How to Set and Refresh Your Health and Fitness Goals
Starting a new health and fitness regime can be really invigorating and exciting, but it can also lead to setting unrealistic goals. “I’m going to lose 100 lbs!” you might exclaim, but if you only weigh 150 lbs to begin with, that’s not realistic or healthy. The enthusiasm makes sense because setting goals feels like a fresh start and so many of us want to make sure we do it right and go all in. However, it’s necessary to set attainable goals and to keep evaluating them as time goes on. Here are a few tips to help you set your personal goals and stick to your healthy routines:
- Set specific goals. Saying you want to “lose weight” or “be healthier” are fine in the general sense, but you are more likely to achieve results if you set more specific goals like “replace potato chips with healthy snacks” or “start going to yoga twice a week with my sister.” When you outline your aims, be sure to lay out actionable steps so you can see how you are going to achieve your health and fitness aims.
- Hold yourself accountable. Find a way to keep yourself in check and motivate yourself to stick with your goals, even though there might be days when it is so tempting to order a large pizza and skip your daily run. As we discussed in our previous post, Finding Your Tribe, working out with someone else can help you not only stick with an exercise program, but ultimately maintain any weight loss you achieve. Or, if you’re more of the lone wolf type, you could try using an online fitness and/or food tracker or start your own blog to publicly document your progress.
- Break up your big goals into smaller goals and establish a reward system. If you want to ultimately lose 20 lbs, consider breaking up your weight loss into two segments of 10 lbs or even smaller increments if that works better for you. Give yourself some incentive to achieve these goals that will help keep you motivated on those days when you’re feeling a little lethargic. For example, when you hit the midway point and have lost 10 lbs, maybe you could treat yourself to a massage. Then, when you reach your full 20 lb weight loss goal, perhaps you could reward yourself with a new outfit to celebrate your new physique or indulge in upgraded fitness equipment like a new yoga mat if that’s what you like. Figure out what kind of rewards would really incentivize you and create your own system to keep yourself motivated.
- Don’t be afraid to reevaluate. Sometimes our initial goals don’t work out for a variety of reasons, whether you overestimated how much time you could spend at the gym or maybe your new schedule isn’t conducive to your daily life. That’s okay! The great thing about health and fitness is that it’s flexible enough to be able to adapt to any lifestyle. Don’t be afraid to switch up your routine; if it’s more realistic for you to hit the gym three days per week instead of six, go ahead and go for those three and maybe in the future you can up the frequency of your gym visits. If you’re struggling with eating better, take smaller steps as you adjust to a healthier diet. For example, you could start by replacing soda with water for a week. Then, once you achieve the first week, extend it into a second and add another element like replacing break room donuts with a healthy snack you brought from home.
Setting realistic, actionable goals is essential for attaining your health and fitness aims. If you need help deciding what works for you, talk to your doctor and a nutritionist or personal trainer. They can have some great resources to get you going as you work towards a new you in the new year!