12 powerful tips that will help you achieve your health and fitness goals


Woman lifting weight

As sure as the calendar page turned when the clock struck midnight on New Year’s Eve, many of us began trying to make good on our New Year’s fitness resolutions by setting 2020 fitness goals. Although we may begin this year with good intentions, statistics (and perhaps our own personal experience) show it’s notoriously difficult to stick with New Year fitness plans. Whether it’s to lose weight, become more active, reach a personal goal, or some combination of those, setting fitness goals for the new year is easy — but accomplishing those goals is far more challenging.

There are a number of reasons why we have a hard time sticking to our New Year diet and exercise plan as the year progresses. Although many times it’s a simple lack of willpower that causes us to falter and revert to our habits before Valentine’s Day, it’s not always our fault that our fitness plans fall apart too soon. So you can stay motivated and focused on your fitness goals for 2020, here are a few tips you can follow to help ensure that your fitness goals for this year stay within your reach.

Achieving your health and fitness goals can be simple, fun, and easy when approached correctly. In this article, you’ll discover 12 powerful tips that will help you achieve your health and fitness goals.

#1: Determine Your Why


What is your reason for wanting to achieve these specific health and fitness goals you set for yourself?

Your “why” is the core reason that energizes you to keep pushing forward to hit your goals.

There are two key factors for determining your, 'why':

#1: Internal motivation - This is identified by asking yourself, “why do I want this?” and “what are the consequences of me not achieving these goals?”

#2: External motivation - This type of motivation is associated with being able to fit into those slimmer jeans or having a leaner physique.

Figuring out your, why and constantly reminding yourself of it will motivate you to pursue your goals when things get difficult.

#2: Simplicity is Key


With all of the diet trends and fitness crazes we are exposed to on a regular basis, it can be overwhelming and seemingly impossible to stick to just one diet and fitness regimen.

Just over the past decade, information on health and fitness has grown tremendously. Try not to fall into the hype and jump from one trend to the next!

It’s important to stick to just one diet plan and one workout regimen.

Constantly changing your diet or fitness program will only delay your efforts in achieving your health and fitness goals.

#3: Set Realistic and Specific Goals


When you’re setting health and fitness goals, make sure you are crystal clear with what it is that you want to achieve. You also don’t want to make it so audacious that it feels seemingly impossible to reach. This will only discourage you in the long run.

An example of a bad goal is “I want to lose a lot of weight”.

A better, more specific goal would be, “I want to lose 15 pounds by the end of April by sticking to my nutrition plan and exercising three times a week”.

Writing down your goals and looking at them regularly also helps you stay committed and motivated to stick to them. The more specific your goals are, the easier it becomes to take the proper actions toward achieving them.


#4: Pace Yourself


When focusing on your goals, be mindful of your approach. While the added pressure of “New Year's goals” can make you want to go all out as soon as 2020 hits, it can be a recipe for burnout.

Although enthusiasm is a great trait to have, it’s important to be thoughtful of how you plan to reach your goals. Overdoing it the first two weeks of the new year may leave you injured and discouraged.

Instead, try to start off slow, especially if you haven’t exercised regularly in the past. While our bodies need to be challenged, consistency is more important than anything else.

Exercising for just 15-20 minutes every day is much more effective than performing an intense workout once a week. This will help you gain momentum and get the ball rolling.

#5: Stick to a Workout and Nutrition Plan


Instead of walking into the gym and choosing to use whatever machine is currently available, following a proven workout plan can give you much better results.

If you are unsure of what exercise regimen to follow, AFPA encourages following a simple set of principles such as:
  • Move daily (at least 15 minutes)
  • Incorporate weight exercises at least twice a week
  • Perform cardio workouts at least once a week
  • Perform high-intensity interval training once a week
When it comes to your nutrition, try not to follow any extreme diet plans.

A great place to start is by cutting out processed carbohydrates and sugar. After a month without junk food and sugar, you can proceed to follow a diet plan that suits your interests.

#6: Don’t Skip Two Days in a Row


Reaching any goal comes down to adopting daily habits and taking each day one step at a time. As you first start exercising, each day will come with a bit of resistance towards reaching your goal. After all, no one feels like going to the gym after a long day at work!

But, when you take action on your goals every day, you slowly create more momentum until eventually exercise turns into a habit. Studies have shown it takes approximately 66 days for the average person to adopt a good habit.

Performing daily exercise - no matter how small - will instill the habit of exercising into your routine, making it a breeze to achieve your fitness goals!

#7: Track Your Food Intake and Workout Performance


As the saying goes, “what gets measured, gets managed”. When it comes to losing weight, good results come down to simple science.

If you’re eating fewer calories than your body needs to maintain its current weight, you’ll drop fat. This is also known as eating in a calorie deficit.

But the only way to truly know if you’re in a calorie deficit is by tracking your food intake. Luckily, there are several calorie-tracking apps that can simplify the entire process.


#8: Get a Health Coach


The fastest and most guaranteed way to reach your health and fitness goals is by hiring a coach.

If you’re setting out on a journey you’ve never been on before, we suggest working with a health coach or personal trainer to help you conquer any obstacles and guide you with a tried-and-tested course of action.

Coaches have a tremendous amount of knowledge and can help you get results faster than any other approach. Not only will they hold you accountable when times get tough, but they also have all the answers to questions that you’re bound to come across during your journey.

#9: Find a Supportive Community


With the rise in social media use, you can find a niche-specific community no matter how esoteric your goals may be.

When you have a group of people who share the same goals, desires, and problems as you, it gives you the extra discipline you need to stay committed when times get tough.

Having a supportive peer group will hold you accountable, keep you motivated, and help you blast through your health and fitness goals than if you were to go at it alone. It can be as simple as joining Facebook Groups of people with the same goals and interests as you.

Here’s how: If you’re into plant-based diets, type in “plant-based diets” into the search bar, click the group's tab and you’ll be presented with hundreds of communities who love plant-based diets.

#10: Get Deep, Quality Sleep


Between work, family time, and working on your goals, sleep can sometimes fall to the wayside. It’s crucial to sleep at least seven to eight hours of sleep to prevent your body and mind from burning out.

If your goal is to lose weight, sleep should be a top priority. Research has shown that people who get a full night’s sleep lose more fat and feel less hungry throughout the day.


#11: Use Rewards Intelligently


A great strategy for motivating yourself to chase your health and fitness goals is by using effective rewards. But be careful not to let these rewards get in the way. For example, try not to use junk food as a reward for going to a yoga session. Sure it may motivate you to exercise, but it may be hurting you in the long run.

Instead, have a cheat meal or food every once in a while only because you want it, not because you earned it. You can also use non-food related rewards as well. If you love to watch Netflix, restrict yourself from watching TV until after you’ve exercised for the day.

#12: Prioritize Your Goals


It’s extremely important to make yourself a priority. Once you’ve set the goal (and wrote it down), you shouldn’t let anything that isn’t an emergency get in the way.

Don’t use your family or friends as an excuse for eating unhealthy or skipping a gym session. Let your loved ones know about your goals so they understand that you need some time to yourself so you can exercise regularly.

Tip: Many high-achievers will chase their goals first thing in the morning. If you find yourself letting life get in the way of your goals, try to wake up an extra hour early and do your workout as soon as you wake up.

Success with your goals doesn’t have to be a stressful, seemingly impossible life decision. In fact, achieving your health and fitness goals can be simple and even fun when approached correctly.

If you’re a complete beginner to exercise and dieting, working with a health coach or a personal trainer can be a fantastic time and money investment. You’ll be surprised at how quickly you’ll reach your goals just by working with someone who’s done it before.

Taking one day at a time, staying consistent, and following a proper diet and workout plan will almost guarantee that you reach your goals in no time!
On any matter relating to your health or well-being, please check with an appropriate health professional.
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