You’re obsessed with health and fitness.
You’re so into diet, exercise, sleep, and every other part of your performance and health that you get carried away sometimes.
Your passion often helps you achieve your goals, but sometimes it shoots you in the foot. You take things to extremes and make mistakes. Me too.
I’ve made a lot of mistakes.
I nearly killed myself twice with an eating disorder.
I’ve trained through injuries when I knew I shouldn’t.
I’ve neglected friendships, missed parties, and become socially isolated because of irrational rules I placed on myself around diet and exercise.
I’ve worked 14 hours a day for days on end so I didn’t have to face real problems in my life.
I’ve spent too much money on supplements.
I’ve wasted hours of precious time and effort on ideas that never had any evidence behind them.
I’ve obsessed about *everything* that I thought would make me healthier, fitter, more productive, and happier — which made me less healthy, fit, and productive, and unhappy.
Luckily, you don’t have to make — or keep making — these mistakes.
Here are the top 36 lessons on health and fitness that will help you avoid the same blunders I’ve made.
36 Health and Fitness Lessons You Should Never Forget
1. Hard decisions are usually the most important ones — and the simplest.
2. “Perfection” and “good enough” are rarely the same thing.
3. The simplest solution is almost always the best — and most scientifically supported.
4. If you have to give up your hobbies, social life, and happiness to reach your fitness and health goals — you’re doing it wrong.
5. People, including you and me, are bad at predicting what will make us happy. Don’t be afraid to change your goals, and don’t identify yourself with how you exercise, what you eat, or any other single aspect of your life. You’re more than that.
6. Goals can be both empowering and limiting. Use them wisely, and don’t get too attached to them.
7. Worry about the stuff you can control. Learn to ignore the stuff you can’t.
8. There’s always a better time to start everything. Quit stalling and get to work.
9. People are much better at inventing unimportant things to do than they are at accomplishing important things.
10. If something sounds overly complicated, stupid, or too good to be true, it usually is.
11. Being happy is more important than what you eat, how you exercise, and your health (though they’re obviously connected).
12. Small, consistent, important changes are virtually always better than big, immediate, and unimportant ones.
13. When you need to ask “should I do XYZ,” the answer will usually be “it doesn’t matter,” or “it depends.”
14. There is rarely one solution to any problem that works for everyone.
15. We’ve figured out probably 99% of what we need to do to be healthy. The real challenge is getting people to adopt these behaviors in a sustainable way.
16. You should focus on the fundamentals of any topic first, then learn the finer details only as needed and appropriate.
17. More information does not equal better results. Only learn as much information as you need to achieve your goals, and ignore the rest.
18. If someone can’t explain a topic in simple terms, they don’t understand it well enough and probably shouldn’t be trusted.
19. Anything that claims to be “ground-breaking,” “revolutionary,” or “never before seen,” almost never has any supporting evidence and probably doesn’t work.
20. Whenever there are two fiercely divided sides in an argument, the truth is often somewhere in the middle.
21. Science is often about explaining something that seems like common sense, rather than uncovering something completely new.
22. You should question yourself — and others — constantly.
23. You should be able to find at least some indirect scientific evidence for any claim.
24. Experts are often wrong, but that doesn’t mean they all are.
25. Despite what people say, you can’t find a study to prove every idea. You can always find someone who thinks they’ve found a study to support their ideas.
26. 90% of supplements don’t work. 9% do work, but the effects are too small to matter. 0.9% work well, but are usually more expensive than other simple interventions like diet and exercise. Maybe 0.1% are actually worth taking.
27. Being productive means doing more of what you love, not necessarily getting more done.
28. If you’re worrying about something that isn’t causing a problem for you, then stop worrying.
29. If you want to improve something, track it.
30. Setting unbreakable rules for yourself in terms of diet or anything else generally makes you miserable.
31. If you’re getting overwhelmed with health information, spend less time on the internet and more time outside or with friends.
32. Ask more questions than you make statements if you’re interested in learning.
33. Take care of yourself before others.
35. Trying to accomplish very different goals at the same time usually doesn’t work. Focus on the main thing you want to improve before less important goals.
36. You probably have the ability to reach your goals. What you might lack is patience.
Two Questions for You
1. What lessons have you learned about health and fitness from your mistakes?
2. What examples can you think of for the lessons in this article?
Share your responses in the comments below.
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