Sunday, May 1, 2011

So… The Resolution’s Over?



Many of us start the year with fitness and health resolutions that we are determined to see through. And then somewhere along the line, something snaps, and we find ourselves back where we started.

Realistic goals: To be frank, I have seen people set such intense fitness goals that Arnold Schwarzenegger or Kelly Ripa won’t be able to meet. Yes, I said Kelly Ripa; have you seen the muscles on her? Anyway, while we are out constructing all sorts of fitness goals that we know we could never live up to, some people are taking it step by step and actually meeting the realistic goals they set for themselves. An example is when I see the Senior citizens in the gym that just started exercising. Some of their limitations are set by their bodies and so when they set goals, they have to be cognizant of how far they can actually go. Sometimes, we need to treat our bodies that way too. We need to be aware of how far we can actually go.

Specific goals: When we set broad goals like “I will lose 10 pounds in 1 month”, and not specific goals like “I will run for 30 minutes on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday”, I don’t think we are doing our bodies any justice. Although the body is like a machine, and what you put into it is what you get out of it, life gets in the way. And so having our sense of self worth tied up around the numbers on the scale might not be the best way to approach a fitness resolution. Those should be things that we think about when we have gotten a balance with an everyday fitness lifestyle. For example, if you don’t go to the gym, and you eat a burger for lunch every day, and all of a sudden, you want to lose 5 pound in 2 weeks, at the end of that 2 weeks, when you don’t see the 5 pounds come off, you start to wane. Why not start with setting goals around how many times a week you run, or how many gym classes you attend, and then maybe you can set the next specific goal when you’ve met the first one?

Try new things: Why do personal trainers emphasize the fact that we should try to make fitness fun? Because it is hard.  I’m not going to sugar-coat it, or try to use the newest two-in-one Behr glossy paint and primer to cover it up. But when we lock our whole fitness world in a box, it gets even harder. When you are setting your goals for the year (or trying not to drop the resolutions you already set), focus on trying new things! Vow that on the last Saturday of every month, you would go to a new aerobic class or run on a new trail. We are creatures of habit, and so this may not be easy to get into, but at least it removes the boredom factor. How do you know what you like, what you’re capable of, if you don’t try anything new?

Can’t do it? Yes you can: One thing that a lot of people seem to leave out of their workout resolutions is getting better at their weakest areas. You can’t do a plank for 10 seconds? Set your goals around getting better at doing the plank. Obviously, doing the plank means you are working on your abs and your shoulders so in essence, your goal will allow you to get better abs. The same goes for pushups. If you can’t do a complete pushup, set a goal around when you expect to be able to do 1,5, and 10 pushups. The pushup helps with your arms, shoulders, and abs so in essence, you have a goal around building better arms, shoulders, and abs!

Attitude: This is another big item we leave off our resolution lists; our attitudes towards fitness. Simply changing your attitude can change a lot. A resolution should be how you can find new ways to incorporate fitness into your everyday life. For example, resolving that you won’t remain seated for over an hour at a time or that you’d start buying Skim milk instead of whole milk are just little things that we can set as goals that help to not box off fitness to a certain time of day.

One big reason we spend a lot of time trying and failing is because we build our resolutions around what we want, and not how we are going to get there. So as you see yourself nodding off on the exercise goals you set in January, shake yourself awake, wash your face, and start revamping. I promise you’d notice the difference.

We’d love to hear from you. What was your exercise goal this year, and have you stayed on track?

Also, at Eights & Weights, we send out daily email tips to a whole variety of people. These tips are around practical application of health and fitness advice in our every day lives. To receive these daily tips, simply send your email address to editor@eightsandweights.com, or send it to us on Twitter @eightsnweights.

Cheers ‘Eights & Weights’!

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