Have you recently pledged to recommit yourself to fitness and nutrition? Maybe you vowed to eat healthier, work out and just get your life together in general!
Many of us start out full of excitement, motivation and enthusiasm, buying gym memberships or joining supplement companies and meal prep programs. We envision a whole new future, accomplishing all of our dreams and being our best versions of ourselves while doing it.
But sometimes life just seems to get in the way of even our most well laid plans. We don’t always stick it out the way we said we would. That initial enthusiasm fades when fitness becomes another thing to add to an already packed calendar.
This doesn’t have to be the case! We’ve put together some fantastic tips to help you keep your eye on the prize throughout the year.
Planning is an important step in the process of setting your goals. The American Council on Exercise recommends following the S.M.A.R.T guidelines to get the best outcome.
Specific – Your goal needs to be clear and uncomplicated. Just saying, “I’m going to be healthier,” is really vague. What does that actually mean? You need to get more specific. For instance, try saying “I will lose 10 pounds” or “I will run 3 miles a day”.
Measurable – Make sure that your goals are measurable so that you can see your progress. This means your goal needs to include a number so that you have something to count up or down to.
Attainable – Don’t get too extreme with the goals, you need to make sure it’s possible to accomplish. Losing ten pounds in two months is possible, losing 25 pounds for your weekend plans isn’t. You’ll risk giving up and feeling bad because you couldn’t make the impossible happen overnight.
Relevant – Set your goals for yourself, not for anything or anyone else. Make sure that it is something that’s important to you at this point in time. That in and of itself works as motivation. You’ll want to work toward something that you really care about.
Time-bound – Set deadlines for yourself! Goals set with a vague idea of a finish line in some distance future aren’t going to get done. Set realistic deadlines that will push you and keep you motivated. When you can see the finish line up ahead you are far more likely to reach it.
Breaking up your large long-term goals into smaller chunks can make it seem more manageable in the moment. For instance, if you really want to run a half-marathon in a year, don’t just list that as a single idea on its own.
Create sub-goals of each of your daily or weekly workouts. You’ll have things to check off the list, which is super satisfying, and each one will be getting you closer to your overall goal.
Most humans are visually motivated. Take advantage of this and try taking before and after (or along the way) photos of yourself. Your own body can be a visual roadmap of the progress that you are making. Seeing your results is a major motivator and will help you keep striving to see what happens.
We’ve all been there. You buy a gym membership and say that since you’ve paid for it, you’ll definitely use it! According to a report in USA Today, 67% of gym memberships go unused! With most memberships costing just under $60 per month, that’s an expensive investment…especially if you aren’t using it.
Try lacing up your shoes and getting some fresh air with a walk or jog around your neighborhood or at a local park. Avoid the crowds and take in the scenery while you get in your workout.
Or bring the gym to you with an at-home treadmill. You’ll never need to worry about scheduling travel time or hope that you can get an open machine when it’s in your living room waiting for you.
With the wonders of the internet, you don’t need to be at a specific location at a set time to take an effective workout class. In fact, you don’t even need to pay for it.
There are tons of free, body blasting workouts available through a wide variety of outlets, like YouTube. Whether you want to try yoga, pilates or toning bodyweight circuits, there’s something for everyone.
Surround yourself with like-minded individuals that want to see you succeed. This can be done by joining a jogging group at a local park, signing up for a group class at a gym or local YMCA, or simply being around friends and family that support your goal.
Joining a physical group isn’t the only option either. Virtual motivation works too! Meet and chat with people on Facebook or through your favorite fitness apps. You can share your progress, keep each other’s spirits up and celebrate as you crush your goals together.
Your mind is a powerful tool and you want it working for you, not against you. Maintaining a positive mindset about your fitness goals is just as important as actually getting up and moving.
When you are being honest about your fitness levels or your perception of yourself, it can quickly slide into criticism. This is when you can easily become your own worst enemy! Make sure you are focusing on the positives and not the negatives. Instead of thinking “I hate this part of myself”, remember your goals and turn it into a positive reinforcement, like “This is something I’m working on and I can see my progress everyday.”
Reaching your fitness goals doesn’t need to take over your life. It can play a role, but it’s just one part of who you are. You are still allowed to take some “me time” without feeling guilty. Spend time with your friends or go to a movie. These things will help you feel rejuvenated to keep making those strides toward your goals.
This is probably the biggest one of all. You can set all the goals and sub-goals you want, but if you don’t actually commit to putting in the work it won’t make any difference.
There may be days that get away from you or when things just don’t go according to plan…and that’s totally ok. Don’t let it get you down! Just pick back up where you left off and keep putting one foot in front of the other. Whether it’s one step or one mile, it’s still progress.
No matter what your new aspirations may be, nothing should hold you back form making them a reality. Remember the tips and tricks from above and make this year a positive and productive one.
SMART Goal Setting Guide – American Council on Exercise
The 10 Best Workout Videos on YouTube: Charlotte Hilton Andersen