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March 2013 Challenge: Improving Habits and Setting Goals – Reflecting on Resolutions

By on March 3, 2013
woman-measuring

It’s the beginning of a new month and the beginning of a new week! What a perfect time to reevaluate (or set) your health-related goals, especially with the SUMMER right around the corner which presents an added incentive as we all want to look better for those warmer months :) When we think of fitness challenges, often we assume they are going to involve aspects that make them difficult to commit to for any length of time. The challenge this month is for those who started out strong after the New Year began and tapered off as time went on. This tends to be the case with the majority of the goals set as resolutions — it’s easy for the passion to wane after a few weeks and it’s important to keep in mind the reason you made the resolution to begin with. Here we are 8.5 weeks into 2013 – it’s time to reflect on where you were when the year began, where you are now and how much progress you’ve made — or haven’t made — in the first two months of 2013.

  • Are you satisfied with the results you’ve seen so far?
  • Are you still going as strong as you were when you first began?
  • Are you looking back like so many people, kicking yourself for not being further along in your journey?

Ask yourself these questions and then consider the following:

  • If you are satisfied with your results so far, what can you do to take it up a notch? If you’re not, what caused you to slack off or kept you from giving your best effort?
  • If you are going as strong as you were when you first began, it’s time to start going even harder! If you aren’t, it’s time to kick it back into high gear!
  • If you believe you are at a good place in your journey, prepare yourself for the next step. If you feel as though you should be further along than you are, set a plan of action to make sure that you don’t feel that way the next time you stop to assess yourself again.

If you haven’t noticed what the pattern is here, it’s simple – if you’re in a good place right now, you need to find a good way to take it to the next level. If you aren’t, you need to find a good way to get to a good place so that you can put yourself in a position to take it to the next level. The idea here is to improve no matter where you are in your fitness journey today. We’re not about dwelling on yesterday or what you should have done, but rather about considering what you need to do tomorrow in order to be one step closer to your goals.

Today, think about the one thing that makes reaching your goal harder and set a goal that will offset that challenge. Then, make a commitment to improve one thing — no matter how small — about the three most important areas in your fitness journey:

  • Eating habits – What can you cut out of your normal diet? If you don’t believe you’re at the point that you can succeed in completely eliminating that particular thing, at least commit to minimizing the consumption frequency. The best way to ensure the success and long-term application of any lifestyle change is to make it a gradual progression that doesn’t make you feel deprived. You don’t want to make such drastic changes that you are left feeling unhappy or resentful – changes should implemented in such a way that makes you capable of sticking to them for the long haul!
  • Level of activity – What amount of exercise can you absolutely commit to? Carve out a 15-20 minute window at least 2-3 times per week to start an exercise routine that you’re comfortable with. The best time is first thing in the morning (to boost your energy level and metabolism throughout the day) or last thing in the evening (to “spend” unused energy helping prepare you for rest) before you get in the shower so that your workout time is not interfering with your schedule or creating a necessity for out-of-routine bathtime. If you choose to work out in the evening, try to get that exercise time in at least 3 hours before your normal bedtime so that it doesn’t interfere with your sleep.
  • Sleep pattern – How can you ensure that you’re getting to bed around the same time every night and waking around the same time every morning? Regulating your sleep cycle is just as important to your health as healthy diet and consistent activity. The average adult’s body needs approximately 7-8 hours of sleep per night. Make some subtle changes to your schedule that will allow you to fit in an extra 15-20 minutes to start. Once you’re used to that, adjust things again to allow for another 15-20 minutes. Continue making these barely-noticeable changes and eventually you’ll find that you’re able to give your body sufficient rest without making a major shift in the way you do things.

The key here is to make sure that you’re setting ATTAINABLE goals to get yourself accustomed to small changes and then adjusting those goals slightly after set periods of time. Some people are able to go all-in and maintain their lifestyle changes long-term; most people are not wired that way. Setting goals that ensure your overall success means setting goals that will leave you feeling accomplished and not guilty or overwhelmed. Set your goals today and reassess your position each Sunday for the next 4 weeks to determine what can be further adjusted or decide if any new changes can be made for the week ahead. You might be surprised of how far you’ve come and how consistently you’ve maintained your changes by March 31!

About Kat Robertson

2 Comments

  1. Nick

    May 15, 2013 at 1:01 am

    Kat,
    Great post – I didn’t find it until May, but it is just as valid now as in March. I set some pretty huge goals for this year, but just haven’t been able to amke them all happen. So I’ll follow your advice and make some adjustments and prioritize what I want to accomplish (and keep reassessing every month or so).
    Nick

  2. Pingback: Adjusting Fitness Goals - Fitness Fundamentals - My Way!Fitness Fundamentals – My Way!

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