10 tips to help you reach your health and fitness goals


Monday, September 24, 2018

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STAYING accountable to your health and fitness journey — whether you've been doing it for years or are just getting started — isn't always easy. But we all have a mental vision at least of what we want to achieve, and staying motivated on the journey by setting goals, according to personal trainer and fitness instructor Gisel Harrow, could catapult your chances of transforming health and fitness goals into reality.

Below she makes a number of recommendations to consider as part of your health and fitness plan in order to propel your chances of success.

1. Create a vision board

The first step to making sure that your health and fitness goals are clear is to create a vision board. Create a mental vision of what you hope to achieve followed by how you intend to get to the end of this journey successfully. Go back to this board every day for a visual reminder of goals that you have committed to. This should help to keep you focused and motivated.

2. Set small, realistic goals

“Setting elaborate goals is the first mistake many people make. Instead, you want to start by setting and reaching smaller goals. This is much easier than reaching a big goal in one shot, in which you are likely to fall short,” Harrow advised. Achieving small goals she says not only feels good but fosters a sense of accomplishment.

3. Accountability

“You have to hold yourself accountable on your health and fitness journey otherwise you will continue to make excuses that will derail your goals,” Harrow said. If you are finding that holding yourself accountable is difficult, Harrow said you should consider finding someone or people with similar goals so you can hold each other accountable.

4. Rest and hydration

One of the most important ways to support fitness is ensuring you give your body adequate fuel in the form of rest and healthy food. Harrow said that this is particularly important because if you are fatigued, hungry or missing vital nutrients, physical activity will seem unappealing from the get-go and sustaining yourself during exercise challenging.

5. Choose and use effective rewards

Small accomplishments are great, but your ultimate goal should never leave your mind. Rewarding yourself with little tokens for your small accomplishments is a good idea. Deciding on rewarding something that you are really looking forward to — like a vacation or that expensive handbag — can really help you to stay on course.

6. Create healthier eating habits

To support your fitness journey, your eating habits should be considered heavily. “What you eat contributes to your weight and overall health — so you always want to go for a balanced diet,” Harrow instructed. Other than a balanced diet, she suggests drinking water instead of juices and making other lifestyle adjustments such as taking the stairs more often as well as resting and listening to your body since these are essential to helping your body repair.

7. Choose the workout which suits you best

It is important that you explore exercise regimens that work for you, that you enjoy, and that you are most comfortable with to ward off feeling demotivated. “When you choose a fitness regimen that you find boring or not enjoyable it means that it is not the best method for you. You want to ensure that you develop a routine that you can embrace long-term,” Harrow advised.

8. Track your health and fitness journey

At intervals during your journey, one way to know if your goals are standing up is to track your progress. Ask yourself questions about the progress that you have made. Were you able to surpass challenges? Did you quit at some point? And are there things that you need to reconsider in order to improve the chances of fulfilling your goals? This will reduce the possibility of your reaching the end of your targeted period without achieving your goals.

9. Be mindful that there may be setbacks

Sometimes even excellent plans have setbacks — work, family, school and even health can thwart a perfect plan. But that does not mean that you have to abandon your health and fitness journey. “Always have a contingency plan in place, give yourself the time you need to recover from your situation, and get back on the wagon. Don't dwell on what was, work on achieving what you had set out to do,” Harrow recommended.

10. Patience is a virtue

When focusing on health and fitness goals, you need to have an open mind and be logical in your expectations. Everything is a process and that includes changing your eating and lifestyle habits as well as your body. “There are important things to remember; there will be good days and bad, don't expect to see changes in your figure in two weeks because it takes time for your body to show changes but know that body is preparing itself, for example,” Harrow said. Overall, be kind to yourself, and don't overdo things because you could end up injuring yourself which will only end in further delay.

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