We are closing in on another round of New Year’s resolutions. Maybe the annual ritual of hopefulness doesn’t feel so hopeful because it reminds you of all the times you’ve promised to get in shape – but didn’t. Don’t fret, it is okay to feel hopeful in spite of past failures. This is a brand new year, give yourself a break. Besides, you are unlikely to do better by making yourself feel worse. Instead, forgive yourself for past fitness failures; set small, measurable goals and begin again. You can do this.
Change your mind
Why is it that most of us focus so much of what we think about on what we get wrong and so little on what we get right? Sure, it is important to reflect on and look for places to improve but it is also helpful to have some perspective. For example: maybe you didn’t lose ten pounds but you did lose two. That means you are great at getting started; you can lose weight and might just need to give some thought to the kinds of support you need to stick with your fitness plan.
Write a win list
I’ve read that if something has been done, it can be done. It can be useful to apply that philosophy to life. Think about the mindset or skills you need to nail your fitness goals. Some that come to mind are determined, organized, supported, motivated and responsible. Now think about a time when you have used those same skills for another big accomplishment. Maybe you polished these skills when you finished school, managed a big project at work, planned a funeral or organized a fundraiser. You know you have what it takes; you have only to muster the emotional resources you have used in other places to support you in accomplishing your fitness goals. You already have what it takes.
Fitness isn’t just about jean size. It is about how you feel and how healthy you are. If you aren’t back to the size you were twenty years ago but your blood pressure is improved – count that as a win. If you feel less stressed, have more energy or are sleeping better – your fitness plan is a success no matter what the scale says.
Keep a journal
Use your journal to record and monitor SMART goals. For a beginner this is how a SMART goal might look:
- Specific – I will train to finish a 5k
- Measurable – I will train for at least 30 minutes three times per week.
- Achievable – I will walk the race and plan to finish in less than one hour.
- Relevant – (Why the goal is important) I choose a 5k because I enjoy training outdoors, I want to support the cause and it is a fun way to get in some exercise.
- Time-bound – I will start training this Saturday and complete the race in 6 to 8 weeks – about the time it takes a beginner to adequately prepare.
Decide right now to stop beating yourself for your so called failed fitness goals. Take what you learned from past efforts, pat yourself on the back for being willing to start over, tweak your plan and begin again.