HOW TO SET ACHIEVEABLE GOALS
Did you know that low physical fitness is a higher risk factor than smoking, diabetes and obesity – combined? The stats alone should be enough to keep us motivated, but they’re not.
Many dabble in healthy activity, never persisting long enough to acquire a healthy habit. They risk losing what they’ve gained (e.g.: muscle maintenance, bone density and cardiovascular health) doomed to forever feel like a beginner. Unless you’re a highly motivated individual with a love for sports and/or you’ve personally experienced the devastating consequences of metabolic disease and a sedentary lifestyle, chances are that knowing exercise is necessary for longevity and quality of life, isn’t quite enough to get you over the line.
So what is?
Here are some top tips for starting a healthy habit and staying on track:
Even anthletes need a Coach, and when the grind sets in (and it will) you’ll need accountability and support. You’ll need someone or somewhere that helps you get past that inner dialogue, bring joy to your journey and keep you grounded. Surround yourself with people who lift you up. Willpower is overrated.
What keeps your head above water? What is the bare minimum you can commit to when the going gets tough? Work it out and then do it, no arguments. Any more is a bonus. At least you’re still in the game and not going backwards. If your day has been super tough, start small – walk for 15 minutes then reassess. Chances are your head is clearing and you’ve realised it’s actually not as hard and horrible as you imagined, you’re even starting to feel happy and proud.
If you’ve been prone to ‘all or nothing’ behaviours in the past, try not to overcommit. Get good at doing a small amount consistently. When you’ve nailed it and you feel ready, add on a little more.
Think of movement as an opportunity, not an inconvenience or a chore. Rather than saying ‘I should exercise today or I have to…’ try ‘I get to feel stronger today’ or ‘I get to lower my stress levels on the way home’ or similar. It will help change your focus.
Most injuries can be worked around. Unless you’ve received medical advice to stop all activity, most injuries can be improved with the appropriate exercise or can be worked around if not. Get a Coach during tough periods, focus on what you CAN do rather than what you can’t.
Perhaps you might book a massage at the end of each month you successfully repeat a habit. Or maybe you have a holiday account that you add money to each time you tick off a win. Alternatively, each time you don’t attend your class you withdraw money from your holiday account and put if off your mortgage or something equally unexciting. Whatever works for you. Create incentives and disincentives to help you through the grind.
Would it help you get going if you had some great music to listen to or an audio book while you walked or ran? Perhaps if you changed straight into your exercise gear before doing anything else you’d gain momentum. What about that bowl of chocolates in front of you every time you open the fridge, is that helping or hindering your progress? What is your environment makes it difficult for you to make healthy habits most of the time and what can you change to make this process easier?
Just remember, a Coach isn’t someone who has mastered willpower, we are just better at knowing what we’re not good at and making it easier for ourselves to get better without putting unnecessary obstacles in our path.
Coach Nicky McKimmie