Goals, especially ones related to health and fitness, are almost synonymous with the New Year. Once the year changes, everyone’s scrambling to establish a list of things they want to accomplish this year and start working on them immediately.
As we move further into the year, though, the enthusiasm for achieving these goals putter out until they reach the end of the year with barely anything done.
If you’re one of these people, go easy on yourself. We recognize that without proper motivation, sticking with your goals can feel like a monumental task.
Below, we listed ways to help you stick with, reach, and maintain your fitness goals instead of falling back to old habits.
1. Make your goals SMART
The first step to sticking with your goals throughout the year starts at the planning stage. When establishing your goals, make sure to make them SMART—Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-Bound.
First, make your goals specific. List down every single goal you want to achieve, and not just in broad terms, either.
No “eat more vegetables” or “lose weight.” Identify how much more vegetables you want to eat (every dinner, five times a week, etc.) and what weight you want to reach. If your goals are specific, it makes it easier for your achievements to be measurable.
Apart from knowing determining your specific goals, you must also specify the steps you will make to attain them. As such, it’s important to keep your goals realistic.
Be honest with yourself about your body’s limits and how much you can push them. This way, you have an idea of what you can and cannot do realistically. When your goals are unrealistic, setbacks are more likely to happen, which can discourage you.
In relation to be realistic, give yourself ample time to achieve each goal. Making your fitness goals time-bound makes it easier to track your progress and hold yourself accountable.
2. Write them down
It’s straightforward—write all your goals down. When they’re all laid out on paper (or your phone screen) and you start checking off each one, the sense of accomplishment is instant.
What you write down can also give you an insight into what techniques are working and which ones need to be tweaked. With this knowledge, you can adjust your goals and deadlines accordingly so you can achieve them instead of simply stopping because it’s not working.
3. Establish a wellness routine
There’s no better way to train yourself to do something than by doing it regularly. With your goals all laid out, you can include your schedule there and follow them consistently.
Say, you get up run around your neighborhood for an hour every morning. You follow it up with yoga in your solar shade-covered patio to enjoy the morning breeze, alternating it with gym time every other day. Then, you prepare your meal and go to work.
Doing these things every day, with few variations, will condition and prepare your mind for them. Soon, you’ll find doing these things in your routine as natural as breathing, making it easier for you to stick with them.
4. Give yourself some alternatives
While a routine is a great way to keep your mind and body well-conditioned, things can unexpectedly change. Your gym might be closed, the weather might be bad for running, or you may not realize you’ve run out of certain ingredients specific to your diet.
When these things happen, it’s helpful to have alternatives and backup plans so you’re not thrown off your goals. Maybe you have a home gym you can work out of, try Pilates instead of yoga, or give yourself a cheat day from your diet.
Goals have some flexibility and you should go easy on yourself. Otherwise, these goals can be unattainable.
5. Find a friend to reach goals with
There’s always the temptation to ignore your alarm or give into your cravings while you’re on a strict diet. But it’s easier to ignore them when you have someone keeping you accountable.
So, why not ask your mom, dad, sibling, or a friend to be your fitness buddy? This way, you can be each other’s cheerleaders while also keeping the other accountable for slacking on your goals. You can also join a fitness club so you and the other members can help each other stay on track.
If you’ve struggled before to commit to your health and fitness goals before, make this year different. Follow our tips above and see your goals met one by one.