Fitness Planning and Goal Setting
By Samantha Clayton
Let me help you start the year with a new and positive approach to feeling good about yourself and achieving your desired body composition. I want you to take your mind away from the idea of starting the year with a new diet, tryi1 the latest fad exercise or attempting to overhaul your entire lifestyle. Instead, commit to making small changes so that you succeed and maintain your hard-earned results in the long term. A new, healthy, active lifestyle routine should become just that: a lifestyle.
Let me help you set goals, create an achievable activity plan and adopt a positive mental attitude so that your small changes will become a habit and natural part of your day.
Here is my THREE-STEP approach to ensure you get your year started with success on your mind.
Step 1: Set Goals
When thinking about your goals, make sure that you keep them simple but specific. Begin with an achievable and tangible goal. Deciding to “get fit” is pretty abstract, so try to quantify what you want to do. Maybe you want to walk outside for at least 10 minutes every day or be fit enough to 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 then write it down. Be honest with yourself about why you want to improve. In my experience, once you put it down on paper it becomes real.
- Do you need to get fit? Why?
- Do you need an energy boost? Why?
- Do you have extra pounds to lose? Why?
Your “why” will help you understand how you can best meet your goal. For example, if you put down that you need to get fit because you want to have more energy play with your kids, then it makes sense to build up your activity levels by involving your children. You could race 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. Running is good for you, but if you dislike it then chances are you’ll suddenly find an old closet to clean out instead. Choose an activity you enjoy. With so many options to choose from, I’m sure you’ll find something that you can look forward to each week.
Step 2: Keep a Positive Mental Attitude
Take a positive approach toward 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 often lead to big changes in lifestyle. So if you’re thinking about making some changes, make one right now. Write it down and implement it immediately.
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.
Step 3: Plan Your Fitness
Make time in your daily schedule to get active. Your aim if you are just getting started is to try and do 30 minutes of exercise three days of the week. If you can’t find a full 30 minutes in your schedule, aim to do five or 1O minutes during the day.
You have to start somewhere and every second counts. In order 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 toward. 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. Try to 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.
Samantha Clayton, Director, Worldwide Fitness Education Herbalife Corporation, is a former competitive sprinter, A FAA and ISSA certified trainer, holds a degree in applied chemistry and is a proud mother of four.
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