Embarking on new fitness goals can be daunting. Where do we start? Sometimes the answer is TO just start.
Beginning a new exercise regime can be daunting, especially if you’ve never done it before. Maybe you’re intrigued about spin classes, or starting a yoga practice. Perhaps you want to run a half marathon, take up obstacle course running, or just get back in the gym to get in shape. On its face, any of these can be massive undertakings. The trick is to not let the weight of the goal crush your initial desire.
A good starting point may be to ask yourself “Why?”. Why are you pursuing this path? What are you hoping to get out of this? There’s really no wrong answer here. The results of exercise give us so many benefits: weight control, weight loss, increased strength, improved posture, lower blood pressure, better cardiovascular capacity, improved mobility, balance and coordination. (Just to name a few!) And everyone’s favorite: looking and feeling better. Okay – most people just want to look better. But exercise helps us to actually feel better through endorphin release. And if you look better, you likely feel better about yourself.
So, now that you’ve decided to DO something specific, how do we get there? If we haven’t set an endpoint, or goal, then how do we know if we’ve arrived? And if we don’t know the destination, how will we know how to get there? Just as important as the End Goal, is the journey getting there. By setting many smaller goals, or milestones, along the way, the insurmountable seems much more possible.
When setting your goals, make sure that they are realistic. Perhaps you’ve heard of the acronym SMART. It stands for: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. They’re good guidelines to help make sure that you know the exact shape of your goal. As well, smaller goals help to make sure that you’re not biting off more than you can chew.
It’s true: I get by with a little help from my friends. When you share your goals with friends and family, failure seems less like an option. Accountability is part of Goal Setting. It’s easy to lie to yourself, but it’s harder to lie to your spouse or best friend about what you did or did not do. Humiliation can be a great motivator!
Everyone stumbles and falls, but our loved ones can help us in those times and help to pick us back up. Word of caution: it may not be wise to tell everyone in your circle. Some people may not understand your mission, and try to talk you out of it. Confide only in those who will support you one thousand percent.
So, get out there and get started! More on this topic in a few…
Mark M Lusk, DPT, OCS, CSCS