Many people wish they were more in control of their health. But it’s hard to know where to start if your aspirations for fitness are not linked to a plan of action. Achieving a fit and healthy lifestyle is truly about the journey and not the destination. As you’ll come to find out, fitness journeys encompass improving your physical and mental health and well-being. We will give you strategies on how to begin your journey as well as how to continue practicing healthy habits for years to come. Here are five tips for how to start your fitness journey:
- Set realistic and measurable goals
- Find your motivation
- Start where you are
- Prioritize health in every way
- Remain consistent and accountable
Set realistic and measurable goals
Having an ultimate fitness goal will determine the best strategies and course of action to take on your fitness journey. You might have heard of a goal-setting strategy known as setting SMART goals, which stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Goals that don’t have the traits of a SMART goal are more likely to be ineffective and lead to you ending your fitness journey prematurely. Make sure to have your goal written down and be the cornerstone of everything you do. It can be especially helpful to meet with a personal trainer early into your fitness journey to set goals and provide specific guidance.
Find your motivation
No one can embark on a fitness journey without having a clear motivation. Often it’s not enough to know the benefits of exercise to get us to go to the gym even when we don’t feel like it. There are several ways to maintain your fitness motivation such as making a vision board or keeping track of your progress. For example, if you want to find the motivation to lose weight, tracking when you go to the gym or meet your calorie goal can be a big help.
A large aspect of finding motivation is continuing to have a positive attitude. Acknowledge how being healthy makes you feel and look instead of focusing on discouraging setbacks. Remember: the number on the scale is not the end-all determining factor of success. Having a growth mindset over a fixed mindset is a psychologically proven way to achieve your goals. Growth mindsets entail redefining your preconceptions about success and not being swayed by defeat or failure.
Start where you are
Starting is often the hardest part of making a large lifestyle change. But when it comes to adopting any habit, it is best to start with small, manageable commitments. It’s unrealistic to expect results overnight, so there’s no need to rush success early into your fitness journey. It will be difficult for your body to adapt to strenuous exercise that you aren’t used to. Even if you think you have little time in your schedule for exercise, there are a few ways to start exercising where you are. A great way to incorporate exercise into your week is to walk for 30 minutes a few days per week.
Prioritize health in every way
Most people associate starting a fitness journey with regular exercise, and they would be right. But exercise can’t be the only way you begin to prioritize your health. Properly fueling yourself before and after your workouts shouldn’t be overlooked. Having a diet with plenty of protein, vegetables, healthy fats and sugars makes a big difference when it comes to feeling healthier. Drinking water is essential for boosting your energy and your physical performance while exercising.
Another important aspect of health is rest and recovery. Recovering after a workout is just as important to your fitness journey as a balanced diet. Setting defined recovery days to take a break from exercise gives your body a well-deserved break from higher-impact activities. And any commitment to a healthier lifestyle is not complete with committing to seven to nine hours of sleep each night.
Remain consistent and accountable
The last aspect of starting a fitness journey is to remain consistent with your healthy habits. Obviously, there will be curveballs and unexpected circumstances that might temporarily hold you back from your goals. But it is important to get back into your routine as soon as possible. Hold yourself accountable to meet the goals you set yourself from the beginning. There are always ways to alter your workouts to get more out of trips to the gym and enjoy exercise. Tracking your progress and working out with people you know are effective ways to keep consistency.
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