Here we are, ready to lace up our shoes, dust off our fitness gear, and take the most important first step toward achieving that long-desired goal of eating clean and exercising regularly. But, before we run to the gym, I want to give you some important information that could potentially save you from heading down a dead end.
In my article in January’s QC Family Focus, entitled Success is But a “Why” Away!, we dove into the importance of finding your motivation, or reason that will be the driving force through the many obstacles you will face during your journey. If you have not yet read this, please do so first. It holds essential advice that will guide you and explain why finding your “why” is the utmost important first step to achieving any goal, fitness-related or otherwise.
Once you’ve taken a little time to identify the reasons why you need to make living a healthy lifestyle a top priority, let us move on to how to generate momentum from the get-go, so this truly does become the last time you take that first step.
Write Down Your Goals
Goals. We have them, but how do we go about achieving them? The second key factor to the success of your goal is to write it down. What is your lifelong fitness goal? Is it to lose body fat, gain muscle mass, eat a cleaner daily diet, or simply be able to get through the busy days with more energy? Whatever your goals are, you must take the time to write them down!
Here’s why. A goal not written down often becomes just another dream lost in our busy minds. We have to prepare ourselves mentally with the whole notion of introducing new habits into our current hectic schedules. Plus, if you’re like most of us, our fitness goals can often tend to be extensive at the onset, which technically is okay. In fact, it is highly encouraged, as long as the proper time has been taken to plan it to a realistic timeframe, and what it will take to get you to the finish line is understood.
Here is an example of how I would help a client break down their goals into manageable pieces. Let’s say my client has the ever-famous goal of losing twenty pounds. I know that the average person who exercises three to five days per week, thirty minutes a day, and eats a healthy diet will lose somewhere between one to two pounds per week, usually falling closer to the one pound mark. I would then inform that client that he or she should expect the timeframe to lose twenty pounds safely is around twenty weeks.
I will admit it takes a good amount of time and effort to see noticeable results, and having a misunderstanding of this typically becomes one of the first hurdles you are going to face. Also, because most people lose interest in a program lasting longer than eight to twelve weeks, I personally will break down a client’s goal into eight-week sections and mix up the routine, therefore keeping client enthusiasm high. As a result, for this same client I would take their goal and have them start by aiming to lose only eight pounds over the course of eight weeks. This creates a much easier goal to envision and will create a greater sense of self-ability within the client. This will work for you as well.
I should add, you’ll still need to focus on your “why” power at the start, more so than any other time. There is a likely chance that it may seem as if all your efforts are barely making an impact toward your goals. Even so, every person you see on social media, in a magazine, or in the real world walking around with an athletic physique or trim waistline has, at some point, gone through the same self-doubt or had thoughts of quitting at least once. You are not alone in this.
At this time, if you have a goal and are still unsure of what to do with it, or how to properly break it down, please seek the aid of a Certified Personal Trainer who will design a specialized program just for you, based on your background, goals and daily schedule. There are many great and highly qualified Trainers in our area willing to take the time to dedicate their knowledge toward giving you the tools needed to be successful, I myself being one of them. I personally love helping others break free of old habits that have led to years of being “tired of being sick and tired”.
If you take anything away from this, let it be that you do have it in you to succeed. Yes, it will require you to put forth the initial effort to learn and develop your goal into a realistic plan, whether with the aid of a professional or going at it alone. Defining your goals will be key to the success of your fitness goal. Be sure to take it slow in the beginning. It is all about forming the new habits that will keep us striving toward our objectives, not that we should be exercising at a pro athlete level from day one. Keep it fun and add in some challenges, to create a game-like atmosphere whenever possible. Include any of your friends, family members and/or co-workers also wishing to start a healthy journey. The more people in your life who have similar goals and are working toward living a healthy lifestyle will greatly increase your odds of success by creating a support group.
For more helpful information related to setting goals or beginner workout routines, please email the QC Family Focus publisher at firstname.lastname@example.org and be sure to put Ask Josh in the subject line. Thanks!