To Maintain Your Fitness Goals, Go on the Offensive

Today's post is a special guest post by Paige Johnson from Paige is a self-described fitness “nerd.” She possesses a love for strength training. In addition to weight-lifting, she is a yoga enthusiast and avid cyclist. Whether you're looking to stay on track continuing your New Year's resolution or completely fell off the wagon and in need of a hand to climb back on, you're reading in the right place.

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To Maintain Your Fitness Goals, Go on the Offensive

One of the most common goals of people is to lose weight and get in better shape. Consequently, the number one thing people fail at is losing weight and getting healthy. Why is it so hard to keep this resolution?

First and foremost, sometimes making a general goal is hard to keep. Many people simply pick something broad on a whim and hope they’ll stick to it. Of course, many of these general goals are unrealistic and end up falling by the wayside when we get busy or overwhelmed. How then, does one set fitness goals and actually keep them? 

For one, you need to be serious about your goals. Next, you have to go on the offensive.

Many think about diet as a series of temptations - one after the other - that they must avoid. I walk past a bowl of cookies here and I turn down a piece of pie there. Of course, you must be able to make good choices and avoid pitfalls if you’re to succeed in an overall fitness plan, but instead of thinking about it as a series of willpower tests, it’s better to set yourself up for success so you have to test that willpower less and less. 

There’s actually some science to back this up. According to a study quoted in The New York Times

“[P]eople with the best self-control, paradoxically, are the ones who use their willpower less often. Instead of fending off one urge after another, these people set up their lives to minimize temptations. They play offense, not defense, using their willpower in advance so that they avoid crises, conserve their energy and outsource as much self-control as they can.”

“These strategies are particularly important if you’re trying to lose weight. The more you starve your body, the less glucose there will be in your bloodstream, and that means less willpower. Because of this vicious cycle, even people with great self-control in the rest of their lives can have a terrible time remaining slim.”

So, what does this mean in everyday life?

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The fewer cookies you have in the house, the fewer cookies you’re likely to eat. It’s simple, but of course, it’s not easy. It takes willpower to set a healthy grocery list and stick to it. 

Meal plan and cook for yourself

The only way to really control what goes into your body is to make it yourself. If you take the time to make a healthy lunch for yourself, you’re less likely to fall into temptations at work or in other activities during the day. 

Maximize your daily routine

There will be days when you aren’t able to workout, but not to worry, because there are plenty of ways we get exercise throughout the day. Just look for ways to make the most of those opportunities. For example, take the stairs rather than escalators or elevators. Take your dog for walks more frequently, and while you’re at it, make a few extra bucks by offering your dog walking services to your neighbors as well. Wear ankle weights around the house so you can do a little strength training while taking care of your daily household chores. By maximizing these small moments, you’ll burn some extra calories and get even closer to your fitness goals. 

Let people keep you honest

It may seem counterintuitive, but sometimes it helps to let friends, family, and coworkers know about your weight loss goals. Not so they’ll demand a weigh in at the end of the week or anything, but the simple fact of knowing someone is struggling with a tough life change can affect your behavior toward them. If you knew someone was trying to watch their weight, you might hesitate before offering them a piece of cake, right? A personal trainer or coach can help guide you in healthier choices and encourage you along the way.

All of these are examples of ways to play offense - utilizing one’s willpower before the moment of temptation in order to maximize its efficacy. Like with most life goals, setting oneself up for success is one of the most important first steps. With fitness and weight loss, it’s paramount. 


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Author: Paige Johnson