Whether you are focused on feeling great this summer season or sticking to your New Year’s resolution, we all want to know how to be fit & healthy.
In life, most of our successes come from establishing healthy daily habits. Currently, I am in the same shoes as many of you. Luckily, I have been able to obtain some of my goals by following some of the tips and strategies shared in this article.
Remember, please discuss any changes to your health plan with your healthcare provider.
1. Define your SMART goal.
To help you reach your goals in life, take the time to develop a SMART goal. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Developing SMART goals will help you focus on creating healthy habits.
For example, one SMART goal I have set for myself is to increase the number of steps I take every day. My goal is to get 10,000 steps daily and measure it on my Fitbit®. If you need some more help setting SMART goals, check out one example of how to create a SMART goal from WebMD.
The important thing to remember about setting SMART goals is that success looks different for everyone. Make your goals appropriate for yourself, and enlist the help of healthcare providers when determining healthy goals.
2. Don’t underestimate the power of habits.
Each of us have habits; some help us achieve our goals and other habits may prevent us from achieving our goals.
According to Charles Duhigg, we can change our daily routines to create new healthy habits by analyzing our habits. Watch the video below to see how to identify ways to switch your bad habits for healthy ones. Changing your habits will help you reach your SMART goal.
From assessing my life, I have identified three unhealthy habits that I need to change.
- To relax from a long day at work, I watch TV after dinner and have an ice cream sandwich.
- On weekends, I purchase a bottle of wine to drink with friends and family.
- I often stay up late watching TV and go to bed at midnight or later.
These habits are not bad when done occasionally. However, humans are creatures of habit. I made the following changes, along with playing basketball at the gym for 1-2 hours on weekdays.
- I now limit myself to 1 hour of TV (often comedy or sci-fi) and focus on reading books. Instead of eating ice cream I now eat fruit, smoothies, or other healthy snacks.
- I still have wine on weekends, but I keep myself accountable by going on a brisk 30-minute walk.
- I now go to bed between 11-12PM, but I’m up by 7 AM. For now, I haven’t been able to kick this habit…
3. “Eat that frog.”
Brian Tracy is a well-known personal development expert who wrote the book “Eat That Frog.” The main takeaway of his book is to do your most important task first.
Consider taking 5 minutes each evening to identify the most critical task you must complete to achieve your healthy goals the following day. This healthy lifestyle tip can be applied to both your personal and professional life!
For example, your “critical task” for the next day may be to work out. To help yourself achieve this goal, picture yourself working out first thing in the morning and drinking a smoothie before work; it certainly would be a confidence booster. Most of all, it would allow you to increase your willpower over time.
Take some time to think of one actionable task you can commit to doing each morning to jumpstart your day. Just remember, make sure it’s attainable and realistic.
4. “Everyday I’m Hustlin”
No matter how much you work out you can’t compensate for an unhealthy diet. All calories aren’t equal. I have read many articles that suggest you should count calories, but that’s not great advice for everyone.
According to Celia Spell at Harvard Medical School you should focus on eating whole foods and limit processed foods. Personally, I tend to shop mostly around the perimeter of the store. This is where you will find fresh produce and lean meats.
Harvard researchers advise eating more low-glycemic carbohydrate foods (like whole-grain pasta, whole wheat bread, vegetables, fruits, beans, and nuts). Eating low-glycemic carbohydrates along with healthy fats (like olive oil and avocados) and lean protein (like poultry, fish, and lean meat) helps balance blood sugars and keeps you fuller longer.
5. Increase your chances for success.
Now that you have identified your goals, here are some strategies to help you succeed.
Participate in exercise classes at your local gym or community center.
Some of the many benefits of group workout classes include having accountability from your peers and feeling a sense of increased motivation. Most gyms offer a variety of classes. So, with just one membership, you will have access to many types of classes.
Get a fitness buddy.
If joining a gym is not your thing, find a friend with similar fitness goals, and exercise together a few times a week.
Purchase a step tracker. The one I like is Fitbit.
If you just want to count how many steps you’re getting in a day, there are many pedometers and step trackers that you can buy. My favorite is the Fitbit because Fitbit continuously updates its app to provide you with a sense of community. Also, Fitbit helps you turn your step-tracking into a game which makes getting in shape a blast.
Use a food diary.
Research has shown that using a food tracker or maintaining a food diary makes you more mindful and disciplined about what you are consuming. The New York Times followed Mr. Lochner over four years as he used a food tracker to document his dietary intake. After four years, he went from 330 pounds to 150 pounds!
Create a workout playlist.
Listening to music while working out is a great way to stay focused and make the time working out fun! If you have a smartphone, consider creating a workout playlist on Spotify. If President Obama can create a workout playlist, so can you!
We hope this article has helped you define your goals and learn some helpful tips for getting fit & healthy.
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