Ah … the new year. So much promise and excitement! I am one of the 45% of Americans that makes a resolution; I like to call it my annual goal. I target things I want to see more of (or less of) to have a healthy and happy life full of spirit and happiness. I try to set in place ways to decrease stress and anxiety, as well as create opportunities for adventure and to connect with myself and others … simple, right?
Fitness goals are interesting, because they are very intimate and personal. They mean different things to different people and are challenging by nature. Waking up before the sunrise can be hard, especially if you only gave yourself six hours of sleep or ate a heavy meal the night before (or if you haven’t eaten anything). If you want to lose weight, your efforts need to be consistent. And if you want to start a new habit, you need to have a plan in place for your success. I’m not selling it, am I?
As part of the Team Better team, you have already taken a big step toward good health and making goals to achieve it. I’m here to keep it real and set you up for what’s to come. This may be my longest blog, but I hope this helps you to succeed. In fact, write your goal for this week on the Team Better message board. I’ll be checking in to see comments and questions. My handle is MamaChi — I will help you along the way.
Step one to achieving your goal: Set the compass
What is your fitness goal … exactly? Where do you want to be in a year and WHY? Your goal should be personal and for you, and not for anyone else. Make it real and be honest. If you read Jen’s Nutrition Goal about setting SMART goals, you know that writing your goals in black and white sets the stage. Make them specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely. Be in charge of your own future and dreams: think it, feel it, own it.
Goal: Lose weight
If you are trying to lose weight, be careful to specify exactly what you are going to do differently. Just saying you are going to lose weight isn’t enough. If you aren’t sure how to accomplish it, adding strength training twice a week is a good start. Losing weight is part fitness and part nutrition, so be sure to make an eating goal as well. Take a moment and reflect on your vision and write out what you will change. Be realistic with your weight loss: losing 1-2 pounds a week is a healthy and achievable weight loss goal.
Goal: Exercise more
If you want to exercise more this year, look for something you enjoy, like surfing, biking, yoga or walking. Maybe your first step is to ‘learn’ or ‘sign up’ for an event. Do it this week. Be careful not to throw money to the wind and invest heavily in something that may not work for you. Most sports don’t cost a lot — you don’t need the fancy bike or new snowboard. Borrow, beg and steal (just kidding, don’t steal). And then set yourself some milestone moments — sign up for a 5k walk/run at a cool location, visit a new surf spot, invite friends for spin class together. Whatever you do, make it fun and exciting.
Here are the recommended guidelines for exercise to get health benefits from the American College of Sports Medicine, the guru’s in the fitness industry.
New to strength training? Here are some strength training tips to get you on the right path or add some variety to your current program.
Step two: What are you going to do today? This week?
This goes back to your SMART goal — make it timely. Setting your goal into motion is tricky. When you are writing this goal you are comfortable, warm, relaxed. But when it’s time to workout, it doesn’t always feel so fun. Make the first few steps … well, slightly challenging, but doable. For example, if adding more strength training is a goal, schedule time to go to the local gym this week to see the schedule. That is a great start. If you are not a gym person, do 10 pushups, 10 squats, and 20 seconds of plank every day this week. BAM! The biggest step to working out is putting into motion.
Be careful about saying you are going to the gym for an hour tomorrow. You are going to wake up the next day unable to move, cursing me and everything around you. Start with little bite-size bits — something you can do in 5-10 minutes. The biggest excuse for not working out? “I have no time” and “I have no energy”… you have five minutes and the workout will give you energy. There.
Write on your calendar when you are going to work out and if (when) you run out of time, take whatever time you can. Then put your workout clothes on. Don’t think too long or you will change your own mind.
If this is the year you want to run a half or full marathon, here is some running tips to take your 5K to marathon status.
Step three: Believe
You can do this. It will get hard, you will be tired. This is real and challenging, but I guarantee you, you will feel better, sleep better, have more energy and yes … you WILL look and feel better.
Here are some of our own Team Better writers sharing their fitness goals:
Kara, (TB Social/Mental/Emotional Wellness Writer) is a runner and does 3-4 miles a few times a week. She would like to up her game and go for a half marathon (13 miles) this year. She plans to recruit friends to join her on this journey.
Jen (TB Nutrition Writer) is also adding strength training into her weekly routine. She plans to do 30 minutes of strength training three times a week.
Dana (TB Social/Mental/Emotional Wellness Writer) is a total copycat, and is adopting Jen’s goal as her own. Except she is also more of a slacker … she will do 30 minutes of strength training only twice a week instead of three times.
My goals for this year:
- Bring lunch to work three times a week to help my wallet. This is a long term goal for financial peace. Last year I managed to come out credit card debt free, check on my accounts daily, open all my mail weekly and cut out a lot of extras. It’s given me a lot of peace.
- Be polite, but not too polite. Know when to say no and don’t feel bad about it.
- Keep kicking butt on my mountain bike. Improving my weaknesses and the pushing limits on my strengths.