This article is all about how to set yourself up for success before you even get started. So many times, I hear of people that have the best intensions but they do not take the proper steps to ensure that they are set up to succeed. Having these things in place will stack the deck in your favor in 2019!
This is a very basic step that many still miss or do not do correctly. First off, write your goals down. On paper. With a pen. Somewhere you will look at them. Its easy to make goals in your head or to put them in a notepad on your phone and never look at them again. Make a goal, check it often, adjust as needed and continue to improve. When you make a goal, I’m sure most of you have heard of SMART goals. SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time bound.
I will quickly go through some of the common mistakes that are made with goal setting. These are all things that I have done in the past and am trying to continue to work through with you! People will set the goal to become healthy or to lose weight. These are goals, but they are far from SMART. You must be specific with your goal. What makes someone healthy? How much weight do you want to lose? Can you be more specific? Do you want to complete a 5k? How can you make it more specific to hold yourself accountable?
Measurable is to make it so you have a subjective way to measure your progress. This make it a simple yes or no when you ask yourself “did I achieve my goal?” Just make sure think of the method to measure your goal. (Weight, inches, seconds)
Making goals achievable is why it is so important to make goals with a professional or friend. The goal to lose 50 pounds in 2 months is a specific goal to have. The problem is, that this is a very hard goal to attain. Not only is it a lofty goal, but it is also unhealthy to lose that much weight in that amount of time. A healthy weight loss is between 2-3 pounds a week which is 8-12lbs a month. There for, an attainable goal for this much weight loss would be about 5 months, not 2. You want your goals to be difficult to achieve, but you don’t want to set a goal that you can’t achieve in the set amount of time.
Making a goal relevant is fairly easy. Your health and fitness goals should have to do with health and fitness…that’s what they are there for. Also, make them relevant to your life. If you hate running, don’t make a goal to run a marathon next year. This may be a great lifetime goal, but its not for everyone. Don’t make a goal that you won’t enjoy achieving.
Time based is the last aspect and another one that most people often overlook. Setting a time for your goal is a way to keep you on track and keep you motivated. A deadline is a great motivator and it is a good way for you and anyone that knows your goal to keep you on task. Have an end point for all of the goals you make.
Make a schedule. Put it in your phone. Set alarms. All of these things will help keep you on track and on task with your goals. Sit down and plan out how you can attain your goals. Don’t set your workout time in the morning if you HATE working out then. Don’t set yourself up with built in excuses. Don’t pick a time to focus on fitness that you typically have meetings at work or time with your kids. You can make time for all of the aspects of your life with proper planning ahead of time. Once you have a routine set, it becomes easier and easier to commit the time to this aspect of life.
Getting together with a healthcare professional when you create a schedule can set you up for success. At the beginning, everyone is hyped and wanting to give 110%! You make room in your schedule to work out 3 hours a day for 7 days in a week! You crush the first week! Then, fatigue sets in, you skip a workout. You slowly begin to slip back into your old routine and next thing you know, you are back to where you started. Be smart with the way you ramp up activity. Not only will this keep you motivated for the long haul, but it will keep you from getting injured and derailing the whole process before it begins. If you came from sitting off the couch, start just by walking a few days a week for 30 minutes and then slowly increase from there. A professional in the health and wellness field is your best bet to help accomplish this.
When you feel that you will let someone else down, it makes it much harder to ignore your alarm at 7am. Find a friend (or group) that wants to improve them self too. It is easier to have a friend that is at the same activity level as you but it’s not necessary. I have worked out with individuals that are more fit than myself or less fit and you can still be motivated from both perspectives. This doesn’t mean you have to post pictures of your entire journey on social media (although you can if you would like to) but having a group to share your ups and downs with makes the process much more enjoyable. You can gain motivation from them and you can feel the motivation they will gain from you.
These are just a few aspects to set yourself up for success before you even start on the journey to improve ALL of your goals in 2019!
Ian is a Certified Athletic Trainer and Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. Comment below to interact and ask questions.