Turn Your Fitness Goals into Lifelong Habits

It’s easy to decide that you want to make your health a priority —but what’s not always easy is crossing that finish line. The truth is that becoming the healthiest version of yourself doesn’t have to be stressful or overwhelming. With a few mindful adjustments to your everyday routine, you can turn your healthy choices into habits that will last a lifetime!

Pace Yourself

Have you ever watched an 800 meter race in the Olympics and noticed that the runner who sprints out of the blocks, is usually not the one that wins the race? That is the concept you need to envision when setting your fitness goals. A lot of people hit the gym really hard those first few weeks of dedicating themselves to their new fitness routine, and then burn out shortly after. In order to avoid this happening to you, set realistic goals that you can feel good about accomplishing.

If you’ve never stepped foot in a gym, having a goal to workout 5 times a week is not realistic. Ease yourself into the habit by committing to 2 days a week, and give yourself room to grow from there. Doing this makes your goal more attainable and leaves more room for progression instead of defeat. When you add another workout day into your routine, you will feel proud of your accomplishment and get a confidence boost as well! 

Nix Bad Habits

Take into consideration that you may have to kick some bad habits in order to keep up with the pace you set and avoid falling in a rut or quitting altogether. For example, giving up smoking will increase your endurance and energy, and allow your lungs to work better, reducing shortness of breath so you can push yourself harder and longer. Take a look at seemingly minor habits that have a big impact on your overall health such as eating when you aren’t hungry, which leads to chronic overeating and weight gain that can contribute to heart disease and diabetes. Don’t let unhealthy behaviors sabotage your fitness journey.

Always Plan Ahead

When trying to incorporate a new routine into your life it’s always best to be ahead of the curve rather than behind it. If you plan on working out or going to the pool early, lay your gym clothes out and make sure you have the right gear ready the night before —or better yet, keep your gym bag packed and in your car. One thing about trying to form a habit is those excuses. They will sneak in at the darnedest times. When you plan ahead you literally leave no room for excuses. Instead, you focus on getting the job done.

Packing a healthy lunch and snacks ahead of time will also deter you from reaching for unhealthy options as your day goes along. Keep a refillable water bottle on hand as well. The more prepared you are for success, the easier it will be to attain it.

Put a Date on Your Goal

Matching your goal with a date not only makes it real, it aids in keeping you accountable. Setting a goal without a date doesn’t provide a sense of urgency. When you write down your goals in your planner and see that you want to drop 20 pounds by a finish date that is only 2 months away, it’s guaranteed to light a fire underneath you. Nothing ignites progression like a deadline.

If you’ve always wanted to run a 5k or a mini-marathon, sign yourself up for a training group as a way to be held accountable. Group exercises and training sessions are a great way to stay on track with your fitness goals because you will be a part of a team, and more than likely, you will not want to let your team down.

There are lots of fun ways to push yourself to the limit and accomplish your innermost desires —including your health-focused ones. Reaching a goal that you have set is one of life’s most rewarding experiences. As the cliche says, “You can do anything you set your mind to.” There are two ways to stay focused on your goals —preparation and action! Continue to put your best foot forward every day and you may just surprise yourself!

-Paige Johnson

Check out more by Paige at www.learnfit.org