When we make a pact with ourselves to get fit and improve our bodies – regardless of how ambitious the fitness goals are that we have in mind, we often find that although we have a clear vision of what we want to achieve, we may lack the motivation and know-how to get there.
Every year, countless people put themselves under far too much pressure to achieve their perfect body or perfect state of fitness. By creating workout schedules, focusing too much on the best pre-workout meal, and not allowing for some downtime or dietary treats, the majority of these individuals wind up burning out, giving up, and therefore not achieving what they initially set out to do.
They do not break down their long term fitness goals into small, manageable chunks and they do not consider the various factors that come into play that could help us keep focused. This year, don’t give in to that feeling of being overwhelmed. Below, we’ve outlined some ways in which you can ensure that you stay on top of your fitness goals.
Look the part
Wearing clothes that are both appropriate and comfortable not only makes exercising easier, it also makes you feel athletic and more self-confident almost immediately! Stick to brands like Nike and Adidas that make high quality shoes and workout apparel. We can almost guarantee that you’ll feel more pumped up about going for that run or heading out to the gym when you can put on some stylish, purpose built sportswear rather than some old scruffs you’ve had in the back of the wardrobe for years.
Be realistic and start small
When we decide we want to improve our fitness levels, in our minds, it’s often a case of “go big or go home”. There’s nothing wrong with being ambitious – just know that it’s not really realistic to assume that you can be marathon ready, or have a body like Arnold Schwarzenegger circa Terminator in just a week or two. Have long-term fitness goals in mind, but help yourself get there by breaking it down into smaller, more easily manageable goals.
Be clear in what you want to achieve
Vague goals aren’t going to help anybody. For example “lose 4kg by Christmas” is a lot more easy to track and monitor then “lose a bit of weight and have a good body”. Quantify your goals and then they will be much easier to track. When you notice that you start making progress towards your ultimate goal, you will feel even more motivated to achieve it.
Achieving fitness targets requires a lot of hard work and dedication. Not just with regards to the time spent exercising or in the gym, but also in terms of the sacrifices made in other areas of your life in order to focus on your goals. Reward yourself with little treats in order to celebrate achieving small milestones – whether the treats are in the form of a purchase or something of a “cheat day” from your diet.
Track how well you’re doing
Along with setting small, measurable goals, you want to check how well you are doing against these goals. When you feel like you’ve achieved something or made progress towards your target, it feels extremely rewarding and amps you up for continuing even more. If your goals are centered around running or movement, consider tracking your progress with a pedometer. If they relate more to weight loss or muscle gain, you can keep a small journal that notes changed at regular intervals such as every fortnight.
Don’t give yourself a hard time
Life, work commitments, family obligations, and relationships can mean that your weekly schedule is bursting at the seems. Of course, try to stay focused and stick to a specific schedule with your workout but don’t give yourself a hard time if for some reason you have to make one training session shorter because of pressure in another area of your life. If you are too hard on yourself, you may end up throwing in the towel when you cannot meet the consistently unattainable expectations of your demanding fitness coach (i.e., yourself!)
Get a fitness buddy
Exercise is more fun with a friend in tow. Not only do they provide you with company for those jogs on winter mornings or those intense gym sessions, but you can also give each other tips, motivation, and share your journey towards your fitness goals. For moral support, you should also consider making your friends, family, and co-workers aware of your fitness aspirations so that they understand that you are experiencing additional pressures during this period.
Create an awesome workout playlist
Research has proven that listening to music when you exercise acts as a motivator and actually increase your endurance by up to 15 percent! So get creating a list of the best fast-paced, bass thumping songs you know so that you can feel inspired to get up and move around.