One of the biggest hurdles that individuals face is what I refer to as the “excuses merry-go-round”. There will always be some reason big or small not to stick with your lifestyle routine.

Maybe you’re too busy to exercise, you’re not sleeping well, your back hurts, you don’t want to get up early or you’re too tired after work. You had a lousy day or got into a fight with your partner so of course you should skip the salad and go straight for the ice cream tub. How could you possibly be expected to meal prep; it’s too hard and time-consuming. And so on.

While changing habits may be initially daunting, the truth is anyone who wants to make time for living healthfully will do so. Therefore, you need to be honest with yourself about what your goals are and what you’re willing to do to achieve them. Consider the following:

Scheduling is key.

Your workouts are appointments that you make with yourself. Put them in your calendar, and if you must cancel, reschedule it immediately. Schedule in a day of the week to meal prep and grocery shop. If something comes up, order on Instacart or Amazon Prime. You can also order a weekly meal kit delivery service, such as Blue Apron, or a prepared meal delivery service (I like Kitchfix). You have no excuse not to have fresh food in your home.

Set-up accountablity.

Hire a trainer, nutritionist, health coach or join an online community. You can also get a group of friends together and share access to an online tracking app, such as MyFitnessPal. Sign-up for exercise classes in advance. The financial cost and scheduling aspect will help you avoid hitting snooze.

Something is better than nothing.

Your goal is progress, not perfection. If you only have 20 minutes, do a 20-minute workout. Apps, such as Peloton, even have 10-minute workouts. This is great for business travelers.

If you’re craving a burger, include a non-starchy vegetable on the side. Remember you didn’t blow your day at breakfast; just have a healthy lunch. Get out of the all or nothing mentality. Each meal is a Monday morning to start anew. It’s all about shifting your mindset.

You are number one.

Just like when you’re on an airplane the flight attendant instructs you to put your oxygen mask on first and then assist your child, you must be performing at your physical and mental best if you’re going to be a capable parent, employee, friend, etc. It’s not selfish to take time for yourself and make your needs a priority. It’s a must!

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