Create attainable fitness goals this year with these tips for success.
Write it down, make it happen
There is a book with this title and several studies show it is good advice. Writing things down gives us a better connection to the goal through a process called encoding. It begins with vividly visualizing the goal and continues with writing it down. Writing out your goals makes them more real, rather than just fleeting thoughts. Moreover, it is easier to be specific (a key to success) when you write it down.
You’ve likely seen this advice many times before and it bears repeating. Make your goals:
Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound. It is tough to be successful when your goals are vague. Instead, commit to what you will do, when you will do, why it matters that you do it and when you will do it by. For example – rather than say you will exercise more, say you will walk three mornings weekly for 30 minutes. Your why might be to relieve stress or lower your blood pressure. You can use a calendar or training log to record your walk days as a way of measuring progress. You can also use feedback from your healthcare provider. It is a good idea to set goals for a week or two at a time. Adjusting them, based on your progress and what is happening in your life, makes them more meaningful.
Plan in real time
Review your goals regularly. Use your calendar to schedule exercise so other obligations don’t get in the way. Try to do this at least two weeks in advance.
All or nothing thinking can sabotage success. Just because you don’t have 30 minutes to exercise does not mean you should skip it. Do what you can because it all adds up. Maybe you can do 10 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes at night. Can’t get to the gym? Why not do some mountain climbers, lunges and jumping jacks at home. Refuse to take excuses from yourself.
If childcare challenges or injury derailed your goals in the past, think about how you can side-strep trouble this time. Can you trade off childcare with a friend or join a gym that offers it? Can you include rest-days or cross-training to avoid injury? When facing a fitness challenge be creative instead of quitting.
To make goals attainable, make them matter. Ultimately, when your why is meaningful enough the how is easier. Goals are attainable when you care more about achieving them than whatever might get in your way.