Motivation Monday – Goal Setting and How It Doesn’t Have to Be the Beginning of a New Year to Make ‘Em

Posted: August 30, 2011 in Music

Corny carnival games are the ultimate athletic and maturirty tests 🙂

How did it get to be the end of another month and the end of summer, no less, so soon? I cannot say, but wow, Happy Almost Labor Day! It took me a minute the other day to realize how early the sun is setting at night and how late in the morning the sun rises now. I must admit that although Fall is my favorite season, I do wish the day would stay lighter for longer.

Motivation is driven by something—what does it for you? I’m sure we all have the same answer, ultimately: a goal or multiple goals. The most common? We all know those, too: I want to lose 5, 10, 15 pounds; I want to fit into a size X jean; I want to lose weight before such-and-such party.

Can I be honest with you? Well, you already know I’m going to be 🙂 Those kinds of goals scare me. Don’t get me wrong I’ve been there before and don’t doubt I’ll be there again, but those specific, vanity-driven goals are like diets—they are short-term fixes, not long-term lifestyles.

I encourage my friends and fitness clients to pick goals that are bigger and better. Can’t get through an hour-long Spinning class doing everything the instructor says? Make that a goal. Can’t do an entire P90X or Insanity DVD? Make that a goal. Can’t run more than a mile or never run a 5K? Make that a goal. Do you eat meat every day of the week and have a habit of having pop every day, too? Make it a goal to cut back on the pop and go a day without eating meat.

Those kinds of goals create healthy, normal habits. I say normal because wanting to lose a certain amount of weight or fit into a certain pair of jeans is stressful. You end up overexercising and dieting too much to the point where you’re a disordered eater or even have a mild eating disorder (yep, I’ve been there, too). The goals I mentioned are fitness and ability-specific. Don’t try to see if you can starve yourself and still get through a workout—that hurts your athleticism and body more than it helps it! Challenge yourself to try a new workout or run a race or make a food-specific change.

I can’t tell you how much changing my goals has helped me mentally, emotionally, and physically when it comes to my eating and exercising habits. Some past goals I had were: to get into Pilates, to try yoga, to go to Spinning three days a week, to lift heavier, to run a 10K, to cut back on/cut out dairy and meat, and to become a fitness instructor. I can happily say I’ve accomplished all of those and am healthier and fitter than ever!

But it doesn’t stop there. I continue to make goals. Why? Because they push me. And I like a good challenge 🙂 What are my goals now? I’ll share them with you:

  1. To become a certified personal trainer
  2. To become certified in multiple fitness areas (Pilates, Piloxing, Les Mills, etc.)
  3. To train for another long race
  4. To try Kettlebells
  5. To try to cut back on the processed foods, sugar, and salt even more (funny thing is my body can tell when I’ve eaten a little too much of one or all of those and it is not comfy!)

Why should you set goals? Because they are instant motivation. No songs, no quotes, no articles required. It’s all in your head and that’s what hurdling fitness jumps is all about—it’s a mental game. What makes a goal good? Here are some things to keep in mind when setting goals:

  1. Make them specific. I want to run a 10K. Boom. There. Go. Run.
  2. Try to stay away from pounds and numbers around that because you find yourself constantly fixated on the scale and what you’re eating, how much you’re working out, etc. It’s exhausting.
  3. Have a plan to go with the goal. Want to lift three days a week? Cool. What days work best for you? Pencil them into your calendar. Now. Treat it like a business meeting so you don’t skip out.
  4. Make them visible. Write them, type them, stencil them, jot them on a napkin and hang it on your fridge, just make sure you can see your goals every day. It’s like studying for a test—the more you look at them and read them, the more you believe them and know them.
  5. Gather a support system. Tell you mom, significant other, best friends, coworkers, and your dog what your goals are. They can help keep you accountable and cheer you on! Who doesn’t love a personal cheering section?
  6. Be realistic. If you’ve never run before and you set out to run a marathon in 3 months than you should re-evaulate. I’m not saying you can’t work up to a marathon, but set your sights on something smaller first, like a 5K. Then a 10K. Then a half-marathon. Then the big guy.
  7. Write about it. Jot things down after workouts, keep a journal, or blog about your fitness journey. It will help you visualize it and stick with it because you’re talking about it with yourself. Take it from someone who writes about everything—writing even a few lines about how tough something was or how awesome you felt finishing that full-hour class is releasing.
  8. Don’t forget to give yourself some breaks and rewards! Take a day off during the week or just vow to walk a little bit, nothing intense. If you’re upping your game, your body needs time to adjust and recover. And give yourself a pat on the back when you finish things! But steer away from edible treats and opt for pampering ones, like new workout clothes, a massage, or a mani/pedi.

 

So I said you don’t need songs and quotes to motivate you, but hey, they help J

Hip Shakin’ Songs:
Shake Senora by Pitbull ft. T-Pain and Sean Paul
In the Dark by Dev 

Motivatin’ Words:
“Workouts are like brushing my teeth: I don’t think about it; I just do it. The decision has already been made.” – Patti Sue Plumer,U.S.Olympian

“Don’t expect every day to be better than the last. Some days will be slower than others, and some days might even hurt a bit. But as long as you’re on the road, it’s a good day.” – Runner’s World training tip

 

What kinds of goal-making strategies worked for you in the past? What are your fitness goals now?

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