The most popular new years resolution is to get in shape, but we all know how hard it can be to get started and then stay in shape. This article lets you know how to get started and easily maintain your fitness lifestyle so that you'll reach your goals.
1. Set SMART goals
Have you heard of the acronym SMART? It stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound and it’s a useful tools to make sure you set good goals. Let’s have a look at an example. This spring, I want to get back to a more active lifestyle, without pushing myself too hard, so my SMART goal could be to do 30 minutes of cardio exercise (fast walking, biking, dancing…) three times a week for a month. Great! This is a very specific goal that’s time-bound and easy to measure, I think it’s achievable and relevant as well. With SMART goals, you’re much more likely to achieve the results you’re looking for. So take the time to think of your own goals and use the acronym to evaluate if it’s a good goal.
2. Create a plan and set time aside
So now that you have your goals you can begin to plan out what you want to do and when. It’s important to make your dreams a reality by setting time aside to work on them. Sit down with your calendar and book your yoga class this Tuesday, plan a hike this weekend, start biking to work today! If you’ve set goals for your diet, start planning your meals this week and make a shopping list. Soon, your plans will become a fun routine and a part of your healthy lifestyle.
3. Remember balance and sustainability
It’s important to think long-term. You’re in control of your lifestyle, and if you go too hard too fast you risk falling back into old habits. It’s about finding a balance so that you enjoy working on your goals, that way your lifestyle becomes sustainable. Take it step by step and keep reminding yourself that health should be an enjoyable journey, not a painful quick fix.
4. Focus on your development
...not just what you see in the mirror! You want to do a pull up? Run a half marathon? Maybe you want to learn to stand on your hands? Focus on how you’re developing, the little achievements along the way. This is why it’s important that your goals are measurable, then you can see how you progress. With a bit of effort you’ll soon notice how you feel stronger, have more endurance or flexibility. That’s a great feeling, isn’t it?
5. Keep a log
In order for you to track your development, I highly recommend that you write a fitness log. No matter what your goals are, a log is a really good tool to stay accountable and to track your progress. It’s also great motivation to look back in your journal to see what you’ve achieved in the past months! I recommend Fitnessguru’s Workout Log, which includes everything you need like tables for strength training, cardio and nutritional intake.
6. Have fun!
Like I mentioned, you should enjoy working towards your goals. Why run kilometers on the treadmill if you hate every minute? Why go to yoga every Tuesday if you think it’s boring? Pick something you enjoy instead! If you have fun exercising you are much likely to commit to doing it, right? There are plenty of different ways to get your heart beating and muscles pumping. Aerobics, dance, squash, long walks or skiing, you name it! If you’re not sure, my advice is just to go out and try different things, eventually something will stick.
7. Eat the right food
Again, don’t look for quick fixes like extreme diets, you want to eat healthy food that’s going to give you the results you want. If you go on a very restrictive diet you risk getting bored of it very quickly and loosing progress just as fast. So what should you do instead? Baby steps! Start by making small changes that you can stick to. Avoid that chocolate bar after lunch, add some more vegetables to your dinner plate, switch from white bread to whole grain and drink another glass of water. With small changes like these you’ll soon see results!
By:Marie Tengberg - Personal trainer, diet advisor and fitness instructor