Perhaps you are reading this post because you have identified a problem that you want to fix with a bit of good old exercise. Perhaps you have decided that you are ready to change and get active more often to better your health and wellbeing. If this is you – Well done!
Here are extremely useful tips to setting better goals to make sure you actually stick to and achieve what you set out to. The tips are targeted at people just starting out and are probably not currently exercising often.
Have an answer to “Why?”
Having a reason as to why you want to start a new exercise regime is very important Answering “why” gives you a purpose and direction in your goals. Perhaps you want to exercise to lose weight to improve your health. Perhaps you want to exercise to achieve better energy levels and fitness for the benefit of your mental health.
Identifying the reason behind your new behaviour comes hand in hand with feeling ready to make the change. Without feeling ready to begin an exercise routine, it is almost mission impossible. If you do not feel ready – that is not a problem. Having the thoughts and motivation to begin thinking about starting to exercise is the first step. Take time to think about what will inspire and motivate you to change your habits and reach your exercise goals.
Set goals within your reachable limits
After you have identified why you want to achieve your goals, it is now time to work out the specifics of the goals.
- Focus on the immediate and short term goals that you set. It is true that the small changes we make today make us who we are tomorrow. As you successfully achieve your short term goals, you will stay positive and more motivated to stick with it right through to when the long-term goal is achieved.
- Write down each of your goals and place them in a place where you see them regularly. Seeing the reason why you are making the changes as well as seeing what you have to do to achieve your goals keeps it fresh in your mind as a reminder.
- Ensure your goals are specific to your “why”. Specific goals contain a purpose, can be measured, are achievable, are realistic to your circumstances and are set within a certain time frame.
- Focus on only one goal at a time. To make smaller changes is easier than changing everything at one time. Smaller, more achievable changes mean you will not feel overwhelmed or under motivated to persist with the goals.
- Give yourself a reward when you successfully reach a goal. Enjoying the process is so important! Recognise when to treat yourself to a small reward after your successes.
Tips to writing awesome goals:
- Decide on the smaller behaviour changes you need to make. These are immediate goals. What are the immediate goals you can reach on a daily basis?
- Set yourself also short term goals. Short-term means in the next few weeks to months. What are the smaller goals you need to reach in order to reach your long-term goal?
- Write down your long term goal. Here long-term refers to a period of time of 6-12 months. What do you want to achieve 12 months from now?
- For each goal, make sure you can check off the SMART goal check list:
- Specific (what exactly do you want to achieve?)
- Measurable (Include a number or some kind of measurement (eg. Weight, or a frequency) so you can measure when it is achieved and your progress.)
- Attainable (Is it possible for you to reach the goal by making small changes to your current situation?)
- Realistic (is it likely that you can achieve this goal in your current circumstances?)
- Time frame (Give a period of time, or a deadline, by which you will achieve the goal.)
Prepare yourself for imperfection.
The process is not always easy. Identify where you have previously slipped-up in your ventures to change. What causes your negative behaviour and why? What helps you to stick to the healthy behaviours? What do you do and how do you feel when you successfully stick to your exercise program?
Think about the barriers to sticking to your new program and goals now, and later you will be more able to handle and slip-ups as they occur.
The journey to creating new exercise habits is made a whole lot easier with positive support from those around you. Make sure you let your friends and family know what you are doing and why.
Find a friend or someone else who has similar goals as you. Helping each other is very rewarding and the support helps pick you up when you fall off.
Involve your friends and family in your process. Family is often whom you spend most of your exercise and eating time with. They can encourage you and create a better environment to support your new goals. Family also are often rather honest and will give you a pat on the back to keep you in line.
Seek some professional help. Professionals such as dieticians and fitness professionals are superb for getting direct, personalised advice and guidance. Perhaps you need an eating plan to support your exercise plan. Take a holistic approach to your new healthy lifestyle.
Remember that one of the most important aspects to successfully achieving your goals is to have a reason why you are doing it. Write down your WHY now and place it somewhere you will see it each day and I promise you, you will see results.
Share with a friend who is wanting to start an exercise program or create new healthy habits!