You’ve decided to adopt a healthy diet and exercise plan – great! You’re on the path to a happier and healthier version of yourself. However, as much as you might wish it, changing your diet and exercise habits is not as easy as flipping a switch.
When it comes to adopting healthy eating habits or increasing your fitness level, your worst enemy is undoubtedly yourself. While some might espouse platitudes like “mind over matter”, different stresses in your life can make it incredibly difficult to remain vigilant and ensure you stick to the path of self-improvement.
To give you a little bit of help, take a look at the following three tips to help you stick with your diet and exercise plan.
1. Buddy-up with someone
Without a doubt, one of the best ways to achieve a self-improvement goal is to buddy-up with someone else who wants to achieve similar goals to you. When you try to change your habits on your own, it can be easy to trick yourself into cheating with your diet and exercise. It’s easier to forgive yourself for giving up than it is to be held to account by another person.
When you team up with someone, you can both benefit from the scrutiny of the other. If you cheat on your meal plan or skip a day of exercise, you’ll be letting the other person down and not just yourself.
Buddying up is not just about using fear to keep you on track – it makes the experience more enjoyable as well. For example, instead of preparing food by yourself, you can explore great new meals to make with your buddy and experience the joy of cooking together. All of a sudden, meal-prep for your new meal plan goes from a solitary experience to something social.
Finding a buddy shouldn’t be difficult. Unless everyone you know is already super fit and eating healthy (doubtful), then there will be a few candidates for people you can buddy-up with.
2. Be realistic and structure your diet and exercise plan accordingly
Far too often, people give up on their diet and exercise plan because it’s a huge shock to their regular routine. While you might think that jumping straight into a plan that tortures you will give the fastest results, giving up because of it will mean no results at all. Being realistic is key to ensuring you stick with your exercise plan.
Instead of going hardcore overnight, structure your diet and exercise plan in such a way that you make progress without making yourself miserable. You can then slowly change your diet and ramp up the intensity of your workouts when you genuinely begin to feel like you could be doing more.
This will set you into a mindset where you are challenging yourself to go the extra mile, rather than a mindset of needing to torture yourself to get results. A slow burn is always better than crashing and falling back into old habits.
3. Track your progress
It’s easier to give up on something when you don’t have a clear view of the progress you’ve made. Starting a journal and tracking your progress each day will create a log of your achievements and make it that much harder to throw it all away.
You don’t even need a physical journal that you write in with a pen – there are plenty of fitness journaling and home workout apps out there with all kind of features that allow you to graph the progress you’ve made. This is why step counters are so popular, as they give people a numeric score for them to maintain and improve upon.
When you track your health and fitness goals, such as how many calories you consumed or how many reps you did with a particular exercise, it is so much more real to you. Rather than having a vague goal of looking a certain way, turn your goals into measurable milestones that you can clearly see your progress towards.