Fitness goals, like any, are usually set with intention and enthusiasm. People are amped up at the beginning of the month or even the start of the week. The cycle looks the same for most. - Meal prep on Sunday
- Put time in the calendar to workout
- Treat yourself one last time
- Tell everyone "Diet starts Monday" - Start moving
Then we get a few days in, and morale is down. We don't feel like we are doing a good job. People keep bringing sweets into the office and we can't resist. Binge eating is a real activity that we struggle with and now we feel sluggish because our body has been fed crap so we don't workout because we don't feel good. Now, we are off the workout train and we feel like we are derailed completely. We have to start over, and the cycle continues. Sound familiar? It is a common misconception that lifestyle change happens at the blink of an eye. We snap our fingers and think "Now, I am the person I've always wanted to be." In order to set and achieve fitness goals, and any goal, really, we have to implement small changes one by one. Here are a few ways you can implement small changes that will lead you to achieving your fitness goals.
1) Brain Dump
Set aside 10 minutes to sit down and think about your fitness/ health goals and what you would like to achieve. I encourage you to get a notebook or pad of paper and set a timer. For 10 minutes, brainstorm all of the things you want to achieve when it comes to changing your life and write them down. Do not be judgemental about your thoughts. If it crosses your mind, it gets put on paper. 2) Organize the Brain Dump
Review all of the goals you wrote down and organize them. Ask yourself why you want to achieve those goals. If you find that there are goals you wrote down and the "why" has something to do with what society expects or the expectations of others, throw it out. It doesn't deserve your energy because it is for other people. We are starting with tangible change you want for yourself. That matters most. Now that you have a list of goals you want to achieve for yourself, prioritize them. Which are most important and which can wait a bit? Write the list in order of priority.
3) Brain Dump on Priority Goal #1
Take a new piece of paper and title it with your top priority goal. Write down all of the things you need to do in order to achieve that particular goal. Get everything in your head out. All of the ideas you have. All the steps you need to start taking. Again, this should be done without judgement. Do not filter your thoughts. Anything and everything goes. 4) Draw a Road Map
Use your Priority One Brain Dump to draw out a road map. These are going to be the actual steps you will take in order that will lead you to the goal. These are tiny action steps. Baby steps. Literally. A small step could be "Set my workout clothes out before bed." Having your workout clothes ready to go serves as a reminder that you are supposed to move in the morning. (If I have scheduled a morning workout, I sleep in my workout clothes. I know myself well enough to know that I will not get out of my flannel jammies, if I'm not feeling it, so I created a hack. I can't skip putting on the workout clothes if they are already on my body.) For some of you, the road map will be full of steps you only have to accomplish once. For others, it will be a list of steps that ultimately turn into a process you have to repeat until it becomes a habit.
Here is an example of a road map. I, personally, like to make a graphic or use pretty highlighters to create a roadmap that is visually appealing. I usually put the road map somewhere in my house where I know I'll see it, or where I go to accomplish those goals (basement gym, kitchen, office, etc.).
5) Plan for Flexibility
One day off the plan does not mean the whole plan went to hell. It was ONE DAY! ONE! Get back in the car and continue following the road map! (See what I did there.) This whole process is about giving ourselves grace. We will have off days and that is fine. Don't let it turn into an off week or month. When you derail for a moment, accept it, and move forward. Focusing on that one mistake is a downward spiral that leads us to the same place we started. Grace,my friend, is a savior and it will get you to the goal you want to achieve. 6) Create/ Participate in an Accountability System
The first person we break promises to is ourselves, which is crazy to me! We hold ourselves to such a high standard when it comes to doing things for others. We are always at their beck and call. When it comes to ourselves? Forget about it. Find someone who can hold you accountable. This could be a friend or a stranger in an accountability Facebook group. If you can't find someone, reach out to me! I would gladly be that person for you. This is an essential step that is often missed. If no one knows your goal, then what does it matter if you don't follow through?
7) Track Your Progress
I'm not sure how you function, but I like facts and lists. I love checking things off the to do list or marking another day done on a tracker. Find a system that will show you how well you are doing! This will keep you motivated. It also allow you to notice any patterns. If you have an "off" day, write down what got you off track. Creating an awareness of your habits and patterns will allow you to be proactive when redirecting them. Tracking the action steps you are taking will give you a sense of empowerment. It will reassure you that you are not just shooting at a target in the dark Your plan is working. After you achieve a milestone, celebrate! After you achieve the entire goal, it's time to go back to the brain dump list and choose a new one.
Achieving any goal is hard work. Resilience, grit, and perseverance are the keys to accomplishing what you want. It may be hard, but it is possible and absolutely worth it. Always start with your top priority and move down the list. Do not try to change all of the things you would like to at once. Keep focus on one thing. This helps us not feel so overwhelmed. The goals we have feel more manageable when we only have one on our mind. Understand that changing your eating habits isn't a diet. Changing your activity level isn't just working out. Changing these things means you are changing your everyday habits. Creating sustainable habits allows you to create lasting lifestyle changes.
As always, I'm here for you and willing to help! To you, My Maiden Friend, - Coach CoJo