The thing about health and fitness it that you usually think you have to hunt down the best of the best to reach your goals: the best diet for weight loss, the best workout for toning your abs, or the best meditation to clear your mind. But, really, the *best* diet or workout plan you could possibly follow is the one you're actually going to do.
This year, Shape is focusing on tuning in to individual goals—whether that's lifting heavier, losing fat, or running faster—in order to help every boss babe out there find #MyPersonalBest. Because in the end, it's not about what worked for that girl next to you in spin class or the one on your Instagram feed, or even the specific results they both achieved. It's all about finding what makes you feel like the best, most badass version of yourself—whatever it takes to get there and whatever that end result looks like for you.
Join the #ShapeSquad in making March the time to clear out the clutter in your health life—whether that's un-following the friend on Facebook who won't stop posting about her cult-like workout regimen, or getting rid of your blender once and for all (considering you can't remember the last time you made a smoothie). Instead, focus on what makes you feel fit, fierce, happy, and alive—and use that to concoct a personal health potion that leads to the most ~sparkly~ version of yourself.
Hate juices? Stop drinking them. Hate kale? Stop buying it. Hate running? Stop lacing up. There are too many other workouts, superfoods, diets, anti-diets, and ways to take care of your mind and body to force yourself into something you just effing hate. Here, the undebatable reasons you should go ahead and say "no, thanks" to that stuff you just don't like—even if social media, your friends, or your trainer say otherwise.
1. You won't stick to it.
This is a no-brainer. If you don't like something, you're probably not going to continue doing it, no matter how many times you hear it's "good for you."
"Even someone with the strongest willpower in the world can find it tough to stick to a plan that works for someone else and not for them," writes The Biggest Loser trainer Jen Widerstrom in her new book, Diet Right for Your Personality Type. The result: You'll go back to your old ways (not exercising, defaulting to junk food) instead of building healthy habits that you actually want to maintain for your whole life. (That's why picking the right health goal is so important.)
2. You'll be miserable.
Think about something you love (chocolate cake, spin class, sleep). Chances are, you look forward to this thing a lot, and happily make it a priority in your life. Now imagine this became an excessive and mandatory part of every day (you must eat an entire chocolate cake; you must do four spin classes in a row; you must be in your bed for at least 16 hours). That thing you loved probably wouldn't be so enjoyable anymore.
Case in point: If you hate going to group classes but force yourself anyway, that decreased confidence and lack of excitement can take a serious chunk out of your workout motivation, maybe even giving you sub-par workout results, according to Heather Hausenblas, Ph.D., professor of kinesiology at Jacksonville University in Florida.
If you force yourself to do anything—especially something like exercise or healthy eating—you'll start to see it as a punishment rather than as a positive part of your life. But if you willingly engage in things that you enjoy and already want to do, they're a choice, not a chore. And, naturally, you'll be happier because of it. (Just take this woman, who quit the gym and got healthier because of it, as an example.)
3. You'll be even worse off than you were before.
The funny thing about trying realllllly hard to eliminate all the crap from your diet and go hard AF on a new exercise program is that if (or when) you "relapse," you'll dive even deeper into your bad habits than you were before. Just think about what happens when you try to banish certain foods from your diet—suddenly, those forbidden delicacies are all you can think about. Go too hard or strict on your workout schedule, and you're sure to burn out. Go too restrictive on your diet, and you're sure to gain the weight back. (That's why this woman is breaking up with diets for good.) Instead, find what works for you—and lets you enjoy your damn life—and you'll build a library of lifelong healthy habits so you can forever be your personal best.