Happy New Year! Around this time of the year, there is a lot of enthusiasm for health and fitness goals such as losing weight, getting back into shape, and feeling fit and healthy. With great ambition, individuals go on diets and detoxes, and fill up the gyms. But for the most part, as the weeks go on, eating habits return to normal and the number of dedicated gym-goers begin to dwindle.
The truth is, fitness and health isn’t a short term goal, it’s a lifestyle! There is more to it than getting a 6-pack or fitting into an outfit just once. If you find yourself repeatedly setting the same goals without making progress (“this will finally be the year!”) then check out these steps to stay motivated and on track!
Set a specific, long term goal
Write it down somewhere accessible as a constant reminder of why you’re doing what you’re doing! (i.e. fitness competition, race, wedding, special event, birthday etc).
Own it and believe it
Write two notes to yourself: one about how important your goal is to you and how it will make you feel when you achieve it; and another one about how you would feel if you never accomplished it. Reading your own words gives you ownership of your thoughts and actions, and is effective in helping you through tough moments.
Hire a coach
Invest in a personal trainer and nutritionist to teach you the tools that you need to succeed. A qualified practitioner empowers you to make better decision, answers questions or concerns, helps you get results, and supports you on your journey.
Set daily, weekly, and monthly goals
Break it down to smaller actions to guide you on your path toward your long term goal. It’s important to fine-tune your schedule as to not get overwhelmed. Change or add one thing at a time; there is no need to go from one extreme to another. This practice isn’t sustainable or effective in the long term.
Organize a calendar and a budget
Plan out a schedule to include obligations, errands and when to work out. Then incorporate when to grocery shop and when to food prep. It can be an efficient experience if you plan ahead! Also, be kind to yourself. Remember that life happens and there will be times when you have to be creative and just deal with a situation that may not have gone exactly according to plan.
Track your progress
Take pictures or keep a journal (written or video). You won’t recognize your own progress until you look back and realize how far you’ve come!
The first few weeks are the hardest, but with will and determination, habits start to form and soon working towards your goal will become part of your lifestyle.
Collect motivational material
Gather things that inspires you (quotes, pictures, videos). Set aside some time daily or weekly to look them over and rekindle your fire if it’s starting to fizzle.
Surround yourself with positive people
Surround yourself with a good support system. If your issue is that you’re lacking the motivation to get to the gym or to eat healthier, find a buddy or invest in a qualified coach. This helps you stay accountable since you’re now answering to another person as well as to yourself.
Park it or use it
Take negative remarks and criticisms and use them as fuel. Don’t let your own negative thoughts, or outside noise affect you and deter you from your goal. Deal with what has been expressed; apply it if will benefit you or forget about it if it doesn’t help you. How you handle it is up to you!
Don’t make excuses
Sometimes it is hard, and there will be inevitable moments of wanting to quit and giving up in defeat. But don’t make excuses, don’t give up, keep persevering, and remind yourself that if you give up on your goal, you’re letting yourself down the most. At this point go back to the notes you wrote yourself and remember why you’re making all of this effort in the first place. Is it really to get fit into an outfit? Or is it the fabulous confidence you will feel and the awesome energy you will have? So you may be tired, working long hours, have a lot on your plate etc…but remember, it’s a commitment to yourself.
Have fun and practice balance
It’s about balancing various roles and obligations and dealing with the inevitable obstacles. Balance needs and wants not only for yourself, but also to be a positive force to other people in your life. If it’s not fun, it’s not worth it! When it comes to health and fitness, one size does NOT fit all. Get out of your comfort zone, try new things, find your groove, enjoy the journey, and enjoy the satisfaction of accomplishing a goal that may have once seemed too far fetched. Anything is possible with a good plan, strong work ethic, and positive attitude! Even after accomplishing your goal, you’ve changed your life for the better; the habits you have formed are now a part of your lifestyle. Congratulations for prioritizing your greatest wealth: your health!