I don’t know how long your New Year’s resolutions lasted, but mine didn’t have a very long life span. But don’t give up on your goals just yet. I can’t help but think about the movies where there’s a big turnaround. You know the one where the main character gets a major makeover, perfecting their life practically overnight! Yea, it doesn’t look like that in real life… Success is kind of messy. Actually, success looks a lot like failure, just without ever throwing in the towel. You’ll fail, probably a lot, along the way to reaching your goal. But you can’t let yourself give up. I can be very all or nothing, so this concept can be hard for me. What I’ve found, and I’m sure what you’ve found too, is that it definitely takes perseverance. That means giving yourself grace when you mess up, and then keep going.
A lot of times, the thing that stops me from following through with the goals I set, is a lack of enthusiasm, and a lack of motivation. Of course when I first start out, I’m excited- I feel like nothing will stop me this time! And then as time goes on, and things in my schedule start to “get in the way”, the excitement dwindles, along with my gym attendance. The thing is, my goals haven’t changed much over the past 3 years; lose weight, tone muscle, and feel better about myself. How much I want to reach those goals hasn’t changed. But my level of excitement and enthusiasm towards reaching them definitely has. So how do you keep yourself on track when your determination starts to wear off? Set different goals!
Now I don’t mean change your goals altogether, because that wouldn’t make any sense. You don’t reach your weight loss goal by scrapping it and finding a different goal. Keep your long-term goals, but set some short-term goals to propel you forward! In order to stay excited and working toward my goals, I have to set attainable short-term goals for myself. Instead of saying “I want to lose weight.” I’ll say, “I’m going to lose 5 pounds this month, by May 1st”. Or maybe, “I’m going to walk for 30 minutes three days this week”. Short-term goals that keep me moving towards my long-term goals. And long-term goals that keep my eyes on the prize. I know it’s cliche, but it really isn’t a sprint. It’s not even a marathon. It’s a lifestyle.
Here are four really great pointers I learned a while back on how to set goals that will stick!
1. Identify the Why
If you’re going to create something that you’re going to be working towards for time to come, you’ll need to know why you’re doing it. Otherwise, the first obstacle that comes up will be the first thing to derail you.
2. Identify Your Obstacles
A sure way not to let anything stand between you and your goals is to identify the things that might come up, and then create a plan to knock right through them! One of the main obstacles we face in our fitness journey is a lack of time. How do you get over the time obstacle? Create a schedule and prioritize.
4. Create Accountability
This is where the short-term goals come in. You need to create milestone markers for yourself to keep it fresh in your mind. Set up an end date (a realistic one) and mark some checkpoint dates. This will keep you on track. Take it one step further and find someone that has similar goals, or who you know will hold you to it, and partner up!
5. Make SMART Goals
Specific – make it clear and concise
Measurable – quantifiable, use data (inches, miles, pounds)
Attainable – make it in your reach
Relevant – consistent with your long-term goals
Time Bound – give yourself a deadline
6. Now.. Go!
You’ve got all the tools you need now, so let’s do this! Of course it’s not a straightforward path, but keep reminding yourself of the why and keep hitting those short-term goals, and you’ll continue to move forward.
If you’re like me, it really helps to visualize your goals. I actually like to find pictures to motivate me. I’ll look on Pinterest or Google for images with motivational quotes, or images that resemble what I’d look like at my goal weight, all toned up. Then, when I start to feel lazy, I look at the photos and 10 out of 10 times, my motivation comes back!
NASM Certified Personal Trainer