Setting goals means planning a path to our dreams. It’s likely that at the beginning of this year you set some goals. For example, every year I had the habit of making the same resolution: I would take up running, some form of martial arts, and start going to the gym. But I was never able to fulfill my fitness plan and became completely discouraged and didn’t even consider trying a different workout regime. My question is: have you planned attainable goals or, like me, have you set gigantic and unattainable targets?
Let’s be realistic. I wouldn’t be able to reconcile my daily responsibilities and routine with going to the gym, running, and Taekwondo lessons.
We often set ourselves up for failure when setting these types of goals. When we fail to meet such high expectations, we give up. The truth is that we don’t need to make such lofty plans because it’s through small, consistent steps that we can achieve our goals. Let’s take a look at some small habits we can all adopt and that will lead to great results.
ONE STEP AT A TIME
If you live or work in a building with an elevator, set aside three days a week to avoid it. Use the stairs instead.
Keep track of your steps! Smartwatches have become quite popular lately, and they can be a very handy tool to motivate and keep track of your fitness goals. One of its functions is to number the steps you take in a day. You also have the option of setting a step goal. For example, 5,000 steps or more depending on your routine. The important thing is to set a goal that challenges you but is also attainable.
If you don’t have a smartwatch, there are phone apps you can download to help you keep track. Even if you are now spending more time at home, it’s still possible to keep an eye on your steps and make sure you’re getting enough!
You know that store or bank that’s relatively close to your house but that you insist on driving to? Start cycling or walking there. Over time, take the longest route to arrive and to add to your exercise routine.
It’s okay if you don’t have the time, money, or energy to go to the gym before work or after work. Get up just a few minutes earlier, roll out a mat or a rug, and take some time to do a pre-defined set of stretches, sit-ups, and squats.
A few extra ideas:
- Park far away from the grocery store entrance to guarantee added steps;
- When you get to the mall, park at the entrance furthest from the store you’re going to;
- Keep your workout clothes in the bathroom or wherever you get ready for the day. Take off your pajamas and get straight into your workout clothes;
- Browse through YouTube and try many different workout videos. Switch it up (cardio, stretching, bodyweight exercises…);
- Set a goal of 15 minutes of activity five days a week. Just do it without giving yourself time to think or make excuses. Before you know it, you’ll be adding to those minutes because exercise is addictive!
- Borrow a neighbor’s dog. If you know someone who can’t take their dog out for a walk, consider taking them yourself (as long as it is safe to do so). Once you see how happy walks make dogs, it’ll be very motivating to get moving!
Great achievements have small beginnings. In Matthew 25, we read the parable of the talents and learn how the servant who received fewer resources gave up before he even started, while the others took the small amounts they had received and grew them.
Let’s stop deceiving ourselves with unrealistic paths to success. Enough with the excuses for not starting a healthy and active life today. Believe me, you have enough resources to get started!
Did you know these small habits can help reduce anxiety?