It's back to school, back to getting on track time of year again! Here are a few tips that will improve your chances.
Make your goals SMART. What does this mean?
Make your goal quantifiable and clear. For example, instead of the goal “get fit in 2017” your goal would be “improve strength and relieve back pain by March 31”.
Make your goal measurable. For example, eat one piece of dark chocolate per day, walk/jog 2 times a week for 1 hour, strength training 1 day a week for 1 hour.
Get your people on board, for example if you need exercise three times a week, put it on the family calendar to be as important as everyone’s class and activities.
Make your goal something that you can accomplish to feel motivated.
Set a specific date to meet your goal, and put a reminder in your calendar.
Make “leading indicator goals” in addition to “result goals”. A leading indicator is what changes before you reach the end result. What leading indicators can influence your success?
You want results with fitness right? Weight, strength, speed etc. Your leading indicators are the specific actions you take repetitively for a period of time to meet your goal.
Your goal is “improve strength to relieve back pain”. You need to eat healthier and exercise more often and choose a resistance program that fits your lifestyle. Your success is actually determined by leading indicators such as the number of workout sessions per week, and choice of treats.
So the leading indicator goals to “improve strength and relieve back pain” could be:
- Eat one piece of dark chocolate a day,
- Exercise three times per week for at least one hour, 2 walk/ jog and 1 strength training,
- Lift 4 bags of groceries without pain by March 31.
Weigh MORE than Weight
Weight is one of the most common goals we hear. Weight is everywhere we look, magazines at the grocery store line up, social media, gyms, billboards, fast results, weight loss tricks. Weight-loss is misleading because strength training workouts can make your jeans feel good AND and gain dense muscle which can mask some of your “weight loss” progress.
Weigh MORE of how your are changing for more success such as:
- Inches lost or gained in lean muscle mass
- Increases in your strength, either in pounds or ability to do certain activities – e.g. “I can now lift 4 bags of groceries to my house”
- Increases in stamina, such as ability to climb stairs without getting winded
Announce your goals to only your coach and your family.
Studies have shown that when we tell others of a goal we experience some of the same feeling of accomplishment and pride that we feel when we actually accomplish a goal. Makes sense, right? It is personal preference of course, but if you have announced goals publicly in the past and not accomplished them, try a new approach. You know you’re making progress when you feel stronger, get compliments from your friends, and look forward to seeing your fitness friends.
EXCEPTION- You need family members on board to accomplish your goal. For example your whole family may need to make fewer trips to drive-thrus including fancy coffee, a big challenge for many of us!
Say "I do have time for me" in relation to your goal.
Our priorities are a choice. Life happens, our fitness and even our health is challenged many times in a year. We overbook, we get sick, our kids are in so many activities. Where do we say “no”?
Priorities are a choice and when we “have” to do something, we take away mental power to choose it.
For example, instead of saying “I don’t have time to exercise”, say “I have chosen not to exercise because other things in my schedule are more important today”. If you feel uncomfortable with this statement it is working as intended – it means that the things preventing you from exercising may not be more important, and you should start working towards your goal.
Remember that sometimes we will prioritize something over fitness. Accept your choices and avoid feelings of “guilt” and “failure”.
Write down your goals.
Writing something down makes it more real, because we can’t mentally adjust the goal after the fact. Once a goal is written it can’t be changed without taking a physical action. This encourages us to work towards those goals with self-motivation and accountability.
Here it is, straight up!
Our goal is to improve strength, reduce back pain. We take action for success.
In summary: Change our single unspecified goal to a series of related and achievable goals.
- I will improve strength and lift 4 bags of groceries to my car without pain by March 31 by:
- Work out three times per week, 2 cardio and 1 resistance workout.
- Eating one piece of dark chocolate day, as my treat.
- Write this goal down.
- Discuss the specific goal with trainer and your family, who can help you.
- Sign up for classes, buy groceries, etc. to work on your goal.
Cindy is the owner of FarOut Fitness, St. John’s most fun, fitness studio offering premium programs including Newfoundland’s only kettlebell training for women and for postnatal moms, plus our new prenatal fitness class.