Finding the time to get in a solid, balanced workout that includes a thorough warm-up and warm-down, as well as specific stretching, can be a massive challenge for all of us. After all, there are so many other commitments in our lives that need our attention.
However, the benefits of regular exercise are clear, and the scientific research into these benefits is solid. So how do we better manage fitting exercise into our daily lives? Particularly if we have the challenge of making a significant change in our body composition, recovery from an injury, or making the shift from being sedentary to being active?
Goal setting is highly personal, and unless you want to, there is no need to share them with others. However, if you have a supportive network of family and friends, sharing your fitness goals with them may encourage them to cut you some slack as your schedule changes. Or, even better, they may want to join you in your quest for better health!
Choose realistic goals, so consider your current fitness level and what you want to achieve. For example, when I decided to do my first triathlon, I began training in earnest seven months prior to race day. Your goals should be worthwhile to you and make a real difference in your health, enjoyment of life, and personal growth.
Deadlines don’t need to be written in stone, but seeing them on a calendar is motivating and keeps you honest. I love the large wall calendars that allow you to see the entire month at once. So mark your short and long-term goals in different colors, add in rewards for achieved goals, and watch your progress! Aim for two to three short-term attainable goals and one long-term goal, to begin with.
Setting the bar overly high by having too many goals may result in disappointment. Creating deadlines for yourself will keep you motivated and keep you on the right track to wellness. Visualize what it will be like to achieve a goal, and remind yourself of the values of the goals you have set for yourself.
Put yourself first. This is probably the most difficult challenge you will face on your path to better wellness. However, always remember that you can’t fully be there for those you love if you are unhealthy. Make sure that your goals are specific, and make your path to achieving those goals your priority. After all, your goals will positively impact your life, so they are worth putting first.
While your journey to wellness may be noticed and applauded by others, it may not. Hearing someone say you look fantastic or so energetic is a tremendous reward; however, your true satisfaction in meeting your goals will come from within you.
So celebrate all of your successes, even the little ones, such as completing a full set of pushups or running that first kilometer. When you reach an important goal, such as getting your blood pressure down to an acceptable level, be sure to treat yourself well!
Use caution, though, when it comes to rewards; don’t sabotage your success by choosing a prize that sets you back. It can be easy to undermine your goals by indulging in something unhealthy. If you easily fall victim to temptation, write down healthy rewards alongside your goals to stay on track.
Life happens, and it can mess with the best of intentions. Rather than beat yourself up about goals not met or success that falls short, simply assess your goal strategy. Were you completely realistic? What impacted your success? Are there elements of your life that you can change to make your goals more attainable?
When we do not reach our goals, there is always a reason. By determining your own roadblocks, you can learn from your missteps and not repeat them. Remember that the journey to being healthier is a process, and it’s very much about the journey as well as the destination.