Stick to Your Fitness Goals!

We’ve all done it. We’ve seen the perfectly chiseled celebrity or run into an old friend who just looks amazing and made the decision to change our habits and get in the best shape of our lives!

With our newly found motivation, we set up goals, buy new running shoes, and a shiny new gym membership. We swear to ourselves that we will be at the gym every day after work and can’t wait to see all of the amazing results!

For most of us, reality sets back in and our busy work schedules and bustling family lives get in the way and we slip back into our old habits. What’s worse, is that we usually beat ourselves up so much for losing our routine, we lose our desire to try again.

The truth is that if getting active and staying healthy was easy, everyone would do it.  Set yourself up for success and follow some of these simple guidelines for making the small changes that will lead to big results.

Set realistic goals. The fastest way to give up on a workout routine is to take on a ridiculously difficult regiment and then beat yourself up for not following it, or worse, accidentally injuring yourself. If you are used to sitting on the couch to unwind, then taking on a difficult and taxing routine could be dangerous. Take time to make a realistic assessment of your current fitness level. Contact your doctor or look online. Be honest with yourself and your healthcare provider. Injury is the fastest way to lose a routine and motivation to try again.

Go easy on yourself. If you miss a day on your routine because of work or illness, it’s ok. The important thing is that you know you will try again tomorrow. It’s your body and your schedule. So what if you only ran half a mile, or did a third of the crunches you said you would? The important thing is you are making progress and that deserves a pat on the back!

Experiment and Keep it fun! Working out doesn’t have to mean running on a treadmill or working through a grueling spinning class. Anything you do to stay active counts. Try something new like Zumba, playing tag with your kids, or even just running errands on your bike rather than taking the car. Have fun with your routine and you are more likely to stick to it!

Setup a positive feedback loop for yourself. New habits are formed when they are consistently rewarded with something positive. Your reward can be anything you want! Just make sure it is something conducive with your health goals. One easy way to do this is to set up a  “success jar”. Whenever you meet a mini-goal (like eating right all day or hitting the gym several times a week), put a little money in the jar. When you have met a major goal, like losing ten pounds or being able to run a mile without stopping, buy yourself something nice. You earned it!  Knowing that reward is there can be the difference between excuses and success.

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