It’s very exciting to sit down and plan out exercise goals, especially around milestones such as a birthday or the New Year. Exercise resolutions are made with good intentions and most of us try hard the first week or so to live up to our vows. Unfortunately, a day or two may pass when we are too busy or too tired to keep up the routine. When this happens, it is easy to fall off of the exercise wagon – and it’s even easier to stay off the wagon and not get back on!
Set realistic exercise goals
No one has a magic wand to make your fitness dreams come true. If you are serious about wanting to make some changes in your health and appearance, make sure you set realistic exercise goals. If you don’t, you are just setting yourself up to fail. Here are some things to consider when you begin to map-out your exercise resolutions:
Limit your resolutions
Don’t try to make multiple changes all at one time. Think about your fitness and exercise goals and decide which ones are the most important to you. Begin with those and add a new resolution every few weeks. If you make too many resolutions, you will be spreading yourself (and your willpower) too thin. Having too many resolutions almost guarantees that you won’t achieve any of them. You’ll become overwhelmed and the chances are high that you’ll give up on them all.
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Constantly re-evaluate your resolutions
Look at the exercise and fitness resolutions you have decided to begin with and make sure they are realistic. Large goals can often seem too difficult to reach and this is a leading reason why people quit exercising and dieting. Set smaller goals, instead. For instance, instead of vowing to lose 50 pounds, vow to lose 5-10 pounds at a time. Reaching these smaller goals can give you the motivation to continue. When you add a new goal, re-evaluate it so that it is doable. For instance, if you plan to add a three mile walk to your exercise regimen, perhaps start at one and work your way up.
Give it time
Did you know that it takes about 3 weeks, or 21 days, to break a bad habit and/or start creating new habit? Allow yourself time to adjust to the changes that you are making. Also, if you have a set back, know that bumps along the way are normal. Don’t let these bumps detour you over into the ditch. Don’t give up. Start fresh the next day and don’t look back.
Change is a part of life. The goals you make this month may need to change six months from now. The key to dealing with change is deciding that no matter what life throws at you, you will be flexible and find a way to stick to your resolve – even if it means making some minor changes in how you are working towards your resolutions.
You have the power!
Only you can make the commitment to change your life. The opposite is also true. Only you can stop yourself from working toward your goals. Accept this. When you find you are offering yourself excuses for why you aren’t working towards your fitness and exercise goals, you won’t be allowed to kid yourself into believing your own excuses.
Focus on the positive
If you have an exercise set back, don’t beat yourself up. For instance, if you didn’t go to the gym when you had planned, instead of focusing on what you didn’t do, think of all those days you did go to the gym. You will reach your fitness and exercise goals easier if you focus on your achievements instead of your setbacks.
Don’t go it alone!
The fact is, to achieve some resolutions the help of a professional may be required. Sometimes friends, family and our own determination isn’t enough. Whether you need the help of a personal trainer, nutritionist, counsellor, support group, doctor or other professional, research studies have shown that having professional assistance greatly improves success rates.
When you have reached a mini-milestone, reward yourself. The key to rewarding yourself is to make sure your reward is not something that may hinder your work. For instance, instead of eating a box of cookies as a reward for losing 10 pounds, buy a book, get a massage or go somewhere special. Make your rewards personal and pleasurable.
Recommended reading on exercise goals
For more information and advice on fitness and exercise goals, take a look at the following books:
Boot Camp Fitness for All Shapes and Sizes: Complete Manual to Exceed Your Goals
The Magic of Believing: The Science of Setting Your Goal and Then Reaching It
Skinny Bitchin’: A “Get Off Your Ass” Journal to Help You Achieve Your Goals and Rock Your World!
The Never Say Diet Personal Fitness Trainer: 16 Weeks to Achieve Your Goal of a Healthy Lifestyle
A Diet Journal to Keep You Focused on Your Weight-Loss Goals