Fitness is a way of life for me. I love training myself and other people. I love the satisfaction of a hard workout and knowing that with each session, I’m making myself stronger, healthier and more athletic.

I love helping people reach their goals and helping them realize that they have a lot more to give than they initially believe.

I also realize that it is not a way of life for everyone. Sometimes it’s frustrating to hear excuses, reasons why people didn’t get to the gym or why they ate three pints of Ben & Jerry’s over the weekend.

Yes, I understand that we are all human and things happen. Usually, it has nothing to do with the food, but instead an external factor, an old habit or a limiting belief. I see so many clients come through our doors that just don’t believe they are worthy of success (that’s another article for another day).

A wise friend of mine once said: If you want to have something different, you have to do something different—and if you want to do something different, you need to be something different (at least for a short time).

This means habits need to change. If you are hopping from workout to workout or this diet to the next, you aren’t creating any new habits.

Now, creating habits doesn’t mean you’re going to be perfect all the time. In fact, chasing the perfect day of eating or the perfect workout is no way to live.

I like using the 80% rule. If you are following your eating and training plan at least 80% of the time, you’re going to be doing great. That will help to keep you focused and also eliminate the “black and white” thinking of, “Well, I ate one cookie, I might as well eat the whole bag.”

If you’re not living and working toward the 80% rule, look at your lifestyle and start today to make a change. Usually it takes being extremely honest with yourself about what you want.

Here are 21 quick fitness and lifestyle tips for you to help you get to where you want to go. Enjoy, apply, and repeat…

1. Make a plan
2. Tell someone about your plan
3. Set goals: long-term and short-term
4. Lift weights…heavy ones
5. Lift weights safely
6. Have fun with your workouts—train with a trainer and/or with friends
7. Sleep at least 8 hours a night
8. Learn how to squat
9. Eat breakfast
10. Schedule your workouts into your daily planner
11. Eat protein and a veggie with every meal
12. Train outside
13. Push a car or something heavy (trust me, it’s fun)
14. Do pull-ups and chin-ups
15. Focus on how your clothes fit and not the scale
16. Quit talking about it and take action
17. Don’t blame anyone but yourself
18. Don’t give up
19. Quit focusing on “cardio” and do some real work (see #4)
20. Always learn proper technique
21. Value yourself and your life—you only get one chance