The biggest virtue that will help you in your ‘health & fitness' journey is "Patience". If you want sustainable results then you will need to shift your thinking from trying to achieve ‘results quickly' to ‘figuring things out’ for yourself.
Unless of course you have a serious health condition that requires you to lose weight as soon as possible, or you have to achieve some other health goal by a certain timeline, give yourself some grace, and slow things down.
Some steps you can take to improve your health, for long term :
1. Take into consideration your individual habits & lifestyle :
For some of us movement comes easy, for some it's meal planning, for some it's easy to get that 7-8 hour quality sleep. While the rest of us struggle in the very same areas.
So figure out what is easy for you & what's difficult.
Now you have drawn your consciousness to what needs attention. That's always the first step - Conscious awareness.
2. Create tiny action steps to improve in the area that you have identified.
For instance, if your weak area is getting in more activity, then find ways to increase it by taking some action like setting an alarm every hour to get up and move / stretch. If it's nutrition, then instead of getting overwhelmed by trying to get everything right, work with just one meal. Aim to create one balanced meal plate a day. If it's sleep, then maybe stay off gadgets 3 hours before bedtime. One tiny step, repeated over and over, is bound to become a habit and will serve you in the long run.
Often times people fail because they try to achieve too much too soon. Or try to make drastic changes ( hardly any movement to 10 k steps a day or hardly eating vegetables to 3 cups, etc )
3. Be serious about it.
It's one thing to know what needs to be done, but quite another to actually do it.
If you find that you are unable to adhere to the action steps , then it's probably time to relook at the importance of the goal in your life. Stronger the why, stronger will be your will to get things moving.
4. Participate & connect with people on similar path :
I have a "Daily meal log" group for my clients. A group meant for pre planning / logging of meals, sharing inspiration and ideas that can help others. I have a handful of members who participate. And they are the ones who see results.
The same goes with my ‘Group fitness class’ group. Students who are consistent, show up, participate in all fitness related discussions, share their progress and ask questions see progress.
Bottomline : Get involved. Just being part of groups that support our goals in some way or enrolling for a fitness class is not going to help, unless we show wholehearted involvement. First of all, it's a privilege to find such a group of people with similar goals. Recognise that & use it to your advantage.
5. Think out of the box :
Finding solution to our problems is not always straightforward. Sometimes we may need to fix some other area and not the one we think we should to get results.
For instance, fixing your eating habits, may involve getting more physically active. When you get physically active, you start to gravitate towards healthier foods ( may not happen immediately but it does eventually as you begin to see how your movement practice is impacted by the food you eat )
Even fixing sleep, can help you improve your nutrition as you feel less stressed and this can reduce the incidence of emotional eating.
6. Use more of your intelligence :
“Knowledge is having the right answer. Intelligence is asking the right question.”
Instead of siding with your feelings to make food / exercise related decisions consult your intelligence ( "I feel like eating that " to " Am I really hungry?" or "Is this food going to nourish my body?" / "I don't feel like exercising" to "how does exercise serve my body?"). Feelings are fleeting. They will come & go. Rely more on your intelligence to make appropriate choices for your well being.
Good health is ultimately a function of :
Good nutrition & hydration
Enough movement / activity
Good recovery : Rest & sleep
Better stress management
To improve your health, see what your weak area is, write down 1 or 2 action steps to improve, and put it into action. Sounds so simple, right ? What's not simple, is getting into the action mode & sticking with it until you have figured & nailed the area you are trying to make progress in. Once you have figured stuff for yourself, there will be no going back. And even if you slip ( which is totally ok, and we "ALL" slip from time to time ), you would know your way to getting back on track.