What is it that you hope to accomplish in terms of your overall fitness? Do you want to lose 20 pounds? 100 pounds? Run a marathon? Fit into your old high school marching band uniform? Here are five steps to help you achieve your goal!
Step #1 – Break Down Your Ultimate Goal Into Smaller Obtainable Goals
Sometimes when you think about your ultimate goal, such as losing 100 pounds, the goal sounds discouraging and maybe even impossible.
That’s why it’s important to break down this big goal into smaller obtainable goals.
Instead of focusing on 100 pounds, focus on losing 20 pounds at a time.
If you’re hoping to run a marathon in two years, but haven’t been jogging for the past five years, set small goals. Your first goal might be to walk one mile, five days a week.
Step #2 – Make Your Goals Measurable
Make your small goals measurable. For most people, if a goal can be achieved within a month or two, then they are motivated to keep going.
If you haven’t had much success in the past with your fitness attempts, then make goals that can be achieved within two or three weeks.
How do you write measurable goals? Here are some examples:
- I will swim laps 3 times a week for 20 minutes per session.
- I will drink at least 8 ounces of water, 8 times a day.
- During the next two months I will lose between 1-3 pounds a week, for a total loss of 10 pounds or more.
Step #3 – Avoid Using Absolutes
Although it’s important to write goals that are short, obtainable and measurable, be careful of using absolutes.
When you write with absolutes, you’re actually setting yourself up for failure.
For instance, if your goal is to include some form of cardio exercise three times a week, an absolute statement might be: I will do 30 minutes of cardio exercise every Mon., Wed. and Fri. from 6:00-6:30 AM.
With this statement, there is no flexibility. What happens if you wake up feeling ill on Wednesday morning and just can’t exercise? Yet, by 10:00 AM you’re feeling pretty well.
Write your goals with some flexibility. A better way to write this particular goal is: I will include 30 minutes of cardio exercise three times a week, preferably in the mornings.
Step #4 – Get Excited About Your Goals
Your mindset plays a huge role in the outcome of your goals. Instead of feeling overwhelmed or wondering if you have what it takes to achieve your goals, get excited about the challenge! Have faith in yourself and your determination.
Step #5 – Share Your Goals
Share your goals with those who will support you in your desire to achieve better health. If one of your goals is to eat healthier meals, then your family needs to know.
You might even need to be very specific and ask them not to leave bags of chips sitting out on the counter or to offer you a soda pop.
Step #6 – Monitor Your Goals
Keep a written copy of your goal where you can see it daily. Monitor how you’re doing with the goal.
You might want to chart your progress, make check marks or create a calendar where you can write your accomplishments on.
By monitoring your goals, it helps you stay on track and focused.
Step #7 – Celebrate Your Achievements
As you achieve each small goal, celebrate! Do something small for yourself, such as a movie night, a manicure, buying a new water bottle, etc.
Including small rewards will help keep your motivation going.
The more small goals that you conquer, the closer you are to achieve your ultimate goal! You’ll experience so many positive changes with your health along the way, and all your hard work and effort will be so worth it!
So let’s get started! Identify your big goal. Break it down into small measurable goals and begin right away!
Don’t wait until the weekend or next month–get started now! You can achieve whatever you set out to do!
And please share your goals with us. What is your ultimate goal and what is your plan of attack (your small measurable goals)?
As with all things in life, developing an exercise habit requires many adjustments. Exercise is not a short-term commitment and you have to make it a regular part of your life if you want to be successful with it.
Making some good decisions in the very beginning of your fitness journey can help you be successful over the long haul in creating an effective and consistent exercise habit.
Create an Exercise Appointment
Developing an Exercise Habit
The first step toward developing an exercise habit is choosing a very specific time of day to make your fitness appointment with yourself can ensure consistency. It will be much easier to get used to your schedule if you set the appointment, and don’t let any other distractions keep you from working out.
When you have a set plan that gives you the day, time, activity and duration of your activity, write it in your appointment book. That will help you to not “forget” what you’re supposed to be working out.
You might want to use a simple checklist that includes a minimum of five days of cardio and flexibility and a minimum of three days of strength training activities.
If you need help developing your plan, there are many wonderful on line resources that you can use as well as books and personal trainers.
Keep an Exercise Journal
The next step toward developing an exercise habit is to keep a journal of your schedule. This will include your successes and your failures to you can track your progress and look back on your journey.
Writing down what you are supposed to do can ensure that you take your exercise program seriously. It also creates a valid level of accountability to yourself.
As time goes on, you may need to have a bit of extra motivation to keep your program going and looking back on the small successes of the past can help you to create bigger successes for your future.
Create relationships with others is another way to get help in developing an exercise habit. People who use an exercise buddy, a trainer, or an online program that creates some accountability can help keep motivation levels up and the fitness routine on track.
Activities are easier to accomplish when there is someone else depending on you to show up at a scheduled appointment time.
Pick the Right Activities
Your success in developing an exercise habit is also dependent upon picking activities that you enjoy. If you’re having fun while you’re exercising, it will be a lot easier to get in your daily workout.
There are many ways to find fitness that are beyond the standard at home cardio DVD or a jog on a treadmill. People who find ways to enjoy a variety of activities usually find it easier to sustain the fitness program. The diversity also helps to maximize the effectiveness of the exercise.
Try Something New
Trying something new is another great way to get diversity into your exercise program, to make it easier to develop the habit.
Try some of these activities:
- Use a personal trainer to push your program up into a higher level of difficulty
- Enjoy group fitness classes to keep experiencing a variety of different formats
- Take on a boot camp
- Take off on a long hike, or bike ride for a great weekend activity
Your fitness habit can take you to new heights of life enjoyment.
The possibilities are endless and once you have succeeded in developing an exercise habit, the opportunities to experience interesting and entertaining exercise styles will present themselves much more easily.
Developing the Habit Is the Hardest Part
Developing an exercise habit is the hardest part, and you will find out that you will eventually find it harder to miss your scheduled exercise times because of the tremendous benefits you get from it.
Your emotional and physical well being will improve, you will enjoy better sleep and a higher level of relaxation as well as better health and physical condition.
Of course you will also look great to go along with feeling great. Taking the time to develop a life long exercise habit is well worth the effort.