Do you set goals for losing weight, toning up or getting fitter but never seem to get there? You know what you should be doing but you struggle to keep motivated. You start a new exercise plan, give it your all, burn yourself out, get fed up, don’t see results quickly enough and then fall back into the same bad habits that you had before, repeating this cycle over and over again.
Firstly, you need to think about your goals and why are you wanting to achieve them. These will be personal to you and things that you feel strongly about, as these are the things that will keep you going when all you want to do is give up. Make sure that your goals are important to you and how you want to live your life. They need to be realistic so that you are able to sustain them, without losing motivation. They need to be more than just “I want to lose x amount of weight”, think about why you want to lose the weight. Is it so you can run around after the grandkids? Do you want to keep mobile as you get older? Do you have a holiday that you want to feel your best on? Or maybe you want to be able to complete a full Zumba class without resting? Whatever your goal, make it personal to you!
Then, and only once you have your goals, can you to look at how you are going to get there. You want to enjoy your journey to your goals so make sure that you find something that you enjoy doing and that you know has a purpose, whether that’s a particular workout, dance class or simply walking every day. You are more likely to continue your journey if what you are doing will absolutely get you the results that you want.
If, for example, you want to lose weight and tone to give you more freedom to do the things that you want to do, make sure that your eating and exercise plan takes that into account. If you restrict yourself to 800 calories a day, there is not much freedom there for eating out or going to a social occasion, or if you decide you’re going to go to the gym every day at 6am, there is no freedom to have that late night or even a night away because as soon as you ‘break’ one of your conditions you will feel that you have failed. Make sure that you have a good balance, for example, try to cut down on sugar and introduce more fruit, vegetables and protein into your diet. You will instantly be eating a healthier diet but also allowing for those unexpected treats or dinners out. A good way to start is by simply making sure that everything you eat is prepared from scratch. This also means that you won’t be dipping into the goody cupboard (we all have one lol 😊) and eating crisps, biscuits, chocolates, and ice cream etc as, unless you make all your treats, you won’t be making these from scratch. With exercise, decide to go to the gym three times a week but be a little flexible on days and times. You will find that you are eating well and exercising without feelings of deprivation or failure.
So, now you know what your goals are, and you’ve planned a do-able, sustainable route to get there, let’s look at tips that can help.
- Set your goals, taking into account why you want to achieve them and how you want to feel. Do you want to feel fitter, stronger and more toned, gain muscle or lose body fat? Do you want to have more confidence and reduce stress and anxiety? Do you want to be able to run around and play with your grandchildren, be fit enough to shop til you drop with your daughter or take part in your child’s sports day? Also think about what you don’t want as well as the things you do. You don’t want illness, disease and injury so embracing your new healthy lifestyle can help reduce the risk of that.
- Accept that things get in the way. You might have a late night, get held up late at work or have an early meeting, you or a relative might be ill, a friend might organise impromptu drinks or the online shop is being delivered when you want to go to the gym. These things don’t matter, and it doesn’t mean that you have failed and might as well give up because you missed one gym session. By the same principle, your teeth won’t fall out if you forget to brush them one night. You don’t want it to happen all the time but now and again it’s fine. Have a back-up plan, as much as you can. If you know you have to stay late at work, then try to go for a walk at lunchtime or if you are ordering a takeaway because you don’t have a lot of time, then choose a healthy option.
- Set a time limit and set achievable goals within that time limit. This is important in order for you to have an end time to work to and, also so that you can then set different goals from that date as they might need changing. Commit to that time and be prepared to put every effort into it. If you need to lose 3 stone and set a time limit of 12 weeks, then break it down a little further. Whilst that might be do-able it would involve a very restrictive diet which is unsustainable and would also leave you with very little energy for exercising. Instead aim to lose 1 stone in the 12 weeks, losing an average of a pound a week, and then reassess and set a new goal of one stone in month two. At the end of the three months, you will have lost your three stone. Think about what you are going to eat, such as adding more veg into your diet and cutting out processed foods, and how much exercise you are going to do, such as three resistance-based workouts a week. Write everything down and reassess every two weeks to keep yourself on track. Write down what you want to achieve for both diet and exercise. Start small, for example, add vegetables into every meal or work up to being able to complete 10 push ups by practising modifications. Build up slowly until you are sticking to your new healthy routines for at least 80% of the time. Adding too much too quickly can be overwhelming, and, if you are finding this, then reduce or change what you are doing for a short time, for example, focus on just adding more veg into your diet to start with, or change your hour-long workouts for 30-minute resistance-based workouts. Take a look at our 30-minute circuit workout here.
- Break things down into bite sized pieces. Remember that well known saying, how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time 😊 It’s exactly the same with setting goals. Start by walking for 10 minutes a day and building up to longer walks, or practising until you can do one push up with good technique. Start with 10-minute workouts and build up to three to five 30-minute workouts a week.
- Start living your life now, incorporating your new habits as you go along. Don’t wait until you are fitter, stronger or have less body fat!
So, hopefully now you can’t wait to get started. Work out what your goals are, think about why you want to reach them and how they will make you feel and how they will change your life. Change one or two things to start with and add more as you progress. Have a back up plan for situations that might arise and check in with your progress every couple of weeks to make sure that you are on track.
Good Luck 😊
Caroline & Hannah xx