Happy (belated) New Year!
The holidays are over. We ate, we drank, we may have put on, hmm… 4 pounds? (I swear I didn’t peer over your shoulder when you were on the scale a couple of weeks ago). That is the average weight gain between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve. “Yikes!” is right!
So, January 1st hits, and..
“Oh my gosh! It’s a new year! No more parties. I need to lose this weight!”
The guilt sets in and the resolutions are set; drink more water, lose 10 pounds, firm up my butt, tone my arms, start taking Zumba classes, eat more veggies…!
Many people I speak with in January typically resolve to “be healthier” or become “more fit.” I hear, “I’m going to workout every single day,” “I’m giving up alcohol for the month of January” or, “I’m giving up sugar.” OK, so then what? What happens if you get sick the second week in January and cannot workout? What happens in February when you start having drinks again? Are you really going to say “NO” to having a piece of your child’s birthday cake? People set these goals with the best of intentions, only to set the same goals again the following year. We try to follow healthy lifestyle habits like getting enough sleep (8 hours, by the way), eating a healthy diet and getting plenty of exercise, yet we may not have the time in our schedule or have a strong enough will-power to implement a balanced and healthy lifestyle. Becoming “healthier” or “fitter” isn’t going to happen in one month or even in three months!
My words of wisdom: Be realistic! Set an achievable goal for yourself. Do NOT stress about it! We have enough stress in our lives as it is, stress causes weight gain and that would be well, quite the contradiction, now wouldn’t it? Unfortunately, by February every year, about 90% of people have given up their good intentions to finally lose weight and get healthy.
My challenge to you is this: even if you have broken your resolution, don’t give up on it! Get back in the saddle and re-focus. Set some new goals (or, reset the same goal) and figure out how you’re going to achieve those goals. Having clear and concise fitness goals makes it easier to achieve your healthiest you!
I have officially challenged you, but here’s the catch; I am going to give you some tools to help you succeed at this challenge! Following the well-known and simple, S.M.A.R.T. techniques of goal setting, here is how you are going to do it:
1. Be Specific About Your Fitness Goal and ask yourself these questions:
Who is involved? (hint: YOU! and, possibly your trainer?)
What do I want to accomplish? Be specific! “I want to lose 5 pounds in one month.”
How are you going to do this? “I need to eat at least one serving of veggies per meal, drink 10 glasses of water per day, eat lean proteins, exercise 60 minutes per day, 5 days per week.”
Why is this important to you? Give specific reasons, purposes or benefits of accomplishing the goal. “So I can turn 45 feeling energetic, fit and beautiful!”
2. Make Your Goal Measurable:
There are many ways to measure and track your progress once setting fitness goals. Weight, body fat %, BMI and circumference measurements are some of the most commonly used forms of measurement. Some others I tell clients to be aware of is how their favorite pair of jeans are fitting, how they feel when carrying grocery bags from the car into the house or how they feel after walking up a flight of stairs.
When you can see all of your hard work paying off, you will feel the excitement of staying on track and being successful and will, in turn, stay motivated to work toward a new goal each month!
3. Set Attainable Goals:
Like I mentioned earlier, and very important to remember while goal setting, is to not set goals that are unattainable or too long-term. For example; “I want to lose 20 pounds in 1 month” is not only unattainable, but you are already setting yourself up for failure.
4. The Goal Should be Relevant, or Realistic:
Start where you are, and increase your goals accordingly. Set attainable goals, but not goals that are so easy, you won’t feel any satisfaction once hitting them. You may not be able to lose 20 lbs in one month, but you could set a goal to lose 20 lbs in 4 months as long as your plan to get there is realistic (ie: losing 4-5lbs/month). Only you truly know what is realistic for you.
5. Set Time-Based Goals:
No goal makes much sense unless you attach a timeframe to it. This is the “…in one month” part of the goal statement. Without a time line there is a tendency to procrastinate or get bored. Limiting the time you have to accomplish a goal will spark a sense of urgency for you that will keep you on track.
Finally, after your health/fitness goal is set and you have laid out how you are going to achieve that goal, write it ALL down! Hang it somewhere you will see it every single day; on the bathroom mirror, on your bulletin board in your office and/or on the fridge. For many of my clients, I create a monthly calendar showing what their measurements were at the beginning of the month, what each day looks like for exercise/rest, when our sessions are scheduled, what their fitness goal is and a reminder that measurements will be re-taken at the end of the month (so no slacking!) Sample Fitness Goal Calendar
Don’t worry if you fell into the “Resolution Rut!” Climb on out of there and set some S.M.A.R.T goals this time! Good luck and stay focused!