Don’t wear white after Labor Day. Wash your hands before you eat. Drink 8-10 glasses of water a day. Look both ways before crossing the street. Shall I go on?

Rules. Rules. Rules. When it comes to everything in life there seems to be rules. And, while there are those rules that help us discern between right and wrong, provide structure to our day, or ensure our safety, some inevitably should be broken. Breaking certain rules requires confidence and in some cases bravery, to rewrite the narrative and new ‘rules’ that works for you.

Rules in your health and fitness journey are no different. As a guideline they give us a template in what the ideal healthy lifestyle looks like. The black and whiteness of what is expected can serve as a motivation buster, especially when sticking to all of them seems impossible.

It’s time to ditch the idea that to achieve your best self every single rule should be followed to a ’T’. Success in your health and wellness can be found in the little changes you make to your exercise and nutrition regime. Finding little victories in the strict definition of rules and what success looks like helps to bolster your resolve in continuing to make your health a priority.

Let’s be honest—Eating right and exercising can be daunting. The rules can be smothering. Here’s a list of 5 rules you can confidently ‘break’ and still call yourself ‘winning’

1. Workouts must be an hour long.

Life is hard. Schedules can be extremely unforgiving and provide no bend when it comes to finding a full uninterrupted 60-minutes to dedicate to exercise. For some, it’s simply unrealistic. Instead of thinking in terms of a block of dedicated time to exercise, strategize ways you can add more movement to your day. Take a walk during your child’s soccer practice. Plan ‘walking’ meetings at work. Take the stairs. Park in a far away parking spot. Do a little yoga right when you get up in the morning or right before bed. All the little ways in which you add more movement to your day adds up

2. You must drink 8-10 glasses of water a day.

“But I hate water”. While water certainly is the top dog when it comes to beverage superiority in keeping you hydrated, not all needs to come from what you drink. The water in coffee, tea, and other drinks do count but water is also found in the foods we eat. Fruits and vegetables are a great source of water. The recommendation of 8-10 a day serves as as a good rule of thumb but your individual water needs depend heavily on your lifestyle. Luckily, our bodies have a trigger our thirst when we are in need of hydration. According the the Mayo Clinic, your fluid intake is probably adequate if you rarely feel thirsty and if your urine is colorless or light yellow.

3. You must workout every day.

This ‘rule’ is simply too unrealistic and unattainable for so many. In fact, it can lead to burnout and on the extreme, overuse injuries over time. According to the American Heart Association, get in 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes per week of vigorous aerobic activity spread throughout the week. This is certainly attainable in less than 5-7 days dependent on your schedule. Recovery and rest days are crucial as well, allowing our bodies to repair, especially if you perform high-intensity exercise

4. You must count calories.

Calorie counting can be used to give you an idea of what you are putting into your body as well as help identify your eating patterns and behaviors. However, the task of counting and keeping up with every morsel of food you put in your body can be a daunting task. If you are a highly organized person that thrives on structure, counting calories and/or macros might be for you. However, for many, it can be too much and cause them to through in the proverbial towel when it comes to eating right. Instead focus of the quality of food you are consuming and the size of your portions. Ridding your diet of processed foods and ensuring you are eating a variety of nutrient-rich foods can transform your health without counting one calorie.

5. Workouts should be hard.

We’ve all seen the social posts with incredibly buff folks performing crazy feats of fitness that leave us in awe. And, while their efforts should be applauded, for the average joe, it’s usually not even a goal worth chasing. Workouts that are hard and leave you feel defeated does not promote long term lifestyle changes. Fitness should be fun! Find the activities that you enjoy including hobbies like dancing, biking, paddling, tennis, and even gardening. Love to clean your house? Do it with vigor!

Bottom Line

When it comes to fitness and nutrition there is no ‘one way’ that is right for everyone. The trick is to find what works for you in your schedule. More often than not, to force ourselves into activities or habits that are not conducive to our lifestyle, fall flat. Instead, make your own rules and focus on the little victories a long the way that shapes a healthier and happier you.

Leah Seacrest, Corporate Vice President of Fitness & Operations at REGYMEN Fitnesshas over 25 years of experience in the fitness industry as a fitness instructor, director and studio owner.