Prioritizing health and fitness isn’t always easy, but if you’ve ever been able to make it a priority in your own life then you’ve probably been able to witness the benefits of it first-hand.
Like anything in life, it’s all about establishing habits that you then stick to. Once they become second nature, it becomes a lot easier for you to maintain them over a prolonged period and to build on them to make further improvements.
It sometimes seems as though it takes a certain type of person to be healthy and in good shape, but the truth is that we all have it within us. That’s because our personalities can change, so if we really want to prioritize health and fitness, we can take steps to do so.
And that’s what today’s article is all about! Let’s take a look at what we can learn from people who prioritize their health and fitness.
1) They don’t make excuses
First and foremost, people who prioritize health and fitness don’t make excuses. If they make the commitment to go to the gym every day, they go to the gym every day whether they feel like it or not. They refuse to let excuses get in their way.
This is the thing that I find the most difficult, and so if you’re anything like me, the same will apply to you.
The problem is that we start out with the best of intentions and then one day we wake up with a headache, or it’s our birthday, or there’s some other excuse that’s stopping us from putting in the hard work.
Prioritizing health and fitness is a year-round thing that we have to keep working at. I think of it as being like a game of Snakes and Ladders but without the ladders.
There are no shortcuts to take us forward, but if we make excuses and take a couple of days off, we slide down a snake and have a ton of work to do just to get back to where we were.
2) They like getting hot and sweaty
Some people love building up a sweat, while other people hate it. I fall into the latter camp, at least most of the time. I’m not a fan of getting hot under the collar when I’m walking around or just living my life, but I don’t mind getting sweaty when I’m working out.
If I was willing to get hot and sweaty when I was out and about, I’d probably spend more time walking and less time in Ubers. I’d also be in much better shape. But like I said at the start of this article, there’s plenty of room for change.
So if you want to prioritize your health and fitness, a good place to start is to prioritize getting hot and sweaty. If you’re happy to build up a sweat from time to time, you’ll soon find yourself getting into shape.
3) They set goals and meet them
Perhaps the biggest thing that I’ve noticed amongst people who prioritize their health and fitness is that they regularly set goals and then hold themselves accountable for meeting them. If you don’t have a goal, you don’t have anything to work towards.
Different people have different approaches to setting goals. One of the most popular ways to set goals is to use SMART goals – that is, goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and timely.
When it comes to fitness, a good example of a SMART goal would be to lose ten kilograms over six months by increasing your activity level and limiting your caloric intake to a maximum of 2,000 calories per day.
In fact, that’s the goal that I’m working on right now by adopting some of the personality traits that we’re talking about.
4) They hold themselves accountable
There’s no point having a goal if you don’t hold yourself accountable for achieving that goal. This is as true in the workplace as it is as at home, but I can’t think of anywhere that it’s more relevant than when it comes to our health and fitness.
That’s because unless you’re able to hold yourself accountable for what you want to achieve, you’re not going to be able to achieve it.
If you look at anyone who you consider to be successful, the chances are that they have goals and they hold themselves accountable for meeting them.
This is true for health and fitness, but it’s also true for everything else in life. Get good at holding yourself accountable for your health and fitness and you might just be surprised about how much of an impact it can have elsewhere.
5) They celebrate hitting milestones
When you set goals and hold yourself accountable for meeting them, you’re going to start to achieve those goals.
When that happens, don’t just nod and smile to yourself and move on. Celebrate that victory, even if that just means by treating yourself to a rewatch of your favorite movie.
If we don’t celebrate hitting milestones, then it can feel as though they never even happened, or that even if they did, it was an anti-climax.
I like to break my larger goals into smaller milestones. So, with that goal of losing ten kilograms, I’ve celebrated hitting 2.5 kg and 5 kg and plan to celebrate 7.5k ahead of a huge celebration when I reach the end.
I’ve found that it’s a good idea to decide in advance how you plan to celebrate hitting your milestones so that you can look forward to it.
Let’s say that you’re going to buy yourself a new coat that you’ve had your eye on for a while. Print out a picture of it and keep it on your desk to make sure that you keep your eye on the prize.
6) They drink lots of water
We all know that it’s a good idea to drink a lot of water and to stay hydrated. The problem is that not many of us actually do it.
The great thing about drinking water is that it’s difficult to consume too much of it. It’s not like fatty food that’s bad for you, and unless you go really overboard and try to consume every bottle of water in your city, you’re only going to see benefits.
To make sure that I drink plenty of water, I have a flask that I carry around wherever I go so that I can stay hydrated when I’m on the move.
When I’m sitting at my desk in my office, I always have a glass of water that I top up every hour or so. And when the weather is hot, I like to freeze bottles of water so that I can drink from them as they defrost throughout the day.
7) They never skip breakfast
They say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and there’s a lot of truth to that. It’s the meal that kickstarts your metabolism and gives you the energy and the nutrients you need to get out of bed.
One of the great things about never skipping breakfast is that if you’re anything like me, you won’t feel like eating anything heavy in the morning when you’ve just woken up.
That makes it super easy for you to eat a healthy breakfast that’s good for you instead of just snacking on cake and biscuits while you wait for lunch.
I also find that by eating a healthy breakfast, I’m often not too hungry when it comes to lunchtime. That makes it less likely that I’m going to pig out and I often just go for some fruit. The TL:DR is that if you have to skip a meal, skip lunch and not breakfast.
8) They fill their home with healthy foods
Speaking of healthy foods, I’ve found that by filling my house with healthy food, I make it much easier to make sure that I eat the stuff.
Think about it – if your cupboards are full of unhealthy snacks, you’re going to eat them all.
I did something similar when I wanted to cut down on my alcohol consumption. Simply by no longer buying alcohol and not keeping any in the house, I drastically reduced my intake. I then took that learning and applied it to the food I ate.
One thing that I will say is that you should also consider prep time, because that’s something that often catches me out.
It’s no good having healthy foods if it takes so long for me to make it that I don’t eat them. That’s why I swear by making sure that you have fresh fruit and granola in.
9) They prioritize their mental health
This point is the most important to me personally because I’ve experienced my fair share of mental health struggles and I know how much of an impact it can make on your life.
I’m speaking from experience when I say that if your mental health isn’t in the right place, you’re not going to be able to prioritize your health and fitness. In other words, a healthy mind is the first step towards having a healthy body.
The good news is that exercise can be a great way to give your mental health a boost, and so the two of them go hand-in-hand.
And honestly, if you’re thinking about prioritizing your health, if you only prioritize your mental health then that’s still a heck of a lot better than nothing.
No excuses. Get started today.