Low self-esteem is a common challenge, regardless of your age, background, or socioeconomic status.

We all know that high self-esteem is a good thing, but how does one go about developing it?

There are a plethora of programs and books designed to raise your self-esteem, but it’s still a challenge. Try these top 10 tips to give your self-esteem the boost you seek.

Increase your self-esteem and feel great about yourself with these strategies:

1. Get support from your greatest fan. You probably have a friend or family member that always finds a way to lift you up when you’re feeling down. Pay them a visit and let them know you’re struggling.

2. Remember that self-esteem is a symptom of detrimental thinking habits. Anything that was said or happened in the past is over. You can only keep those things alive with your thoughts. Uplift your thinking and your self-esteem will begin to rise as well.

3. Learn how to take a compliment. Compliments are hard to take when your self-esteem is low. Ironically, that’s when you need them the most. Smile and thank the other person for the compliment. Resist the urge to dismiss compliments you receive.

4. You’re much more interesting than the person you pretend to be. We develop the urge to conform in elementary school.But you’re not like everyone else. You’re unique. You’ll make more friends and have more influence if you’re willing to be yourself.

5. You’ve already accomplished amazing things. Two of the most challenging things anyone has ever accomplished are learning to walk and learning to talk. Think about how long each takes to do well. They both require years of constant practice. Anything else you want to do with your life pales by comparison.

6. You can learn social skills. Many people with low self-esteem struggle with relationships or social situations. You’re not flawed; you’re just not aware of how to do it. Many children learn these skills while others do not. It’s never too late.

7. Other people aren’t thinking about you. It’s hard to believe, but people aren’t talking behind your back or thinking negative thoughts about you. Everyone else is wondering what you’re thinking and saying.

8. Be willing to say “No.” It’s natural to feel bad about yourself when you agree to do things you don’t want to do. It’s disrespectful to yourself. Give yourself the respect you deserve and refuse requests when you genuinely don’t want to do them.

9. Beware of social media. While social media can make it easy to stay in touch with others, understand that most of what you see is misleading. Few people are presenting their lives honestly. It’s a place to showcase the high points of your life. Everyone has challenges, but you’ll rarely see them on social media.

10. Develop your strengths. Are you a great dancer? Take a few dance classes. Are you a good writer? Take a writing course and develop your writing skills further. Run with your strengths and find ways to leverage them.

Imagine what your life would look like if you consistently enjoyed high self-esteem. Imagine how much more enjoyable life would be and how much more you could accomplish. The change in your life would be stunning.

Begin the journey of enhancing your opinion of yourself today. No one else will do it for you. You’ll be glad you did!

Most likely, you won’t change the world in a month, but you can create new habits that put you on the road to making a difference in your world.

Most people can drop or create a habit within 30 days. The only item you need is commitment. Do you have what it takes?

This list will provide you with a few ideas. Put your creative thinking cap on, and you’ll develop a few of your own ideas for challenges that will make a positive difference in your life.

Challenge yourself and change your life:

1. Try a new recipe. Let’s face it. You have the same thing for breakfast every day. Only a couple of different things for lunch. And maybe 10 different things for dinner. You’ve been eating the same stuff for years! Try something new. You’re bound to find something you love. Eat something new each day for a month.

2. Drink only water for a month. How much do you rely on your morning cafe latte? You’re about to find out. Just go one month without drinking anything other than what your adult body was designed to drink – water.

3. Give up your news habit. See how many days you can go without watching or reading any news. Think you’ll miss out on something important? Your friends will tell you. Besides, the news hasn’t changed much for the last 100 years. Look at an old newspaper for proof.

4. Take a cold shower. There are lots of health benefits to be found from taking cold showers. They’re great for your mood and immune system. See how tough you really are. One tip: Rather than starting with a cold shower, start with a hot shower and gradually keep turning the temperature down. It’s refreshing!

5. Wake up 30 minutes earlier. Get out of bed 30 minutes earlier and do something productive. You might try learning Italian or reading. It might be a good time for a walk. Maybe you’ll meditate, pray, or write. See how special the morning can be before everyone else gets up!

6. Avoid complaining. Thirty days without complaining? Can you do it? You might struggle at first if you have a habit of complaining. But you’ll feel great by the end of the month!

7. Avoid negative thoughts. How about skipping all negative thoughts for a month? It’s important to catch yourself early in the process, and there will be plenty of times you’ll have to catch yourself. Breaking this one negative habit can make a huge positive difference in your life.

8. Do something nice for someone each day. You can do 30 things for the same person or for a variety of people. The choice is yours. Try to accomplish this anonymously. You’ll learn how good it feels to do something for someone else without getting anything in return.

9. Study something for a month. Pull the old guitar out of the attic. Learn how to paint. Study web marketing. This is a great challenge to combine with waking up earlier. What will you learn this month?

10. Exercise daily for a month. It doesn’t have to be challenging, but do something physical each day for 30 days. Think of ways you can enjoy this time. You might shoot baskets in the driveway one day and meet a friend for tennis the next. Take the family for a hike. Play with your dog. Just do something active.

What ideas do you have for a 30-day challenge? Visualize how great you’ll feel if you can make just a couple of worthwhile changes over the next month. Your life will be moving toward new possibilities. You can change your habits in 30 days. Let’s get started!

Which Career is Best for You?

Most people undergo a career change or two over their lifetime. Finding the right career for you can help to make your working years more pleasant and rewarding. If you’re going to spend 40+ hours each week doing something, it would be nice if you enjoyed it.

You might think that all jobs are for the birds. However, the path to freedom requires a source of income. Find one that pleases you.

Choose a career that meets your needs:

1. How much money would you like to make? If you’re dead set on making $150,000 or more each year, becoming a high school math teacher doesn’t make much sense. There are plenty of websites with salary data. Use them and ensure you’re playing in the right ball park.

2. What else do you need?

* What type of working hours fit your family and lifestyle?

* Do you have small children?

* Does your partner work and how much?

* Do you need a job that’s low-stress or do you prefer a career with more drama?

* What are your long-term career plans? Do you want to rise to the top, or are you content to stay in the same job for the next couple of decades?

3. What do you naturally like?

* Are you a fan of science?

* Do you like working with people?

* Do you like to sell?

* Would you rather sit in front of a computer all day by yourself?

* A job that fits your natural likes and inclinations makes sense.

4. What do you naturally dislike? Avoid choosing a particular career just because it pays well or allows you to take the summers off. No amount of money or vacation time is worth doing something you can’t stand.

5. What were your dreams as a child? Think about what you wanted to be when you were young. It’s likely your ideal career is something related to those earlier dreams.

* Most people have exciting dreams as a child, yet end up working in an office environment they find unenjoyable. Return to your childhood and see what you find.

6. Consider previous positions you’ve held. Just as previous partners can provide clues to what your might want in a future partner, your past jobs can be hints toward the type of career you want or don’t want.

7. Consider alternate solutions in an industry you love. If you’re 60 and dream of going to medical school, it’s probably too late to get started now. However, you can find something just as good! Medical school might be out of reach, but another position may offer similar benefits to you as being a doctor. For example:

* Help people. There are plenty of other careers that provide the opportunity to help people.

* High salary. Many careers pay better than a doctor, especially after eight years of hard effort.

* Respectability. Lots of careers are admirable.

* Challenge. Start a charity. Write a bestseller. Work with inner city children. Start a successful business. There are many other challenging careers.

* If your career choice isn’t feasible, ask yourself why you wanted that career and find a substitute that meets those needs.

Choosing the best career is important. You’ll spend many of your waking hours at work, so ensure that you’re getting the most out of it. Life is long and hard when you hate your job.

Finding the right career can be a daunting task, but it can be accomplished. Take the time to put your career on a path that you’ll find enjoyable and rewarding.

Are you stuck in your life? As a general word, stoicism is the endurance of pain or hardship without complaint or display of emotion.

As a philosophy, Stoicism is much more. It was advocated by the most influential Greeks in history. It’s also enjoying a significant resurgence in modern society. Maybe a little Greek philosophy is just what the doctor ordered to get you “unstuck” so you can happily move forward.

Use these ideas from Stoic philosophy to face any challenge:

1. The obstacle is the path. Obstacles aren’t something to be avoided. They are meant to be conquered. Obstacles lie in the most direct path to success. Therefore, you can be happy you’ve reached an obstacle. It means you’re about to make great progress.

2. Only worry about those things under your control. The actions of others, the weather, and the fact that your mother wasn’t nice to you when you were a child are out of your control. Save your focus and other resources for those things you can influence.

3. Understand you are the sole source of your emotions. Events don’t create your emotions. The stories you tell yourself about those events create your emotions. All conflict begins internally.

4. Failure isn’t final. There is no reason to have negative emotions regarding failure or positive emotions regarding success. Both are just outcomes that can be handled logically and intelligently.

5. Get things done. Stoics believed in being productive over being comfortable. Logically decide what needs to be done and get those things done. Keep your emotions in check and take care of your business. Stoics were very aware of the importance of time and avoiding wasting it.

6. Be present. Stoics were against living in your head. We live in a time of great distractions. We’re also good at reliving the past and projecting ourselves into the future. Stoics were adamant about dealing with reality, right here and right now. What have you ever accomplished by thinking about the past or the future?

7. Keep your expectations reasonable. The great stoics of the past believed that it was ridiculous and odd to be surprised by anything. Frustration is often the result of unreasonable expectations. For example, if you made $10,000 this year, it’s unlikely that you’ll make $1 million next year.

8. Be virtuous. The greatest accomplishment to a Stoic was living a virtuous life, regardless of the circumstances. Stick to your values, even when life is most challenging.

9. Stop caring what others think. We tend to value ourselves more than we value others, yet we care more about the opinions of others than we do our own opinions. Impress yourself and avoid worrying about whether everyone else is impressed.

10. Be grateful. Avoid focusing on the things you lack. Instead, be happy with your blessings. This is a sign of wisdom to a Stoic.

At the end of each day, ask yourself a few questions. What did I do correctly? What actions were less than effective? How can I have a better day tomorrow?

Most of the people in modern society could stand to be a little more stoic. It’s time to toughen up a little bit. Face life and its many obstacles head on. Take a lesson from the great Greek philosophers and give this new way of thinking a try. You’ll like the results.

You are creative, even if you’ve failed to realize it. In fact, you can’t fail to create. You created the life you’re living right now, even if you don’t appreciate it very much!

However, unless you’ve tried to maximize your creativity, you’ve only been operating at half-throttle. It’s possible to be much more creative than you have been in the past. Being able to access your imagination and then use it to find creative solutions will make life easier, more enjoyable, and bring you greater fulfillment.

Enhance your ability to access your imagination with these strategies:

1. Practice without distractions. Turn off the TV and dim the lights. Have a seat and close your eyes. Allow your mind to wander, but don’t fall asleep. Instead of trying to steer your thoughts, let them run wild. Practice being an observer instead of a director. Do this daily for 15-20 minutes.

* Use all of your senses. You can do more than just see. You have the ability to hear, feel, smell, and touch. Use all of these senses when you’re utilizing your imagination.

* Your imagination will feel stronger if you use it daily. Try not to skip a day.

2. Read something outrageous (for you). Try reading a fictional book about aliens, fire-breathing dragons, or time travel. Expose yourself to new ideas and concepts. The more you experience, the more your imagination will have to work.

* The same goes for movies. Branch out. You can only watch so many action movies or romantic comedies!

3. Take up a creative hobby. Learn to paint, sculpture, or play the accordion. Try writing a screenplay or drawing a monster. Use the creative part of your brain.

4. Explore your passions. Do something you’ve always wanted to try, but haven’t yet. New mental states can increase your level of creativity.

Use your imagination to find creative solutions:

1. Set an intention. Think of an intention as a short-term goal for an activity. What are you trying to accomplish with your imagination? Find a solution for your relationship challenge? Figure out a way to earn more money? Invent a gadget that will change the world?

* It’s important to have an objective for your imagination to focus on.

2. Choose a method of addressing your imagination:

* You can turn off the lights and focus on your intention.

* You could sleep on it.

* You could sit at a clean table with a pad of paper and write whatever comes to mind. Keep going for at least 30 minutes.

* You could ask yourself questions and listen for the answers.

* Take part in an activity that engages your mind, but not completely. This can include activities like cleaning the house, taking a shower, mowing the lawn, or listening to classical music. These activities occupy part of your mind, but leave the remainder to create ideas.

3. Act on what you discover. Creative solutions are worthless unless you act upon them. Reward yourself for being creative by putting your ideas into action. Sort your ideas and choose the best one. Try and see if your imagination was correct! You’ll get better with practice.

Our great creativity is one of the things that separates us from other forms of life. Using your creativity effectively can help you to find better solutions to the challenges in your life.

Creativity can fade with age, but that’s just because we fail to use it regularly.

Your ability to imagine is one way to address your creativity. Instead of mindlessly staring out the window and daydreaming, you can direct your imagination to address specific issues in your life.

No one is sure how the need for approval developed. Some social scientists believe that it evolved from a survival advantage that group acceptance provided. It was challenging to survive 10,000 years ago, and maybe impossible to survive alone. Those that crave acceptance had a better chance of remaining with the group and survival.

Those that didn’t care about upsetting others found themselves kicked to the prehistoric curb and an early demise.

In this day and age, though, approval-seeking behavior is self-sabotaging. Trying to impress others is exhausting and minimizes your own importance and individuality.

Free yourself from the need to receive approval from others:

1. Give your opinion freely. One symptom of approval-seeking tendencies is the hesitance to share your opinion. You might say something that the other person doesn’t approve of. And since it was your opinion, they might not approve of you either.

* Give your opinion, even if it makes you uncomfortable. Start with smaller things. Do you think it will rain? Do you prefer basketball or football? Which movie would you like to see?

2. Avoid judging others. If you’re overly critical of others, it’s only natural that you assume others are the same towards you. By avoiding this type of behavior in yourself, you’ll drop the assumption that everyone else is judging you. Allow others to be as they are. It makes life more interesting. Sit back and enjoy the differences.

* Notice your thoughts. Are you constantly judging others in a variety of situations? You’ll fear the judgements of others if you continue to be judgmental.

3. Realize that disapproval can be used as a weapon. Many people use disapproval as a means of getting what they want. They may disapprove of your opinion, clothing, hairstyle, or anything else to enjoy the fruits of your submission.

* Call people on their disapproval of you. Ask them to explain themselves. Remember that most negative people are looking for a victim, not a fight. When you stick up for yourself, many of the bullies disappear.

* Knowing this can free you from seeking the approval of others. In many cases, they’re just in the game for themselves.

4. Be aware of what happens when someone disapproves of you. Nothing happens. We seem to be born with an intense desire to fit in. But what actually happens when someone disapproves of you? The sky doesn’t fall on top of you. You might suffer from a little anxiety or embarrassment, but it passes.

5. Do some things for yourself. If you’re constantly seeking approval, you’re not taking very good care of yourself. Show yourself that you’re important by focusing some of your time and energy on yourself. It might be a little bit uncomfortable at first. You might even feel selfish.

6. Fill your life with things that are important. If you had to run across the street naked to save your child’s life, you wouldn’t be worried about anyone’s opinion. That’s because your child’s life is more important than your ego. But you don’t need a disaster to experience this.

* Volunteer with an organization that’s doing important work. Write a book that you believe will change lives for the better. Find ways to spend your time on things you consider to be important.

* You’ll find that you enjoy more freedom in the other, less important, parts of your life.

Being overly concerned about the opinions of others is damaging to your self-esteem. Each time you seek approval, you’re diminishing your own importance. You’re causing yourself pain. Your opinion matters. Allow your individuality to be seen and experienced by others.

The relationship between sleep and pain is complicated. Sore joints can keep you up at night, and lack of sleep can make you more sensitive to pain. In fact, up to 90% of adults with chronic joint pain are unable to sleep well, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

You may have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep if your hips, knees, or shoulders ache due to arthritis, osteoporosis, or fibromyalgia.

Even if you do drift off, you may be spending fewer hours in the deep stages of sleep that restore your body and mind. Lack of sleep can also contribute to many other health issues, including obesity, diabetes, and heart conditions.

Fortunately, there are simple behavioral changes that can help you to manage the discomfort and sleep more peacefully. Try these home remedies and work with your doctor to find relief.

Steps to Take at Bedtime:

1. Change positions. Try sleeping on your unaffected side with your knees drawn up. Place a small pillow between your knees to take pressure off your hips. If you lie on your back, put a thin pillow under your shoulders.

2. Wear a sling. Protect an aching shoulder by immobilizing it with a sling. Putting a pillow under your armpit can help too.

3. Buy a new mattress. A firm mattress is usually preferable. You need something that will cushion your body and support your contours.

4. Check your bedroom. Sleep hygiene is especially important if you have joint issues. Darken your bedroom and block out distracting noises. Keep electronic devices out of your bedroom or turn them off at least 2 hours before retiring.

5. Maintain a consistent schedule. As much as possible, go to bed and rise at the same time each day. Resist the urge to sleep in, even on weekends and holidays.

6. Get out of bed. If you can’t sleep, it may be better to get up and do something boring until you’re sleepy again. As a bonus, moving around can reduce joint pain because it decreases swelling and increases lubrication.

Steps to Take Anytime:

1. Contact your doctor. Talk with your doctor if pain lasts more than a few days or recurs frequently. Seek medical care right away if you’re experiencing severe and unusual pain or you have additional symptoms like weight loss or fever.

2. Take medication as directed. Your doctor can explain how to take over-the-counter or prescription pain relievers or sleep aids safely. That way you can reduce your risk of side effects or becoming dependent on drugs to sleep.

3. Limit napping. Taking naps to fight daytime fatigue can backfire if they interfere with your falling asleep at bedtime. Experiment until you find what works for you.

4. Drink responsibly. Alcohol makes you feel drowsy, but actually interferes with sleep. You’re more likely to wake up frequently during the night if you drink too much.

5. Manage your weight. Carrying around excess pounds creates more stress on your joints. Fill up on vegetables, fruits, and other whole foods that have more nutrients and fewer calories than processed items.

6. Exercise more. Physical activity helps in several ways. In addition to helping you burn calories, it may lift your spirits and increase your tolerance for physical discomfort.

7. Try therapy. Many adults have found relief for insomnia through cognitive behavioral training (CBT). Working with a therapist can help you identify thoughts and actions that disrupt your sleep, and learn how to adopt healthier substitutes.

Living with aching joints is challenging, but a positive attitude will help you to manage your pain and develop strategies that enhance your sleep. By taking control, you’ll enjoy more satisfying sleep and greater comfort around the clock.

Your biggest obstacle to success is yourself. The rest of the world is too busy to actively get in your way. That’s great news! If your lack of success is your fault, you can take steps to address the situation.

There are a variety of ways you sabotage yourself. You procrastinate, think negatively, and have other harmful habits. As Walt Kelly once said, “We have met the enemy, and he is us.”

Be honest with yourself and look at the times in your life when success slipped through your fingers. Can you see how you are at least partly to blame?

Use these strategies to put an end to self-sabotage and claim your right to success:

1. Be clear regarding what you want. One way to sabotage yourself is to keep changing your mind. You might spend months working toward one goal, only to change your mind. Indecisiveness is a success killer. Be clear about what you want and be consistent.

2. Notice how you waste time. What do you do when you procrastinate? Do you like to watch TV? YouTube videos? Go shopping? Have a snack? You can’t stop yourself from wasting time unless you can recognize that you’re wasting time. Make a list of your time-wasting behaviors and pay attention when they happen.

* Understand the repercussions of your behavior. Time-wasting behaviors feel good in the short-term. That’s probably all you’re considering. Turn your attention to the bigger picture. What will happen down the road if you continue to waste time? Consider the consequences.

3. Stop negative self-talk. Isn’t life challenging enough already? You don’t have to make things even more difficult by getting in your own way. Monitor yourself. If you catch yourself speaking poorly to yourself, stop and say something positive instead.

4. Hang out with positive, supportive people. The people around you can sabotage your efforts. This is really a form of self-sabotage because you chose your friends. Make the necessary adjustments to spend time with those who support your success.

5. Learn to deal with discomfort. Self-sabotage is a strategy for dealing with discomfort. If you weren’t uncomfortable at all, you’d never sabotage yourself in the first place. Understand that discomfort is necessary if you want to change your life in a meaningful way. All roads to success lead through discomfort.

6. Visualize success. The idea of success might be more stressful than you think, especially if you’ve gotten used to failing. Part of you might believe it’s better to deal with the “devil you know.”

* Take a few minutes each day and visualize yourself being successful. Notice how it feels. Keep up this routine until success feels completely natural.

* Think about why you might find failure appealing. What are the advantages to you of failing?

7. Avoid comparing yourself to others. We compare ourselves to the most talented people we know. Everyone is better than you at something. But we compare our weaknesses to the strengths of others.

* You can always improve from where you were last week. That’s the key to success.

It’s not easy to notice how you get in your own way. Examine your habits and your past failures. Do you expect to succeed or do you start searching for excuses to fail before you’ve even gotten started?

Success can be just as scary as failure. This is particularly true if failure has become the norm.

Stop getting in your own way. You can enhance the results you’ve been experiencing and discover the joys of success, instead.

You know you’ve done it more than once. You’ve opened your mouth and let your words fly, only to wish you could somehow take them back. You thought you knew it all. You might have been a little angry. You knew you had the right to say it. But in the end, you have little more than regret to show for it.

Discover how to change the outcomes of your interactions with these ideas about how to listen more effectively.

Listen first, by implementing these tips:

1. Put your full attention on the other person’s words. Most people don’t listen well. They’re just waiting for the other person to finish so they can speak. Instead, use the time to relax and pay attention to the other person. This isn’t the time to allow your mind to wander. Stay focused.

2. Maintain eye contact. There are few things more annoying than speaking to someone while they look around the room as if they’d rather be doing something else. Others appreciate it when you pay attention to them. They’ll actually like you more if you simply maintain eye contact during a conversation.

3. Let them finish before you begin thinking about what you want to say. Hear everything that’s being said before formulating a response. Your conversation partner can tell when your mind is elsewhere. Be patient.

4. Get all the information before you speak. Ask necessary questions and follow up with the appropriate people before saying something that might create drama.

5. Clarify. Ensure that what you heard is what they meant. It’s common to misunderstand, especially when the other person isn’t articulate. Take a moment to ask the necessary follow-up questions.

6. Avoid making assumptions. Every assumption carries the risk of error. Again, find out everything you need to know before you speak. No one can make the right assumptions 100% of the time.

7. Decide if it’s better to be right or to be happy. Maybe you’re in the right. That doesn’t mean that things are going to work out in a favorable way for you. Sometimes, it’s wiser to be happy than to be right. If you insist on being right at all times, you might want to work on keeping your ego in-check.

8. The more you listen, the more you stand to gain. In a work environment, you can learn a lot by listening. You don’t learn much from speaking. You’ll be surprised by what the other person will reveal if you’re willing to listen. A short silence is often enough to get the other person to share a lot more.

9. The more you listen, the more others are willing to listen to you. Listen respectfully, then others will listen when it’s your turn. The less you say, the more your words will count, too. People ignore the person who never seems to stop talking.

10. Put your phone away. Your Slotomania game might be far more interesting than listening to your coworker prattle on about her grandchildren, but your game can wait. Keep your phone out of sight and out of your hands while you’re having a conversation.

Listening skills are in short supply in modern society. We have a lot of distractions and a strong focus on ourselves. However, poor listening skills can be costly. It can be easy to jump to the wrong conclusion or to offend someone by not giving them the attention they deserve.

Be respectful. Get all the information you need before taking any action, including speaking. Listen before you leap.

Is the IIFYM Diet for You?

The media calls it the Donut Diet. Bodybuilders started it and celebrities borrowed the idea. It’s the IIFYM Diet, which is short for “If It Fits Your Macros.”

IIFYM’s popularity may be attributable to the fact that it’s flexible enough to adapt to almost any personal fitness goal. On the other hand, it may require more work than you had in mind.

Find out whether the IIFYM Diet is for you.

Calculating Your Macros

The macros in this diet refer to macronutrients, which are proteins, carbohydrates and fats. You’ll need to figure out how many calories to eat from each group, as well as how many total calories to consume each day.

Follow these steps to determine your macros:

1. Set your goals. Figuring out how many calories you burn depends on many factors, including your height, weight, age, and level of activity. Online calculators can help you determine how many calories to cut based on how weight much you want to lose.

2. Start with proteins. Most experts recommend getting 10% to 35% of your calories from protein. Because IIFYM started with bodybuilders, some plans advocate much more protein. Adjust those figures if you’re less athletic. You may want to talk with your doctor about how much protein is safe for you.

3. Remember your carbs. The Recommended Daily Allowance for carbohydrates is 45% to 65%. Foods like vegetables, fruits, and breads provide most of your energy because your body can turn them into glucose.

4. Add in fats. That leaves 20% to 35% of your calories coming from fats. Foods like oils and nuts help your body perform essential functions like absorbing nutrients and producing hormones.

Other Elements of the IIFYM Diet

There are a few more things to keep in mind if you’re going to use the IIFYM diet.

Try these tips for following the program successfully:

1. Focus on quality. The biggest gap in standard IIFYM plans is the lack of attention to food quality. Not all proteins, carbs, and fats are created equal. It’s still important to make smart choices to include nourishing, healthy foods.

2. Monitor portions. There are no forbidden foods on the IIFYM diet, but too many donuts will push you over your calorie limits. Learn to estimate portion sizes or buy a scale so you can measure your servings.

3. Proceed gradually. Most IIFYM plans recommend cutting calories by about 20%. You may want to modify those figures slightly, but it’s a sensible starting point compared to crash diets that can slow your metabolism and actually make you store more fat.

4. Exercise regularly. Any diet will yield more effective results if you increase your activity level at the same time. Aim to work out for at least a half hour on at least 3 days a week. Train for strength, flexibility, balance, and cardiovascular fitness.

5. Plan ahead. It will be easier to meet your targets if you design a daily menu in advance. That way you won’t be sidetracked by empty calories and you’ll be prepared for challenges like dining out.

6. Go online. Technology can make the IIFYM diet easier and more fun. Find a free calculator to download to your phone to track what you eat each day. Join other IIFYM fans on Instagram and other social media to share your progress.

If you love using technology to track your fitness, you may enjoy the IIFYM diet. On the other hand, there are many other effective ways to manage your weight if you find calculating your macros a little too tedious.