The month of December is a time for reflection. As we spend time with our loved ones and evaluate the last twelve months, many of us feel recharged and ready to set goals for the New Year. For those looking to improve their health and fitness it can be particularly challenging to create goals that are realistic and achievable. Many of us choose goals like losing weight or running a marathon, but we fail to create a manageable plan to reach that goal. The key to success with health and fitness goals is evaluating your starting point, establishing appropriate short and long-term goals, setting accountability checkpoints, adjusting your diet and fitness habits gradually, and choosing workouts that you enjoy. This type of holistic planning will keep you on track and motivated year-round.
Evaluate Your Health and Lifestyle. Knowing your health and fitness base line is critical to setting realistic and appropriate goals for the next year. Ask yourself questions like, how good is my diet? Do I smoke cigarettes and/or drink often? How often do I exercise? Do I have any physical limitations? Take some time to sit down and answer these questions. Decide what areas of your health and fitness that you would like to improve. Then schedule a checkup with your doctor to check your vitals and make sure you are able to safely workout. Once you have the go ahead, then move to step two.
Establish your short and long-term goals. Long-term goals usually take twelve or more months to accomplish, where as short-term goals can be accomplished in a day, a week, or a month. One strategy for creating the perfect fitness resolution for you is to create your long-term goal first and then to work backwards. Your long-term goal should be more general and take longer to accomplish. Examples might be to loss 20 lbs., to eat organic foods 80% of the time, or run a marathon. Once you have chosen your long-term goal, then you will create your short-term goals. Try starting out with one short-term goal and then add a new short-term goal each week. You want your short-term goals to be very easy to accomplish within a week’s time. Examples would be taking a workout class, eating a piece of fruit everyday, or going to bed before 10pm.
Set checkpoints and accountability checks to make sure you meet your goals. Our first suggestion is to put gentle reminders and affirmations up around your home. Two examples would be PostIt notes of affirmations on you bathroom mirror or alarms on your phone to remind you to eat healthy and exercise. We also strongly suggest joining a weight loss program or forum where you can interact with others that have similar goals. Having a structured fitness program gives you a routine that you can plan for and buddies to motivate you. Finally, we suggest you create weekly or monthly checkpoints where you evaluate your progress to make sure that you are consistently improving no matter how small the improvements are.
Adjust your diet slowly and don’t overwork your body. Changing your diet and exercise regime too dramatically can result in detox symptoms and fatigue. Try adding one healthy diet and fitness habit to your routine every week. This will help you to feel less overwhelmed with the positive changes you are making to your life and help you to naturally integrate healthy habits in your long term lifestyle.
Pick workouts that you enjoy. The best workout is one that you love to do! Find what brings you happiness whether it is hiking, dancing, martial arts, yoga, biking, weight training, etc. You’ll find that a fun workout makes it much easier to stay consistent.
Alright, you are ready to put your health and fitness plan together for the new year! Good luck and remember that we are always here to answer your health and fitness questions as well as provide the best group fitness classes and personal training options for you to reach your goals!
EFC staff. We want to share our fitness knowledge with you!