think more like a nutrition coach would.
Remember that in the wide world of apps, you can always try ones that are fitness-adjacent. These include sleep and meditation apps. The BetterSleep app relies on sleep science to help consumers transform their rest periods. Since getting the right amount of deep sleep can go hand-in-hand with fitness, having an individualized sleep app along with a nutrition one could be a nice mix. Plus, you won’t have to do much work because the technologies do all the calculations and reporting on your behalf.
2. Set specific, singular objectives.
You want to lose 15 pounds, run a 5K, and build up your biceps. The problem? Taken together, those objectives make you feel overwhelmed. As a result, you end up not reaching any of them because of “choice overload.” Choice overload is when you have so many options that your brain shuts down.
While it’s great to have multiple goals, consider working on one at a time. Using the three above, perhaps you want to work first on your running so you can safely and comfortably jog a 5K. Check online for running logs to help you see how to effectively “peak” your weekly mileage while you’re training. Runner’s World offers a seven-week running program aimed at first-timers. Within about two months of following it, you could cross your first goal off your list — and move on to something else.
By setting up your fitness goals sequentially, you’ll unlock the secret to actually moving the needle. Additionally, you’ll have the adrenaline rush of accomplishing something you set out to do. Nothing quite feels as good as being able to cross an important resolution off your annual list.
3. Identify realistic, reachable achievements.
It can be tempting to set your sights high, especially when it comes to fitness or nutrition. But when your achievements are overly ambitious or too constricting, you’re setting yourself up for failure. To change to a more successful mindset, be realistic about what you can achieve based on your personality and lifestyle.
Does this mean you can’t have big, broad intentions, like shedding 50 pounds in a year? Not at all. The key is to break up large expectations into smaller chunks. Losing four pounds a month will net you almost 50 pounds, but it sounds more doable. Little by little, you’ll move forward. And you won’t feel as emotionally crushed by the weight of the bigger goal.
A good way to know if your fitness goals are realistic is to be honest with yourself. Pretend your goal is to cut out all sweets. Is this something you genuinely believe you can commit to? Or would it be better to put guardrails in place to limit your intake of sugary snacks and desserts? Sometimes, we get so excited about making wellness plans that we forget to double-check their practicality. (For the record, some people can go “cold turkey” and make big changes. Only you know what you’re capable of doing.)
4. Name an accountability partner.
Even if you tend to work out alone, consider naming someone to be your fitness buddy. It could be anyone, including your best friend from college who lives five states away. Ask this person to check in with you regularly to make sure you’re staying the course on your nutrition and wellness objectives. Empower them to be both supportive and real with you.
This is one of those “best practices” that can have a dynamic impact on your goal-setting and goal-reaching. When you know that you’re going to be held accountable for your actions, you have a motive for doing your best. Be sure to pick someone who’s up to this challenge.
As a side note, you may find that putting yourself “out there” on social media can be a way of holding yourself accountable, too. The more followers who are invested in your nutrition or exercise journey, the more apt you’ll be to make better decisions.
Getting fit, well, and healthy is a never-ending quest. If you feel like you’ve been stuck, lean into technology, realistic goal-setting, and the buddy system to get moving toward your exercise North star again.
Featured image provided by Pixabay; Pexels; Thanks!