Brigid's Keys to Success: Draw Your Map, a.k.a. Have a Plan and ATTACK It!
- Created on Tuesday, 06 March 2012 14:54
First say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do.
When I first set out to become healthier and more fit I had a pretty powerful incentive: beating cancer. Not only that, I wanted to do everything in my power to insure that the cancer wouldn't come back.
More than that, I wanted to become the healthiest and most fit Brigid that I could be.
We all set out on the road to better health and fitness for somewhat different reasons. I did it to save my life. You may be looking at the next twenty-plus years and realizing that it's time to do some work now so that you'll keep being able to live the way you want to live as you get older.
Or maybe you simply want to feel better about yourself when you look in the mirror.
As long as you're coming at health and fitness from a perspective of loving yourself and wanting to give yourself a better life – whatever that means to you – it doesn't really matter why you've decided that it's time to start exercising and eating a healthier diet.
But while the “why” isn't that important, the “how” will dictate not only whether or not you succeed, but also whether you're able to maintain your achievements. We all know people – many of us have been people – lost those excess pounds, for example, and then gained them all back.
The purpose of this post is to talk about the “how.” And when it comes to health and fitness, the “how” is all about setting and sticking to your goals.
The thing to remember about setting goals for your health and fitness is that this doesn't have to be a painful, or a dry and boring, process. Why? Because when you set goals for yourself, what you're actually doing is drawing the map that will take you to your dreams.
With that in mind, here are some tips for setting goals to help you achieve your health and fitness dreams:
1. What does your destination look like? Driving to Toledo may be fine, but not if you really wanted to end up in Albuquerque! When it comes to defining your health and fitness “destination,” keep in mind that you want to be specific – you don't want to end up just anywhere in Albuquerque, you want to visit the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center. Likewise, you don't just want to “lose weight” or “be more fit.” Instead, be specific – “I will be able to run one mile,” or “I will fit into size eight jeans,” or “I will be able to walk up the three flights of stairs to my apartment without breathing heavily.”
It's also very important to keep your goals achievable. You're not going to walk to Albuquerque, for example, or drive to France. Likewise, deciding that you're going to fit into those size eight jeans next week is a huge stretch if you're wearing a size fourteen today.
2. What are your mile markers going to be? Without mile markers we don't know how close we are to our destination, whether that destination is Albuquerque or being able to walk up the stairs to our apartment. Say that your goal is to be able to run a mile. You might decide that your first mile-marker is being able to run a quarter of a mile, or down the block, or until that first fire hydrant after your driveway. Start from where you are – not where you think you should be – and define your destination and your mile markers so that they'll challenge you but not defeat you.
3. Time is not a factor. You don't want to be wearing those size eight jeans for a month; you want to be able to wear them for the rest of your life. You don't want to spend a few weeks being able to walk up your stairs without discomfort and then go back to where you started, either. So while you may use time as one of your mile-markers – “I'll be able to run to that fire hydrant by next week – now what do I need to do to be able to do that?,” remember that you're not just planning to visit your dream destination – you're planning on living there.