It’s officially been one year since I started going to classes at Astoria Life Health and Fitness. Throughout the year the bootcamp instructors often did exercises that involved lugging around a giant 25 pound metal plate (killer, I might add). Although I consider myself to be fairly in shape, this was just way too heavy for me! So, I was the sorry kid in the class with the measly 10 pounds while everyone around me fought through with 25 pounds. Over the course of the year I’d try to add in a few reps with the 25 pound plate, and then switch to the 10 when it was too much. Then, one day, when I wasn’t even thinking about it, I made it through the entire class with the 25 pounder!!!! It’s been a few weeks now, but I’ve been able to keep this up pretty regularly. And I’m SO excited about it!
It got me thinking a lot about fitness goals and the best strategies to achieve them. I spent some time reflecting on how I’ve been able to get to this point of constantly forming new goals and reaching them. Though this advice is geared towards fitness specifically, it can really be applied to anything. So here it goes.
1.) Set realistic goals
I think this is a mistake that many people often fall victim to. Frequently, people decide to pick one day where they will try and change all of their habits- work out everyday, diet, etc etc when they previously didn’t do any of those things. This is a very extreme shift that is bound to set most people up for failure. It just generally doesn’t work. You have way too many things to focus on and it can become very stressful.
It helps to start with goals that are small and doable and then gradually work up to more significant changes. Nothing changes over night! Focus on one or two things at a time, and use them as stepping stones to an overall larger goal. Whether it’s tweaking a diet or adding in a new type of workout, it has to be something that can realistically fit into your life.
2.) Accept that there might be some trial and error
Sometimes we don’t always go about the right way of achieving our goals. What works for one person might not work for another! It’s good to try new things, but if a certain change is not working for you it’s important and OKAY to recognize and revise.
3.) Periodically re-evaluate
This follows from two. Take some time to reflect on the ways in which you are trying to reach certain fitness goals and assess whether or not these methods are effective. This can sometimes be difficult to do if you’re not sure how quickly you should be progressing, but it always helps to talk to others around you for input if you’re stuck. If something isn’t working, come up with a constructive way to change it. Don’t give up!
4.) Take small steps
Taking small steps is definitely related to setting realistic goals. Let’s say you decided you wanted to lose 20 pounds. Rather than focusing on a 20 pound reduction, you can start with 5 pounds. And then another five. And then another. Most fitness goals will take a lot of time, and it can be very frustrating when you don’t get the results you want right away. It helps to take a step back and start small to make steps towards your goal. And by the time a year goes by, you’ll likely have achieved what you were originally hoping for!
5.) Don’t beat yourself up
Don’t be too hard on yourself. We’re all human and fall subject to unhealthy habits every once in a while. All you can do is try your best! As long as you’re committed and really trying, one bad day won’t ruin everything. Just stay focused, hop back on the band wagon, and don’t dwell on minor set backs. A self defeatist attitude is a recipe for failure.
6.) Accept your setbacks and move forward
More than likely you’ll have a day (or several) that just didn’t mesh with your fitness plan. Be honest with yourself about the reasons why this happened, and try to use it constructively to avoid problems in the future.
7.) Hold yourself accountable
It’s really important that you don’t make up excuses. You have to make your goals a priority in your life, and the only way to do so is by holding yourself accountable. Follow through is incredibly important, and most of us are very bad at this because, after all, nobody else can judge our inactions. Sometimes it can be helpful to discuss your plans and goals with a friend or family member, so that someone else knows when you’re not following through. I, for one, am ten times more likely to actually go to the gym after a long day at school if I tell my boyfriend that morning that I plan on going. It’s psychology at its finest!
8.) Own your own goals
This may seem silly, but it’s really important that YOU have ownership of your goals. You need to be the one to determine what they are and how you plan to get there. Just because it’s trendy to go paleo, eat clean, and do Cross Fit, doesn’t mean these should be your goals. You get to set your own guidelines and determine whether or not you want someone else’s help and advice.
And there you have it! What are some ways you strategize to achieve your fitness goals?