The truth? Many people give up on their New Year’s resolutions because they set unrealistic goals for themselves. They expect instant results and become discouraged when things don’t happen the way they imagined they would.
Here are a few tips to help you set realistic fitness goals:
Set a Realistic Goal
Decide what goals you’d like to achieve, but keep them realistic. Do you want to lose 20 pounds? That’s great, but don’t resolve yourself to doing so in a week or month. Do you want to become physically active? Great! Just don’t expect that you’re going to go from couch potato to fitness enthusiast overnight. There will be days when you don’t exercise at all. Don’t punish yourself for not meeting your goals right away, or for not accomplishing each task on your list on the first try. You have the entire year to get things right.
Keep Things Relevant
Let’s assume your goal is to lose 20 pounds. Let that be your only goal for now. Setting sub-goals can be counterproductive. Aim to be as active as possible so that you can lose that weight in a reasonable amount of time. Once you reach that goal, set a new one, like running a 15-minute mile or setting a new personal weightlifting record. Remain focused on tasks that are relevant to the goal at hand. Anything else will only set you back and become discouraging.
Plan in Advance
Think about your New Year’s resolutions before New Year’s Eve. Planning your goals and the things you’ll need to do to achieve them in advance will leave you feeling strong and in control. Waking up on New Year’s Day without a plan will leave you feeling lost and may even prevent you from getting started at all.
Talk to a Personal Trainer
You’ve never exercised a day in your life? Don’t fret. There are plenty of personal trainers in your area and each will be more than happy to help you meet your goals. Do you plan on joining a gym? Many will give you at least 1 or 2 personal training sessions for free. Taking advantage of this type of offer will not only give you a jump start but will help you to determine if working with a trainer is right for you.
Make One Change at a Time
Making too many lifestyle changes can be overwhelming, so take it one step at a time. Start by adding some exercise to your daily routine. Once you’ve gotten the hang of that change, start to address your diet and food choices. Once you’ve gotten the hang of making healthier choices, move on to your next goal. Give each change at least a few weeks to become a habit. Doing so will make it easier to move on to the next change without losing sight of the things you’ve already accomplished.
Remain realistic about your goals and expectations at all times. Don’t punish yourself if you get off track. Simply jump back on the horse and start over again. Your body and health will thank you for the effort!