As the new year begins, your exercise program deserves a reboot. A fresh start gives hopes of new beginnings, and when it comes to your fitness, you should take a closer look at how your program is currently set up and how successful you were in the past year. Hopefully you reached all or most of your fitness goals, but if not, you have a brand new chance to succeed in your exercise program. Here are some keys to succeed in your exercise program and make sure this year is your most fit and healthy year ever.
Get A Plan. Whether you accomplished or fell short of your fitness goals in the past, chances are you set a number of goals you felt you could accomplish. This is good, but setting goals is not the same thing as having a plan. A plan is a very specific way of ensuring that all your efforts are directed at achieving all the goals you set. Too often, exercisers will set goals with no real idea of how they plan on getting to the finish line. This is why you must have a plan. Don’t have a plan for the sake of having a plan. For instance, don’t tell yourself, “I plan on losing weight by eating less.”. That’s a good goal, and eating less can definitely help you lose weight, but you need to map out exactly how you plan on eating less. Otherwise, you are going through the motions and arbitrarily eating less, but without any real idea of the number of calories entering your body vs. the number you are burning off on a daily basis. Try this instead: set a large goal first. Now formulate a plan for carrying out the goal. Set smaller, more attainable landmarks to reach at checkpoints along the way. Write them all down. Stick to your mission by always looking at and reflecting about your final fitness goals and the plan to get you there.
- Get Your Mind Prepared. Succeeding in your exercise program is as much mental as is it physical. You are going to have to push yourself physically to accomplish the plan you set, and only your mind is going to get in the way. You are going to feel tired, hungry, and unmotivated as some point in your exercise program. This is where mental toughness takes over and convinces the body it is capable of accomplishing what you never thought you could do before. This is easier said than done, because the pain of changing your life can often be more than you are used to or more than you think you can handle. If your mind is not used to overcoming the negative feelings of the body, it will be tough. Mental toughness is a a daily exercise in itself. Tell yourself every day with optimism that you can and will succeed in your exercise program.
- 3. Take Baby Steps. If you truly want to succeed in your exercise program, you can’t get there in one giant leap. You have to take baby steps. This doesn’t mean you can give in to laziness or fatigue at the first sign of distress and chalk it up to “taking a baby step”. You still have to push yourself, but if you handle it right, you can take small strides to make the big jump much easier. This is precisely why you set small, attainable goals. At each point, celebrate the progress you’ve made so far and move on to the next small goal. Eventually your plan will work and you will reach your fitness goals! Now it’s time to set more goals and formulate a new plan!