In her regular column Adelaide health guru FitM.U.M (aka Kelly Delfos) looks at the first step towards achieving your fitness goals, and the most important to keeping you on track – goal setting.
So, you’ve just realised that Summer is four months away and you want to get fit and healthy and also look and feel your best. This may or may not be the first time you have tackled this ‘journey’. The good news is, it is definitely achievable and you have plenty of time! Phew… but now what?
Where should you start? My go-to, number one piece of advice to anyone starting out with changing their lifestyle and incorporating Health and Fitness, is to spend some time setting goals. Specifically, short term and long term goals that you want to achieve in a certain time frame. Make them clear, realistic and measurable which will make it much easier to track your progress and celebrate your achievements along the way. Although I am a very positive person who is all for dreaming big, I am also realistic when it comes to health and fitness and I want to see people set themselves up to succeed. If your initial goal is too big and seems too far away to achieve, no matter how motivated and pumped you are when you start, you could find that driving motivation and burst of willpower will subside and without an action plan you may just fall off the wagon. You are much more likely to achieve your long term ‘ultimate’ goal if you establish smaller, short term goals.
As we are now in early August, this is the best time to think about what you really want to achieve. If you are someone who struggles to stay on track during winter or maybe you aren’t as motivated to exercise and eat well in those cold months, you should definitely be using this time to write a list of specific goals and an action plan of how you are going to get there. This will help keep you focused and continually moving forward, even thought there may be times where you feel as if it is 1 step forward and 3 steps backwards. You are not alone, just keep your eye on the prize!
If you feel like it is becoming hard to maintain everything, you need to break down your goals again and go back to basics. I continuously remind my clients that it is important to choose one main area to focus on and take small steps towards achieving it. You need to crawl before you can run and we often become overwhelmed when trying do too much. Don’t put unnecessary stress and pressure on yourself, there is enough of that in life as it is, keep it simple, remember why you started and don’t lose sight of your goals.
If your goal is nutrition based, instead of trying to start by having the cleanest diet in the world 24/7 (which, let’s be honest isn’t maintainable for everyone, because you know… life!) you should choose one main focus area that you feel needs work, for example reducing the amount of processed carbohydrates or packaged foods throughout the day, cutting out soft drink, decreasing added artificial sugars and so on. Stick with that one goal until you feel you have it under control and then move on to something new. Do not try to change your entire lifestyle in a week because if it gets hard you will more than likely throw in the towel and go back to your old ways feeling disheartened and defeated. If you read my first article last fortnight, you will know I mentioned that it takes 21 days to break a habit or instil a new one. Take a deep breath, reassess where you are at and how far you have come and just simply start again. It is about continually moving forward toward those personal goals, until you reach them… and that is the time you set new ones and keep going! It is a lifestyle for a reason. You adopt it for LIFE!
Now, it’s your turn. Take 10 minutes to write down your top 3 goals (1 short term, 1 medium term and 1 long term goal). Be as detailed as you can, write them down and then verbally say them out loud, or better still go and tell someone else! This becomes your accountability and your first step towards actually ‘doing’. Goal setting is a great practice that can be used for every area of your life, not just health and fitness – “the way you do anything is the way you do everything”.
For more motivation and encouragement, join the FitM.U.M community here – they’d love to see you involved. You can find FitM.U.M. on Facebook and Instagram or why not follow both FitM.U.M & IronDAD on Facebook and get the whole family involved?