At the start of every new month or season, many look to get back into their exercise routine but aren’t sure exactly where to start. But as most of us know to be true, getting back into an exercise routine can be challenging! If it weren’t challenging, everyone would be doing it. It takes more than purchasing a gym membership, buying new workout shoes and packing your gym bag. The real challenge comes with the mental side of the game – your motivation.
Stay On-track with Motivation
Disclaimer: Before beginning any exercise program, please consult with your healthcare provider.
First, let’s start by focusing your efforts and channeling your mental energy into a mode of reflection. Ask yourself a few questions and write down your answers on a piece of paper so you can look back on them later. Here are some examples:
- What inspires me?
- Why do I want to experience the results of exercise?
- What is my current relationship with exercise?
- Where am I currently at in relation to my goals?
- Why are my goals and my journey important to me?
Truly thinking about WHY you are exercising and striving toward improved fitness can help! If your answer is something as simple as, “because my friends are doing it,” your motivation will most likely diminish sooner or later. It’s not about current diet or fitness trends, but about your overall health and well-being. Get down to the root of your motivation when you start thinking about your goals and you will be more likely to accomplish them.
You are a Priority
Why is it so easy to lose focus? There is no urgency to complete your goals if you know that you have an endless amount of time to accomplish them. Let me ask you this… if your boss tells you about a project that is due a year from now, will you start working on it right away? Most likely, your answer is no! If your answer is yes, you might start working in it, but a week or two down the road another project will arise and the original project will get put on the back burner.
Sadly, health gets put on the back burner for many Americans because we often set lofty goals and give ourselves an endless amount of time to complete them. It is totally normal for your priorities to shift every now and then, but when this happens, go back to the original above-mentioned questions and re-evaluate your goals.
What Makes a Good Goal?
You may be wondering what makes a goal “good” to have. To answer your question, each of your goals should contain the following five components: (S) Specific, (M) Measurable, (A) Attainable, (R) Realistic and (T) Timely. Set realistic monthly or weekly goals that you know you are capable of accomplishing with hard work and commitment. Here are some examples:
- “I am going to establish a routine by taking three fitness classes a week during my first month at the gym.”
- “I am going to lose five pounds this month by exercising four hours a week and increasing fiber.”
What’s my advice? Create SMART goals and continue to make yourself a priority! You deserve it. Remember that reaching your goals does not translate into reaching the end of your weight management journey. Our goals evolve as we evolve!
About the Author:
Jillian McAfee is a Personal Trainer and General Manager for Downsize Fitness in Illinois. Jillian also coaches individuals across the country in an online program called [email protected], powered through Helpouts by Google. She received her Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology from Indiana University and is a Certified Personal Trainer through The American College of Sports Medicine. She has played a large role in many individuals’ weight-loss journeys and hopes to do the same for many years to come.