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7 Things You Should Stop Doing When Trying To Be Healthy

7 Things You Should Stop Doing When Trying To Be Healthy

“I want to start living healthy! I’m going to go out there and join the gym and start exercising 6 days a week. I’m going to eat more vegetables too!”

Sound familiar? I bet it does! But don’t worry, we’ve all been there.

Trying to be healthy is great, but we all know it’s not easy. It takes some serious planning and effort, and it doesn’t just happen overnight.

Three years ago, I started my journey in being healthier. Like most people, I ran miles. I stuck to a strict 1200-calorie diet. I was afraid of lifting weights. It wasn’t wrong and after a few tries, I did become a healthier version of me. But my initial tries took too much effort and definitely didn’t last long.

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If you’re trying to be healthy, stop doing these 5 things and you’ll be on your way to a healthier version of you.

1. Stop declaring meaningless goals.

Shouting and telling everyone you want to start adopting a healthier lifestyle may backfire on you if you’re simply saying it for the sake of saying it. You will try to make several changes at one go, but two weeks later you’ll fall back to your old habits. We don’t want that do we? For starters, stop telling everyone you’re on your way to change if you don’t mean it. Sit right down and think about what you want to achieve by making solid goals that are realistic and achievable. Add in a time factor to it, and you won’t stumble.

Just don’t simply say it for fun.

2. Stop believing that you have to do cardio all the time.

Yes, cardio burns the most amount of calories when you’re doing it, but as mentioned in a research study, once you step off the treadmill, your body doesn’t burn as much as it potentially can if you start lifting weights or do a High Intensity Interval workout. If your goals are to lose weight, I suggest you choose activities that you like doing. The more you like what you do, the more you’d stick to it.

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In fact, you don’t need cardio to lose weight. If your diet is 100% excellent and you’re keeping active doing things that you like as much as possible, you will still lose weight.

3. Stop thinking you can spot reduce fat.

How many times have you thought about toning your arms and only focus on doing tricep dips and bicep curls? Here’s the thing—we cannot spot reduce fat and a study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research can confirm that. Our body is genetically made to store and lose fat from a certain place in a certain timing. Some of us lose fat first from our tummy, some from our butt. Just like Waldo and his red striped shirt, we are all unique and definitely genetically different. It’s best to start doing exercises that use more than just one muscle, like squats.

4. Stop avoiding the dumbbells.

If you’ve been clocking in hundreds of elliptical miles and yet can’t seem to lose any more weight or tone up, you might be lacking strength time. The best way to torch fats is to start lifting weights, and lifting heavy.

20 reps of a certain exercise on a light dumbbell might not be enough—this builds muscular endurance, not the tone up look that most of us are after. Start increasing those weights until you can feel the burn at rep number 10 to 12. If you can do any more than 15, that’s too light. Increase it and start seeing results.

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If you’re scared you might look like Incredible Hulk when you start lifting heavy, don’t worry. I did too when I was starting out. This, I assure you will not happen. We ladies do not make enough testosterone in our bodies for this, which is the stuff that men have that make them look ripped and bulky. Lifting heavy will make you stronger and will definitely tone you up.

5. Stop avoiding the things that make you happy.

A 2011 study in the Journal of Applied Psychology: Health and Well-being has found clear and compelling evidence that happy people tend to live longer and experience better health than their unhappy peers. Feeling positive about yourself and eliminating unnecessary stressors can contribute to longevity and better health among healthy populations. Surround yourself with people who genuinely make you smile and stop putting too much demand upon you. Practice yoga and take up meditation. Being healthy is more than just physical.

6. Stop thinking that all calories are the same.

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    We all know nutrition is the most important factor in weight loss. But do you know that the types of food we eat make a difference too? A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association has proven this to be true. Just remember this—not all calories are created equal. An 80-calorie bar of fun-size Snickers is not the same as an 80-calorie green apple. The latter has much more nutrients, vitamins and minerals—the stuff we need more of for our body.

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    Instead of counting calories, start eating real foods: foods that nourish you, foods that makes you feel energetic—not the foods that makes you feel tired, hungrier and bloated. A junk food is still junk food no matter how “healthy” it claims to be.

    Cut the myths: The Top 10 Nutrition Myths Busted

    7. Stop giving up too easily.

    If you’re not expecting the results you’re hoping to see, don’t give up. If you’re hitting the gym with your best friend and she’s losing more weight even though both of you are doing the same exercises, don’t give up. As mentioned earlier, we are all genetically different. We all have different lives, challenges, dreams and goals. If you’re following a weight loss program from a certain weight loss book, don’t get your hopes too high in wishing you’ll get the exact same results. Ninety-nine percent of the time you won’t. There are just so many factors that determine how fast we lose weight.

    The best thing you should do is to keep an open mind, stay the course and do your best. Results will come. Even if you don’t get the same end result as what the book promises, you are definitely better and healthier than when you first started.

    The most important thing in being healthy is to believe in yourself. You’ve won half the battle if you know you can do it and see yourself becoming the person you want to be. When times gets tough, breathe, meditate, do some yoga and do not give up.

    You will get there. I did. And I know you can too. If you’re starting to build a new habit, be sure to read this: 18 Tricks to Make New Habits Stick.

    More by this author

    25 Positive Things You Should Know About Turning 25 8 Not-So-Obvious Signs You’ve Been Working Out Too Hard Want To Live A Happier Life? Here Are 11 Unmissable And Positive Habits. 7 Things You Should Stop Doing When Trying To Be Healthy 9 Unconventional (But Scientifically Proven) Tips For A Healthy And Happy Brain

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    Last Updated on September 16, 2019

    How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

    How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

    You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

    We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

    The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

    Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

    1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

    Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

    For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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    • (1) Research
    • (2) Deciding the topic
    • (3) Creating the outline
    • (4) Drafting the content
    • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
    • (6) Revision
    • (7) etc.

    Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

    2. Change Your Environment

    Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

    One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

    3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

    Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

    Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

    My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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    Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

    4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

    If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

    Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

    I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

    5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

    I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

    Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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    As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

    6. Get a Buddy

    Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

    I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

    7. Tell Others About Your Goals

    This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

    For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

    8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

    What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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    9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

    If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

    Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

    10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

    Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

    Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

    11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

    At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

    Reality check:

    I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

    More About Procrastination

    Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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