Healthy, Fit & Fabulous: Small Steps = Real Achievement
How are your health and fitness resolutions going? We all fall into the hype, succumbing to that undying urge to change our life and make it the best year ever. Each year, we set lofty goals, mostly unrealistic, about how we’re going to get in the best shape of our life, achieve our ideal weight, learn six foreign languages, quit every bad habit and be able to leap buildings in a single bound.
Then there’s the aftermath—a few weeks pass, or even a few days, and you fall off the proverbial wagon. You sneak in a hamburger, cigarette or candy bar while missing that boot camp or cross-training class you pledged eternal allegiance to on January1. It’s destined to be, so why fight it, right? Wrong.
Why not resolve to dump the unrealistic resolutions and set some realistic goals for yourself? If you genuinely want to affect change in your life, which every one of us is entirely capable of, then the best thing to do is aim for gradual change. Setting manageable goals allows you to avoid the depressing failure of not reaching ridiculous ones. You’ll be able to measure results easier and the rewards will be lasting.
Start by setting specific, attainable goals with realistic timeframes attached. For example, if you want to lose 15 pounds by that June wedding that you’re in, your immediate goal should be “lose five pounds by March 10.” That sets you on a healthy, realistic schedule to lose five pounds a month until June. Or if you’ve always wanted to run a marathon, your goal might be, “Run 10 miles without stopping by March 15.”
If you haven’t exercised in two years and are ready to start again, instead of setting several targets that are extreme for you, kick off with a single modest goal: work out for 15 minutes a day, three days a week. Each week, add five minutes to the total. By the end of one month, you’ll be working out 30 minutes per day and will be ready to add another to the schedule. This is entirely manageable, won’t shock your body and will absolutely garner results.
Many personal trainers agree that impractical goals should be replaced with simpler objectives, while some advise to go completely against the grain when planning for a fitness transformation. Trainer Bing Dinh of Body Mind Architects (www.BodyMindArchitects.com), who has trained clients ranging from pro athletes and the Santa Monica SWAT Team to housewives and children, suggests a unique approach to his clients. “I tell my clients to focus on the present. Just take a breath and do a rep, take a breath and run another step, or take a breath and do another pose,” Bing says. “By the end of the week, you’ll be surprised at how far you have gone and how much you have accomplished.” It makes sense that a simple mindset shift can affect your physical performance and results.
Think about all the possible obstacles to your goals and come up with solutions. If finances are limiting you from joining a gym, then work out outside. Go on walks, runs, bicycle rides or take up surfing, roller skating, skateboarding, whatever you like. There are reasonable outdoor group workouts like BMA’s Venice Beach workout that can help you stay inspired and give you instruction. Or buy a few pieces of equipment like a Balance Ball, Medicine Ball and resistance bands—that’s all the gym you need.
Then it’s time for the fun part—creating rewards. Make sure to give yourself props by allowing a treat for each goal you achieve. Whether it’s a new pair of jeans, a trip to the movies, dinner at your favorite restaurant or a vacation, all you need is something to look forward to so that you stay inspired and motivated. The key ingredient is to make sure it’s one of your favorite things to do or something you really want, not someone else’s big desire.
Be your own alchemist this year—you have all the power you need to change into your very best version of you.
Chaton Anderson is a Writer, Filmmaker and Fitness expert, as well as a product and pop culture addict. She is always looking for the coolest, hippest things on the market, as well as the newest health and fitness trends to hit the scene. E-mail her at Chaton@FusionIntegrated.com with questions or leads on products and services on the cutting edge.