When we imagine an ‘ideal’ version of ourselves, we begin by thinking big: ‘I want to lift this much’, ‘I want to lose this much weight’, ‘I want to run this far’. We set big, extravagant goals for ourselves without simplifying the process first.
The mistake many of us make when planning goals is that we set big goals for ourselves without the map we need to lead us there. Instead of focusing on that huge goal, it’s important to first set small, manageable goals for yourself.
Making small changes within your day to day life can help you in changing your lifestyle and setting yourself up for success. Small, effective changes will allow you to create the roadmap you need to find your way to your bigger goals.
These 10 small changes are the perfect starting point for anyone looking to make serious changes to their physique. Making one small change will transform your fitness mindset and put you on the path towards creating the best version of yourself.
#1 PURCHASE A WATER CONTAINER
Drinking more water is one of the easiest changes you can make to improve yourself both mentally and physically. Many of us don’t drink near the recommended amount of water we should be getting each day, which can have a negative impact on our performance in the gym and our internal functioning. Water assists with digestion, the transportation of glucose to muscles, and keeping your energy levels high during exercise. By having a water container close to you, whether it’s a full gallon jug or simply a shaker cup you can fill with water, you will always have a water source close to you. By drinking more water each day and staying hydrated you can increase your performance in the gym and help your body function at an optimum level.
#2 GET 30 MORE MINUTES OF SLEEP EVERY DAY
You need to sleep more. Groundbreaking stuff right? As easy as it sounds we all get sucked into those 3am Netflix marathons and find ourselves struggling to even pour ourselves a cup of coffee the next morning. Not getting enough sleep can have a profound effect on your daily performance in life and in the gym. A lack of sleep can cause increases in hunger and have a negative impact on your body’s ability to recover from an intense exercise session. So, make it a point to get 30 more minutes of sleep than you normally do every night. When you’re setting alarm to wake up the next morning, set an alarm to tell you it’s time to go to sleep. Putting your body in a resting state for 30 minutes more each night is a small change you can make towards increasing your energy and productivity day to day.
#3 FACE YOUR STRUGGLES
What’s the one thing you tend to struggle with the most? Getting to the gym? Keeping your nutrition in check? Maybe a more personal issue? Whatever struggles you had this past year that you want to work on in 2016 write one of them down. Keep this struggle you’ve written down in a place where you see it each morning you wake up and every night before you go to bed. By facing your struggle each day you will be more focused and determined to do everything you can to turn that struggle into an achievement.
#4 SET A SPECIFIC TIME TO WORK OUT
Many of us are creatures of habit and succeed within a structure, repetitive setting. If you’re an athlete practice is at the same time every day. If you work a standard 8-5 job work starts at the same time every day. This set, repetitive nature keeps you on track with your daily activity. So, why should your workout plan be any different? Working out at the same time every day is going to get you into a regular routine to keep you on schedule with your fitness plan. The more you consistently work out at a specific time each day, the more your daily exercises becomes just another part of your daily routine.
#5 STAY ALCOHOL-FREE FOR 30 DAYS
This one may not be for all of you. Some of you may not be able to give up that glass of wine with dinner each night which is fine. But, ditching any alcohol for 30 days straight can have a substantial impact on your fat loss. Not only does alcohol fill your body with empty calories and carbohydrates, it also increases your appetite and can lower testosterone levels. By cutting alcohol for 30 days you can jumpstart your fat loss just by cutting down the calories and carbohydrates that make up an alcoholic beverage.
#6 SKIP THE APPETIZER AND DESSERT
If you are someone who tends to eat out often there are plenty of macro-friendly, healthy food options you can choose when going out to eat. You may be ordering a healthy entrée, but are you also indulging on an appetizer and dessert? If so, it’s time to ditch both. By not ordering an appetizer or dessert you can save yourself from consuming an extra 1000+ calories within a single meal. By making this one small change when eating out you can significantly decrease your caloric intake, which can play a huge role in helping you to lose fat.
#7 TAKE WEEKLY PROGRESS PHOTOS
Sometimes the scale doesn’t tell the whole story and taking a picture of yourself is a great way to track your progress. Take the picture in the same place, either at the beginning or end of week, and keep this log of pictures somewhere. Don’t consistently analyze the pictures you have taken of yourself after each week, but rather look back at the series of pictures after 3-4 months. If you’ve stayed committed and consistent with your training you’ll be amazed at the changes you see in each picture over that time span.
#8 DITCH THE CONDIMENTS
Covering that healthy plate of chicken and vegetables with spoonful’s of ketchup? You think that Caesar salad is fitting into your daily macros because it has the word ‘salad’ in the title? Extra calories and fat from condiments can kill your diet, adding hundred to thousands of excess, unwanted calories. When eating out try to not use any extra condiments on your food as this can cut down your daily caloric intake. If you really need some extra flavor, order your salad dressing on the side so you can control the amount you put on your salad or use low calorie condiments such as mustard, sriracha, or a low calorie hot sauce.
#9 DO YOUR RESEARCH
Some of you may not have any experience with supplementation. Before you start purchasing random supplements it’s important to do your research. All supplements are created with different ingredients to serve a specific purpose. So, if your goal for the New Year is to gain weight and gain muscle, you may not be taking the same supplements as someone whose goal is to get toned and lose weight. This small action of taking time to read and learn about certain supplements before you start purchasing anything could be the difference in making 2016 your best fitness year to date.
#10 BUY A GYM BAG
If you don’t have a gym bag already, this simple addition to your fitness arsenal can help you stay organized. And, for many of us organization equals success. Not only will having a gym bag keep you organized, a gym bag will serve as a constant reminder for you to go exercise. Having a gym bag filled with your exercise equipment staring at you in your car or as you leave the house can help you push yourself mentally and give you that extra motivation you may need to get yourself to the gym.