It’s no surprise that the gym population grows in January and soon starts to dwindle in the following months.
Most people go into a new year thinking about a new self. We set resolutions about lifestyle changes – whether it be adding exercise, quitting bad habits or setting your sights on a new job, it’s going to take dedication to get there.
All to often what happens is we set our long term goals without thinking about all the steps in between that are going to get us there. When there is no preset plan, you set yourself up for a very bumpy and possibly messy path to reach your goals.
Has this ever happened to you? You set a weight loss goal for an important event in two months. The first few weeks you start out strong, drinking water, sticking to your caloric intake, incorporating exercise and you are feeling good. Then you step on the scale to see the same number from the week before and you get discouraged. Because you’re discouraged you have a cheat meal, that cheat meal feels like a good way to feel sorry for yourself and before you know it, that one cheat meals takes you totally off course for a week or more. You take a look at the calendar and realize the event is now only a couple weeks away and you are no where near your goal.
DEFEATED. DISAPPOINTED. DISCOURAGED.
Now let’s look at the same scenario in a slightly different way.
LONG TERM GOAL: Lose x amount of pounds in two months. (By the way, weight loss goals should never be more than 2lbs per week – so the MAXIMUM amount of loss assigned to a 2 month period should be 16 lbs – a more realistic goal would be 10 – 12 lbs. Click here to learn more about realistic losses.)
Instead of only focusing on the end result of let’s say a 10 pound loss over 8 weeks, set your mind to think about it one week at a time. What can you do THIS week to take a step towards your ultimate goal?
This week you can increase water consumption to 1/2 your body weight in ounces, you can track your calories, and you can incorporate exercise. Set some specific goals around those actions.
At the end of the week evaluate where you were with accomplishing those goals. If you achieved them – fantastic! You are inspired to take on week two and possibly even take your weekly goals to the next level. If you didn’t succeed, you can quickly evaluate where you failed, what changes you have to make and recommit to your goals. The end goal is still within reach and hope is not lost!
My point is, when we only focus on the end and not the steps in between it makes achieving our goals incredibly more challenging. Incremental accomplishments keep us motivated! Just the same as incremental failures give us the opportunity to reset more quickly than to completely give up on our goals and revert back to our old way of living.
Each week I encourage you to set 3 goals – each of which will lead to a healthier you:
- Nutritional – a goal surrounding tracking caloric intake, increasing fruit and veggie consumption, increasing water consumption, etc.
- Physical – go to the gym for 30 minutes at least 3 times a week, run a 5k in less than 30 minutes, complete 2 cardio workouts of 30 minutes and 3 resistance training workouts of 45 minutes
- Personal: go to bed at 10pm, read for 20 minutes every day, call a friend and invite them to coffee
There are important factors to consider when writing goals that I didn’t tap into today. To learn more about writing goals I encourage you to take the time to read these two blog posts:
- Am you ready to make the change?
- How will this change impact your quality of life?
- Are you willing to make this a lifestyle change?