Everyone knows that getting in shape, reducing stress, or quitting unhealthy habits can help you feel better and live longer. So why don’t we just do it? If you’ve ever tried to make a change, you know it’s not that simple.
The experts at Fitbit identified common barriers that often stand in the way of good intentions—and healthy results. By understanding these barriers, you can put yourself in a better position to overcome them and create new healthy habits that stick around for good:
- Overlooking Context: A “one-size-fits-all” approach likely won’t work for everyone. For example, one study that compared weight loss strategies found that the personalized plan achieved more than 2x greater weight loss than a standardized plan.1 Come up with a plan that fits your lifestyle and your schedule, and don’t hesitate to update your plan if you feel like it is not working for you.
- Choice Overload: When trying to improve your health and wellbeing, there are a seemingly infinite number of strategies to choose from. It’s easy to get overwhelmed and choose nothing at all. Talk to your doctor or ask a friend who has a similar lifestyle to hone in on strategies that may be a good fit.
- Incremental Progress: Once you change a behavior, it can take weeks or months to see the impact. That may feed the urge to give up. But studies show slow and steady wins the race. Create realistic milestones that you can regularly track against and celebrate even small increments towards your goal. Remember life is a marathon, not a sprint!
- Relapse: Missing a workout or eating an unhealthy meal can erode your confidence. Studies show that relapse is an expected phase of behavior change, not a sign of failure. Don’t be hard on yourself if you miss a workout or eat an unhealthy meal. Recognize it and use it as fuel to go to the gym or eat healthy the next day. You may also want to consider giving yourself a “cheat day” that you can work hard all week to earn.
- Poor Goal Setting: Without a specific, measurable goal, it’s hard know whether you’re making progress. That could lead to discouragement. Whether you are tracking your workouts, your sleep, or your food intake - setting a measurable goal can help keep you honest and on track.
There’s no secret to good health. It’s all about making better choices every day to eat healthier, staying active, sleeping better, and reducing stress. By understanding the barriers that can get in the way of making healthy changes, you can recognize and overcome them instead of getting stuck in poor habits.
1 National Library of Medicine. Byrne et al. Weight Loss Strategies For Obese Adults: Personalized Weight Management Program vs. Standard Care