If you’ve been hitting the gym strong at the beginning of the year, and refuse to be another mid-March dropout, here are some tips to stick to your fitness goals.
One surefire way to deter yourself from your fitness goals before even starting is by setting unreachable goals for yourself. Assess your current fitness level and create your goal accordingly. Remember that you’re a regular person with real life demands, you’re not being paid to eat right or look good like the envy-inducing celebrities or fitness models we see on all the hot magazines.
You should be sensible about any weight loss, weight gain, or weight lifting targets as well as the time frame you give yourself in which to achieve that target. You’re not going to gain or lose 50 pounds overnight nor are you going to gain 50 pounds in your lifts overnight.
SET MILESTONES FOR YOURSELF
Fitness goals are typically weeks, if not months away and sometimes this may work against us. Working hard and eating right for weeks and weeks on end without reaching your goal can become increasingly discouraging.
Setting mini-goals up along the way to your ultimate goal is an excellent tool in keeping your spirits up and staying motivated. Whether it’s weight loss/gain or weight lifting, have weight targets and congratulate yourself when you reach them. You can even create a reward system for yourself when you do reach them. Just be careful not to make these rewards counter-productive: Instead of an extra cheat meal, reward yourself with some new workout gear.
BE READY TO SAY “NO”
Whether it’s the birthday cake at the office or those extra beers afterward, you need to be willing to politely decline. You will come to notice how often we are bombarded with invitations for extra calories but keeping the greater goal in the forefront of your mind will help you stay on track. Take it as an opportunity to let those around you in on your fitness goals. The more they are aware of them, the less likely they are to press you with deterrents and you might even inspire some of them as well.
Outside factors aren’t the only threats to your fitness goal however. You also need to be willing to say no to yourself. This is crucially important in that moment right when your brain begins to form the thought, “I think I am too tired for the gym today”. There are certainly times when your body should rest, but don’t let a small thought of “I don’t really want to” turn into a recurring theme. Remember that getting to the gym is more than half the battle.
HOLD YOURSELF ACCOUNTABLE
Not only should you be willing to say no to yourself when required, but you need to be able to criticize and correct yourself when you stray too far. Even the world’s best fitness plan falls apart if you aren’t willing to stick to it. Be ready to sit down and have talks with yourself about your current progress and whether or not you feel you’re on track. Be honest with yourself as you’ll only be cheating yourself if you lie. Congratulate yourself if you’re on track or ahead of it, but also reprimand yourself if you know you’ve allowed yourself to stray too far.
A great tool to keep yourself honest is to have repercussions for the slip ups. If you went over your daily calories, then add some time to your cardio. If you had a few extra beers out with the boys, maybe next gym session is weights and cardio. Create tools for yourself that keep things interesting but more importantly keep you on track.
HAVE A SUPPORT SYSTEM
If you are serious about your fitness goals, then make it known to those in your circle. Not only will help alleviate the number of temptations thrown at you from work colleagues, friends, and family but it will also give you more people to hold you accountable.
Lying to yourself is easy when sneaking in extra snacks and skipping gym days, but having to give reasons to others tends to keep us more honest and on track. And you never know, you might inspire friends and family to join you on your fitness crusade.
SPICE THINGS UP
If you allow your fitness routines to grow old and stale, your drive and motivation will become much more difficult to maintain. Incorporate new exercises and use new weights and machines. There are plenty of different exercises that help work out the same body part or burn the same amount of calories, you just have to find them.
Instead of the usual treadmill or elliptical cardio, maybe head into the studio for some calorie-shredding kick boxing or Zumba classes. Don’t be afraid to take the fitness outside of the gym either. Find a nice big park where you can do your cardio and enjoy some fresh air while you’re at it. With good weather, running outside can be both more rewarding and effective than running indoors.
Remember that fitness goals aren’t something that you reach overnight. It is going to take some time and lots of effort but you’ll start to realize that the more you do it, the more you will want to do it.
The great thing about fitness goals as opposed to other kinds is that fitness isn’t simply a goal that you reach and you’re done with; Fitness is a goal that you get to be. The new body, the extra energy, and the boosted confidence is all yours and you will come to see how all the time and effort was absolutely worth it.
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Disclaimer: This content is for informational purposes only and is not meant as medical advice, nor is it to diagnose or treat any medical condition. Please consult your physician before starting or changing your diet or exercise program. Any use of this information is at the sole discretion and responsibility of the user.