Instead of trying a new diet or the latest fad exercise, or attempting to overhaul your entire lifestyle, how about committing to making small changes that will make it easier for you to succeed and maintain your hard-earned results in the long term?
Learn how to set goals and create an achievable activity plan that will ensure you start your fitness journey with success on the horizon!
1. SET YOUR GOALS
When thinking about your goals, make sure that you keep them simple, specific and achievable. Instead of saying ‘I want to get fit’, set goals like ‘I will walk outdoors for at least 15 minutes every day’ or ‘I will take part in a 5K in three months’ time’. Think about what you can and will do to become more active.
ASK YOURSELF “WHY”
Decide on your reason for getting started. Ask yourself why you are doing what you’re doing and be honest with yourself about why you want to improve.
- Why do you want to get fit?
- Why do you need an energy boost?
- Why do you need to lose some weight?
Your “why” will help you understand how you can best meet your goal. For example, if you need to get fit because you want to have more energy to play with your kids, then it makes sense to build up your activity levels by involving your children. You could race with them or work out on the sidelines while they’re absorbed in an activity they love. That way you’re meeting your goal of becoming fit and doing something that will make you happier.
SHARE YOUR GOAL
Tell people about your goal. If you share your plans with a loved one, friend or co-worker, they can help you by holding you accountable. Making a verbal commitment can also help boost your motivation. Once you have verbally made a commitment to improve yourself, the added pressure of someone asking you about it may push you to succeed. This will help motivate you on the days you are tired or trying to find an excuse to quit.
PLAN FOR SUCCESS, NOT FAILURE
Don’t self-sabotage. If you hate running, then putting running as one of your goals will defeat your efforts before you even begin. Although running is good for you, chances are you’ll give up on your running goal more easily. With so many options to choose from, you’ll easily find something else that you can look forward to each week.
2. KEEP A POSITIVE MENTAL ATTITUDE
Take a positive approach towards your new goals and keep the following in mind:
DON’T WAIT UNTIL TOMORROW
There is no time like today to get started. Small changes add up over time and can lead to big changes in lifestyle. So if you’re thinking about making some changes, start right now!
USE POSITIVE WORDS
Say the words ‘I can’ and ‘I will’ often. The words ‘I can’t’ most likely will translate into ‘I didn’t,’ so try to replace your vocabulary with positively charged words. Set an intention for each day and believe that you can do it. An optimistic approach often leads to positive results.
Try not to be negative about yourself; stop looking in the mirror and thinking ‘I need to change.’ Even if your goal is to lose weight, it doesn’t mean you should look at yourself in a negative light. The fact that you realize you need to take care of yourself is a step in the right direction. Affirmations like, ‘I’m ready to improve,’ or ‘I’m going to evolve into the best version of myself I can be’ will make it easier to keep your spirits up and motivation high.
3. PLAN AND MOTIVATE YOUR FITNESS
Make time in your daily schedule to get active. If you are just getting started, aim to do at least 30 minutes of exercise three days a week. If you can’t find a full 30 minutes in your schedule, split it into mini 5- or 10-minute exercises throughout the day.
You have to start somewhere and every second counts. To help keep you motivated, consider finding an active hobby such as doing long walks, marathons or even committing to learning something new. That way, you’ll always have something to strive towards. Once you get involved in a hobby, especially when it involves being part of a group, it’s much easier to stay motivated and accountable to your long-term goals.
MAKE IT A FAMILY AFFAIR
Get your family and close friends on board with your healthy, active lifestyle plan. If you all commit to eating well and getting active, it can help create strong bonds and fun times. If you feel like you want to quit, chances are at least one family member will convince you to keep going.
PLAN REWARDS FOR YOURSELF
Put a rewards system in place so that you can continually motivate yourself with incentives. It could be a day trip out every few months or a new outfit. Pick a reward that gets you excited, and one that you know you can afford. Hopefully your reward will inspire you to keep going on the tough days.
Written by Samantha Clayton, AFAA, ISSA. Samantha is Director of Fitness Education at Herbalife.