17 Steps to Becoming Healthy and Fit
Do you want to become healthy and fit? Look great and feel great? Live a long and happy life?
Of course you do!
This article is for not only getting you healthy and fit, but for helping you stay healthy and fit for a lifetime!
Sure, it’s great to make significant progress in the short term. We love reaching our goals fast. However, if we don’t also focus on strategies for our long term health and wellness, we’ll forever ride the roller coaster of fad diets and shake weights.
I’m not a fan of roller coasters, but even if you are, I doubt you’ll want to ride this kind. Let’s do something better.
Use the following steps as a guide for becoming healthy and fit. Think of them as your personal Sacagawea, leading you on your healthy and fit expedition.
1. Start With Why
I stole this headline from Simon Sinek, but no less, this is where your journey begins. Reflecting on your reasons for wanting to become healthy and fit allows you to actually start making it a reality. Why?
- Superficial motives will only get you so far. They won’t carry you through the toughest, most inconvenient times. At first, these are all we think of – looking good on the beach, attracting that cute girl or guy – but then we realize we’re actually driven by deeper motives.
- When you think of your deeper motives – Becoming more confident, living longer, enjoying life to the fullest, being able to play with your kids – you realize that being healthy and fit isn’t just about looking good in a swimsuit (Though that’s awesome of course). It’s about being able to do what you want in life and enjoying time spent with others, without your fitness holding you back.
Everyone’s why is different. We’re all unique and have different motives, but starting with why is important, regardless of where you are at in your health and wellness journey.
Take 30-45 minutes to write down your reasons for becoming healthy and fit. Go deep. Drill down to the core of why you want to make these changes. Then, picture what your life could look like when you do.
2. Commit to Becoming Healthy and Fit
It’s one thing to say you want to become healthy and fit, it’s another to actually commit to it and take the steps needed to make it happen.
How can you make a commitment that will stand the test of time? Here are some ideas:
- Use websites like stickk.com, Coach.me, or Dietbet.com to put some skin in the game and be accountable. These can help you get a jump start in the short to medium term and set you up for success in the long term.
- Write down your commitment in a journal or on in an app like Evernote that you’ll look at daily.
- Tell your family and friends about your new life choice and ask that they support you.
- Start blogging about your journey, not for other people, but for you, so you can have an outlet to vent about the good and the bad.
- Set behavior and outcome goals
- Invest in a coach
A quote by Stephen R. Covey, “The key to growth is to learn to make promises and to keep them” is so fitting for this step.
Don’t be like Dan Gilbert, promising the Cleveland Cavaliers would win an NBA Championship before LeBron (It didn’t happen), commit to change and see it through.
- Choose at least one way to make your commitment to becoming healthy and fit.
- Set your behavior goals (Such as working out 3 times per week or including veggies with every meal)
- Set your outcome goals (Just make sure they’re realistic)
3. Find Your Limiting Factors
We all have things that prevent us from becoming who we want to be or doing what we want to do – Beliefs we hold, bad habits we can’t break, the wrong information, bad friends:
These are our limiting factors.
When it comes to our health and wellness our limiting factors often include the following two things:
- Poor prioritization. You know, things like not grocery shopping or planning meals, choosing to watch a TV show rather than get your workout in, things like that.
- Not knowing how to do things. Ineffective exercise, not knowing how to cook healthy meals, not preparing snacks for a business trip, and so on.
How do you find the limiting factors that are holding you back? Easy, spend some time writing down all your bad habits or things you need to change to become healthier and more fit.
Take 15-20 minutes to write down all your limiting factors.
4. Create Your Personal Success Plan
Your personal plan for becoming healthy and fit is like Google Maps, it’ll show you where you are and give you directions for where you want to go. Whether you choose to walk, bike, or drive there is up to you – It’s your choice how fast your want to travel.
To create your plan you’ll look at the limiting factors you listed in step 3 and choose one that will have an 80/20 effect on your health. This means you’ll choose a limiting factor that if you fixed, would give you disproportionate positive results. Stuck? Don’t worry, just choose one to get started with.
Furthermore, your personal success plan should include a schedule. This schedule would have some of the following:
- When you’ll go grocery shopping
- When you’ll prepare meals
- What days you’ll workout
- When you’re going to de-stress (I’ll talk about this a bit later)
Lastly, your personal success plan should include details on how you’re going to track your progress. While using the scale is one way to track progress, you should consider using a method that tracks body fat percentage (Bodpod, bioelectrical impedence, DEXA scan, skinfold calipers), utilize strength tests like a 1 or 3 rep max, or even create your own measures of progress.
For you, this may mean noticing how you feel walking up a flight of stairs or being able to go on a longer walk or run and not feel tired – the choice is yours, but remember, as Peter Drucker once said, “What gets measured, gets managed.” So keep track!
Create your personal success plan. My suggestion, do this after reading the rest of the steps. Having a coach to help you doesn’t hurt either!
5. Develop Better Habits
Habits are the core of a healthy lifestyle. They allow you to live on autopilot and still be healthy and fit. We all have this grand vision of what we want our lives to look like, but we get there through the small things, through tiny, repeated improvements.
I didn’t know him personally, but some guy named Aristotle once said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” I’m told he was pretty smart, so I’d heed his words of wisdom.
How do you develop better habits?
- Choose one habit
- Make it easy to have success with it for a week or two (For example, eating two servings of veggies each day or lifting weights twice per week)
- Track it daily
- When you feel like you have a grasp on it, advance the habit more or choose another to work on
Choose one habit to start working on this week.
6. Upgrade Your Nutrition
More likely than not, one of your limiting factors is going to have something to do with your nutrition. Just like I mentioned in step 5, you can upgrade your nutrition by developing better nutrition habits.
Here are some nutrition habits to work on to help you get lean and become healthier:
- Eating slow
- Stop eating when no longer hungy, not when you’re full
- Controlling calorie intake
- Including veggies with each meal
- Including protein source with each meal (Chicken, turkey, eggs, greek yogurt, etc.)
- Cook food in bulk so you have leftovers
- Prepare your meals in advance
Write down your nutritional weaknesses and how you could improve upon them.
7. Upgrade Your Workouts
Everyone’s training regimen should include some type of strength component (To build muscle and prevent bone mineral density loss) and some type of cardiovascular component for heart health.
This could be accomplished all-in-on with metabolic resistance training (Lifting weights circuit style with limited rest) or done separately with strength exercises and cardio.
Including strength training and cardio in your workouts also ensures you can do fun things like go hiking and play basketball without feeling like you’re going to die. Furthermore, they allow you to be able to do things like get up from a low chair (Which can be difficult as you get older).
What can you do to upgrade your workouts? Do two main things:
- Exercise effectively. Effective exercise causes a change and gets a desired result. For effective exercise, choose the types of workouts that’ll get you the result YOU desire. This can include the metabolic resistance training I mentioned earlier, interval training, and more advanced methods like drop sets or cluster sets. In addition, effective exercise includes exercises that work multiple muscle groups and aid in better movement patterns (Things like squats, deadlifts, pull ups, and pushups for example).
- Exercise efficiently. Efficient exercise is done by limiting rest time between sets, choosing smart exercise combinations, and not doing more than is necessary. That means chatting for 15 minutes between sets and pairing exercises that can only be done on opposite sides of the gym is out of the question. If exercising efficiently this also means you could complete an excellent workout in only 20-30 minutes.
- Start incorporating squats, deadlifts, pull ups, pushups, and other multi-joint exercises into your workouts.
- Keep your rest between all exercise below 1 minute (General rule of thumb).
8. Build a More Active Lifestyle
Our bodies are meant to move. They aren’t meant to sit all day or lay on the couch for hours on end.
Building a more active lifestyle should be fun! There are endless ways in which we can be active, so finding a few you’ll stick with should be easy.
First of all, be more active at work.
- Get up from your desk and take a quick walk every half hour or hour
- Do some light stretches every couple of hours
- Go for a walk during your lunch break
Of course, you could always not go to work anymore…
Furthermore, you should be more active outside of the gym.
- Go on hikes
- Play golf
- Shoot hoops
- Play tag with your kid
- Go on long walks on the beach (My favorite… when by a beach)
How you stay active is up to you, but the main point is: Move more.
- Spend 30 minutes today doing something active.
- Find ways to move more on a daily basis
9. De-Stress Daily
If we’re talking about how to become healthy and fit, we have to talk about de-stressing. With the hectic lives we all live, we need to make sure we take time to manage our stress levels so we can feel in control of our lives and make good decisions.
It’s much easier for your eating to fall by the wayside or for you to skip workouts if you’re chronically stressed.
I’ve talked about how meditation can reduce stress and increase productivity, but this isn’t the only way to de-stress.
You can also de-stress daily by writing in a journal (I use The Five Minute Journal) or simply going for a walk.
Choose one method to de-stress with daily, even if you only do it for 5-10 minutes per day.
10. Focus on Progress
Too often we focus on the big goals, losing 30 pounds, gaining 20 pounds of muscle, but to become healthy and fit we need to focus on the small things. We need to focus on how we can progress each day.
- Doing one more rep
- Lifting 5 more pounds
- Going for 1 more minute (Take that how you want)
- Completing 1 more workout than last week
- Eating 1 more serving of veggies in a day
- Having 1 less dessert this week
These little things, over time, lead to big results. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day. I wasn’t there, but that’s what they say.
Figure out one way you can progress today and get closer to your goals.
11. Celebrate Your Wins (Big and Small)
As human beings, we tend to be hard on ourselves. We look ahead constantly without ever taking the time to be grateful for how far we’ve come.
Yes, I’m generalizing, but for most people I think this is not only true, but dangerous.
Because enjoying the ride is part of life!
We should celebrate our successes, enjoy them fully, and then move on to the next thing.
That’s not to say you should celebrate one day of healthy eating with a whole cake, you know that. However, why not reward your great week of eating with a spa day? Not EVERY week of course and it doesn’t have to be a spa day, but you get the point!
Same goes with your big goals. Did you meet that weight loss goal you had after 6 months of ups and downs and a lot of hard work? Great! Go celebrate! Take a trip or do something to treat yo self!
Treat Yo Self!
12. Get More Sleep, Please.
“One by one each of his organs started shutting down. His heart rate was erratic. It became painful to stand up straight. He had to blend his food because he could not digest it. His blood pressure was so low he blacked out if he stood up too fast. He went to the emergency room twice.
He kept telling himself he would slow down after the next deal, then the next, then the one after that. But of course he didn’t.”
That was an excerpt from the book “Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less” by Greg McKeown. He was talking about a thirty-six-year-old, ambitious, overachiever CEO named who routinely slept only 4-6 hours each night. Not enough.
Obviously sleep is important. 6 hours is the absolute minimum, but 7-9 hours is recommended.
Get at least 7 hours of sleep tonight.
13. Hydrate Throughout Each Day
Our bodies are roughly 60% water and we need it for many bodily functions:
- Regulating body temperature
- Delivering oxygen around the body
- Lubricating joints
You get the picture and you know you need it.
How much water should you drink?
The exact recommendation isn’t that important because in the real world most people don’t actually track their water intake. However, the suggestion is between 3.5-4 liters for men and 2-2.5 liters for women.
The amount of water you should drink depends on how big you are, how active you are, and how much you sweat daily, but the key is to hydrate consistently throughout the day, especially before and during intense workouts.
Use a water bottle during the day to hydrate consistently.
14. Surround Yourself With The Right People
Jim Rohn said that “You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with” and I believe in this fully. This statement has been echoed by the likes of people such as Tim Ferriss as well. The takeaway message?
The people around you affect your success.
Want to be healthy and fit? Well my friend, if all of the people you know are unhealthy, overweight, and don’t care about their health and wellness, it’s going to make your pursuit of becoming healthy and fit more difficult.
Does this mean you should get rid of all your unhealthy friends? Maybe.
This will undoubtedly will be difficult, so to start with, find some more healthy friends to add to your circle or spend more time around the people you do know who are active and eat healthier.
In addition to the people you spend time with, I think it’s important to consume positive content – Personal development books and podcasts, healthy living books or shows – things that promote a healthier lifestyle.
If lacking healthy friends, go on a search for one new friend who is living the healthy lifestyle you want to live. Find them at the gym or in a meetup group or at work. Easier said than done? Sure. That doesn’t mean you can’t try!
15. Do Something Consistently
Many different strategies work for becoming healthy and fit. What all of the successful strategies have in common is this: Consistency.
Consistency breads success. Well, consistency with progress as the baby daddy, but you knew that.
How can you stay consistent?
- By doing something to improve every day, no matter how small.
- By accepting that your workout and nutrition will not be perfect all the time.
- By being flexible, able to adjust to the things that life throws at you
This week, do at least one thing every day that moves you closer to your goals.
16. Get Support
Did Frodo take the ring to Mordor alone? No.
Did Michael Jordan win a NBA Championship without Scottie Pippen? No.
Where would Han Solo be without Chewbacca?
Where would Walter White be without Jesse Pinkman?
What kind of life would Chandler have without Joey?
The point is, you can’t destroy evil, win NBA championships, defeat Galactic empires, cook meth, or live a great life without some help.
Most people don’t seek help until they’ve tried things on their own. That’s perfectly fine. If you want to try to become healthy and fit on your own, more power to you. However, if you don’t want to go at it alone, here are some things you can do:
- Find a workout partner
- Join an online fitness group
- Become a part of a local running club
- Hire a fitness coach
You don’t have to go on this journey to becoming healthy and fit alone. There are plenty of resources out there for you to use to get support, stay motivated, and achieve the goals you set out after.
Choose one of the four things I mentioned above to get support on your health and fitness adventure.
17. Start Now
Wherever you are in life – young, old, rich, poor, experienced, inexperienced – it doesn’t matter. You can start today.
You take one step forward today, then build on that tomorrow. Like Martin Luther King Jr. said, “If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”
What is that first step you need to take? TAKE IT! Stop settling for next year, next month, next week – start today!
Want some help? Apply for coaching, email me at Justin@JustGoFitness.com, or comment below! I’d actually really appreciate your comment and I’d love to hear what you think about these 17 steps 🙂