Before you dive into this article, grab a pen or create a new document on your computer. Now, decide on your top two fitness-related goals and write them down. Don’t worry if this feels overwhelming; we’re going to go through the best ways to make them achievable.
Let’s say your goal is to lose 30 pounds in six months (even in January the beach is calling!). Thirty pounds as a whole is a lot of weight to lose. Breaking that down to five pounds per month is more reasonable. But breaking that number down even further to a weekly goal of 1.25 pounds is downright achievable.
Mentally, you’re enthusiastic and ready to start a fitness routine, but you need to be sure that you’re ready physically as well. If you have any doubts, consult your doctor.
A common mistake when first committing to a new fitness regimen is to push too hard too soon. This can make you so sore for the next week that it hurts just to lie in bed or sit at your desk, let alone lift a dumbbell.
Planning for success should include looking ahead and affirming that you can stick to your regimen and exercise regularly. This will require the creation of your personal fitness plan. If you have the resources, consider working with a personal trainer to keep your workouts fresh. At a minimum, ask staff at your gym to show you how to use the gym equipment properly, rather than watching other people on the machines and mimicking them.
Plan to change up your routine as you go. Along with making your gym visits fun, changing your routine helps you to avoid plateauing—where your body becomes accustomed to a routine and adapts by finding the easiest way to do it. This could bring your goal achievements to a grinding halt. Plus, changing your routine may develop other muscles that weren’t being worked by the original plan.
Get over hurdles
Know that you’ll be going out to eat once in a while; you might invite friends over for pizza or wine; you may go on vacation. Plan accordingly. Choose a healthy option when you go to a restaurant; coerce your friends to go for a walk after eating or drinking; stay at a hotel with a fitness facility. Most importantly, if you stumble, don’t be too hard on yourself. All is not lost. Just don’t make a habit of it.
At some point during this year, you may come to hate the gym, hate exercising, hate eating healthy. To combat these moments and stay motivated, put your goals where you’ll see them. Refer to these goals every day.
Ready? It’s time to get started with the exercises in “Execute Your Fitness Plan” in this issue of alive@work.