New Year, New Goals
But if you're like most of these people, previous years have you starting strong on your healthy journey only to slowly and surely fizzle out before the snow even begins to melt.
And those years of failed resolutions have left you only with new ways to feel guilt. But not this year. Nope, this is your year! Your year to make fitness goals and stick with them. Your year to get healthy and stay healthy. Find out the best ways to stay motivated all the way from January through December and beyond!
WRITE IT DOWN!
There's something to be said about putting your ideas, goals, and aspirations down on paper. It's much easier to tweak things around in your brain, but a little harder to renege when those goals are in front of you in a more tangible form. Especially if you follow the advice of the University of Virginia and get "SMART" when writing them down.1
According to U of V your goals should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results-focused, and Time-bound. So if you want to stick with this new year, new you mantra you need to ditch the vague goals like simply, "lose weight" for things that are more specific like, "Lose 5 pounds by Valentine's Day." Whatever your end goal is, get really specific about what it is and about the steps you will need to take to get there and keep your progress once you do.
LITTLE BY LITTLE
It's great to think big and reach for the stars, but if you actually want to make it your goal, it's a good idea to schedule a few pit stops along the way. When we make those big goals that won't be attainable until the distant future, it can be really easy to get overwhelmed and throw in the towel before ever getting there. Try breaking things up with some mini goals for yourself along the way and celebrate these small wins.
Let's say your big goal is to enter a fitness competition. Awesome! But you're not just going to go straight from the couch to the stage, so you might not want to just write down "Bikini Bod Extravaganza" surrounded with glitter stars and call it good. Write down your new goals for the journey along the way. If you're new to the fitness bandwagon your first goal might be to start going to the gym 3-4 times per week. Once you feel good about that, make a goal to meal prep every Sunday. Then add the next step. Get the picture? Slowly build on your goal little by little. Take things in manageable pieces and pretty soon you'll see your body and lifestyle changing.
DON'T SWEAT IT
We all have those days when making it to the gym just isn't going to happen. The kids are sick, there's a big deadline at work, whatever could go wrong is going wrong. Or maybe you forgot to meal prep and now the only thing you have on hand is a snickers bar from the nearest vending machine. The truth is that you're human which means that you're going to slip up from time to time. Do your best to schedule and prepare but don't beat yourself up if you do fall short on some days.
It's only failure if you stop working towards your goals. So you had a rough day? That's ok. Tomorrow, dust yourself off, grab a green smoothie, and commit to a new start. The goal is to change your lifestyle and that means you have to fit in actual living and learning how to roll with things when they don't fit in with the plan. A healthy lifestyle is not something that you can make or break in a single day. Take things one day at a time and don't sweat if today just didn't go quite the way you had hoped. One bad meal or even one entire bad day isn't going to sink the ship. Keep going!
THE BUDDY SYSTEM
Have a friend who is already really good at getting to the gym or know someone that also wants to start on the path towards better health and fitness in the new year? Don't be afraid to buddy up. Not only is it more fun when you're working on a goal with a friend, it's also a lot easier to stay accountable when you know someone else is waiting for you and counting on you to help them acheive their own goals.2
Think about how many times you've kept pushing the snooze button or kept your butt firmly planted on the couch when you had planned to do some kind of exercise. The excuses come so easily when the only one counting on you is, well, you. Having someone that's also getting up, going out, and waiting for you if often the kick in the rear you need to stay motivated and stay active. And having a friend makes that feeling of awkwardness when you're new to the gym a lot easier to brush off.
Start by talking with your friend about what each of you want to get out of your fitness routine. Pick a program that you are both excited about and you may even want to plan out meals together until you get the hang of it. Make working out fun (maybe even a little competitive) and you might find that even those super early morning workouts will be something you can look forward to.
FIND YOUR "WHY"
Why do you want to get healthier in the first place? Whatever the reason is, figure out what better health would mean to you. You may want to have more confidence, feel better in your clothes, have more energy to do the things you want, or want to be a better example to your friends and family. Having not only a clear goal but also a clear reason for the goal can help you focus in on what matters most to you and give you the drive to continue working for the goal.3
Anytime you feel like giving up on your goals, simply revisit your why. Revisit the reasons that you want better health and fitness for yourself. Revisit what achieving your goal would mean for you. Doing this can help you regain your motivation and help you keep moving forward.
RECOMMENDED FOR YOU
- Writing S.M.A.R.T. Goals UHR, Employee Development.
- 5 Good Reasons Why You Should Work out with Your Friends Running&Fitness. 2015
- Margie Warrell. Do You Know Your "Why?" 4 Questions To Find Your Purpose Forbes.com. 2013