The difference between the person who reaches a particular goal and the person who does not often comes down to very small details.
On the surface, it may look as though both people worked equally hard to get from point A to point B, yet one is cruising along while the other is stuck in neutral. What did they do differently? Usually it's "the little things" that separate the winners from losers. This is especially true when it comes to losing weight and getting in better shape.
Here are eight "little things" you can do to make sure you reach your goals.
1. Weigh in regularly. Some suggest that weighing in too often can be detrimental to reaching your goals as you become "obsessed with the scale." Weight loss doesn't happen quickly, and that can make the process frustrating when the scale appears to be stuck. But it's good to know where you are on a regular basis. If you want to lose weight, you can't tell if your workouts and nutrition plan are working unless you weigh in. Don't be obsessed with the scale, but don't be afraid of it either.
2. Get out of your conform zone. If the workouts and nutrition plans you used in the past didn't get you where you wanted to be, why are you still using them? If you want to change your body, you must change your approach. That doesn't mean you can't continue to do the exercises you like best, but you must constantly find new ways to challenge yourself. Your body will adapt to whatever you do. Try to stay one step ahead of it.
3. Eat for fuel, not for pleasure or comfort. That doesn't mean you can never enjoy a special meal or never have a sweet dessert. But the majority of your daily meals and snacks should be designed to fuel your body for your workouts, and help it recover when you're done. This might mean you have to give up some of the foods you enjoy most (most of the time). But what's more important: Eating a certain food or getting the body you want?
4. Turn it up a notch. Most of us exercise only to a fraction of what we're truly capable. Just because you worked up a sweat doesn't mean you worked hard enough. Challenge yourself with heavier lifts and more intense cardio. Make your rest periods shorter. Always look for ways to increase the intensity.
5. Get rid of empty calories. The easiest way to consume empty calories is to drink them. Juices, sodas, alcohol – they're all loaded with calories you don't want or need. Water should be what you drink almost all of the time.
6. Lift weights. Don't fall into the trap of doing cardio-only workouts. Lifting weights is the best way to burn fat while maintaining lean muscle mass.
7. Think short and long-term. Have an idea of where you want to be in a year or more. But also reassess your goals and yourself monthly, weekly, even daily.
8. Don't give up. You don't fail if you don't reach a goal. You fail when you give up trying to reach it.
Frank Shelton is a certified fitness trainer and owner of The Village Gym. He can be reached at (302) 376-3060 or firstname.lastname@example.org.