New Years is right around the corner and everyone is ready for a fresh start. Everyone that begins this new journey has great intentions in improving their lives, unfortunately many people do not succeed because they take on too much at once. Overloading yourself with too much can lead to more stress and unsuccessful goals, though we want to own the new year and get summer ready, we lose track of our goals or end up balancing one too many plates in each hand. I will provide you with five tips that I have used for the past few years that has helped me and many other people become successful in their goals.
When you see a beautiful large home, we look in amazement of the structure, size, and the beauty of it, we don’t think about what it looked like before, we only see the finished product. We neglect the idea of all the work that was put in to build this house and the investment it took for it to look this way. This goes hand in hand with fitness goals, we often want to see the bigger picture before we even have our paint brushes ready. Remember that the house we are admiring was not built in one day, so take the time to start slow and learn that the process is long, but rewarding once it is finish.
When you begin to start your journey to a healthier lifestyle remember that small wins will lead to bigger victories. If you haven’t exercised in a long time and decide to join a gym and intend to go five to seven days a week for an hour or more, you will end up burning yourself out far too soon. Instead make it a goal to go two days a week, once that begins to become easier then move forward to going three, four, maybe five times a week. Start with only a half hour maybe even 20 minutes, the easier you make it for yourself to get to the gym, the easier it will be for you to stay more committed.
It’s challenging to start off small because we are eager and filled with high energy to crush our goals for the new year, but keep in mind that you need to meet yourself where you are at. Taking the time to check your ego at the door and not compete with others will help you own your fitness goals for 2017. Don’t worry about what everyone else is doing, they all have different goals and backgrounds compared to you. The hare lost the race against the tortoise because he went too fast too soon, be the tortoise and take your time, so you can also be victorious.
Set S.M.A.R.T. goals
Smart goals are an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely. This is how you specifically determine your goals and when you are going to achieve them. Understanding the importance of smart goals will help guide you in understanding what your goals are and more importantly what time frame you have to meet these expectations. Smart goals are what lead to healthy and realistic successful outcomes, knowing how to use them will be crucial in the longevity of staying committed.
Let’s say you want to lose weight, well how much weight do you want to lose, give a specific number you have in mind that way you know exactly how much you want to lose. Tracking the progress of achieving this goal, is how you know it’s measurable, this will allow for you to track the amount of weight you lose each month. Having a goal that is attainable will make it easier for it to be achievable, it should be something challenging, but something within reach. Saying you want to lose 20 pounds in a week is not a realistic goal, but saying you are going to lose five pounds a month is a realistic goal; make sure you goal is within reason. Lastly, when will you achieve this goal, having a specific date in mind will help you with being timely on your goals.
Avoid quick fix schemes
I cannot stress this subject enough, there are a lot of people who will try to sell you magic pills, wraps, life changing supplements, and cleanses that’ll leave your body purified from toxins, that aren’t going to help you longer term. A majority of these companies and distributors are in it to make money, they use different marketing schemes to draw you in. Often times these quick fixes are harmful towards the body, and are very expensive, with little to no long-term results. The distributors of these products usually have names such as “wellness coach” or “cleanse coach”, there are credible wellness coaches out there with credible certifications, but the “wellness coaches” that are offering you a 30-day cleanse, usually aren’t.
These quick fix schemes get your attention by saying “I lost this amount of weight in my first week” or “I made over six figures this year by selling this product”, both of these are red flags for you to avoid. Though both sound very appealing, it usually does come at a cost either your health or your finances. Having the fitness market flooded with all sorts of products and companies make it overwhelming to try and find information on proper nutrition. I highly recommend visiting www.precisionnutrition.com and checking out their blog, they provide information on healthy eating, habit changing, and a lot of great content revolving real nutrition advice.
Instead of having these quick fixes consume you, try making it a goal to fix the problem, rather than to put a band aid over it. Begin to slowly introduce small habits into your daily life, one that I always love to use when people ask me about nutrition is to have them start by eating one cup of vegetables a day, they can anything else they want, as long as they have that one cup a day for a week. This introduces something that they are not used to, but it doesn’t take anything away, as time goes on we build off that one habit to form other habits. A book I highly recommend getting is called The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg, this book covers the way habits work, and how we can fix them.
When you begin to start going to the gym again, do not overload yourself by going every day, instead try going only two or three times a week. This will help you get started with forming the habit of going to the gym and it being less daunting. You want to make sure that your training sessions only go for about an hour, a little over is okay, anything more than that you begin to over tax the nervous system, become more fatigued (technique isn’t as good), you lose interest in training, and it just becomes too time consuming. We want results that will stay long term, so make sure that you don’t over train by spending too much time at the gym.
Do not punish yourself with exercise ever! Exercise should be a fun and rewarding, not an act of punishment because of what you ate. Your goal is not to beat yourself until you are a pile of sweat on the floor, instead your goal should be to leave the gym feeling better than when you came in. Muscle soreness is not a good indicator for measuring the success of your training session. When you begin training, don’t make it a goal to push yourself to extreme limits, make it a goal to move better and be stronger.
Keep a journal for your fitness goals and your nutrition goals. This is a big player for tracking your progress as you reach your goals for 2017. Journaling will help to keep you motivated and also to look back at how far you have come from when you first started. Having two separate journals will help you with tracking exactly what you are eating every day and your other journal for tracking your progress with your training.
Writing down what weights you used and the number of sets and reps will help with keeping track of how you are improving at the gym. If you are just aimlessly just going from exercise to exercise without tracking your improvements, it’s hard for you to determine if there is progress that is being made. You can track the great days you had at the gym, like when you finally did your first push up, you can also write about why you weren’t so successful in the gym today maybe it was stress from work, either way you can track the good and the bad. Having something physically written on what you’ve accomplished is a very rewarding feeling and something you can take pride in.
Hopefully this has helped you get a better picture in mind for when it comes time to start that new year. Review these tips when you begin to contemplate what you hope to accomplish in 2017. Remember that it takes time to make big changes, so start small and finish big. I wish you nothing but the best for the new year and your goals!