“When you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”
January first is fast approaching and I want you all to be successful in your commitment to health. Don’t let your plan die two weeks into the new year.
A large reason this happens is because we have a tendency to make unreasonable goals and be blind-sided by challenges, or lack the support to keep focused.
Today, we are going to put together a game plan. Game plans are all about goals and strategies, plus taking into consideration the unexpected.
How to Create Reasonable Goals to Rock Your Health
“Keep your goals in front of you and your fears behind you.” - Tony Robbins
When it comes to goal setting, you want your goals to be 1) attainable and 2) flexible.
Attainable goals are realistic for you. They are personal goals that take into consideration your lifestyle and capability.
Flexible goals are goals that will allow you to continue striving and progressing forward, despite unforeseen occurrences and emotional setbacks. You will stay flexible because the truth is that success is not a straight line. It’s squiggly and all over the place, but eventually moves and progresses in the same direction.
I like to call myself a “goal digger”. Truthfully, while I am a pro at goal setting, my adult ADHD keeps me all over the place, often missing the mark. But if this year has taught me anything, it’s that the goals I have made for the past 20 years in fitness and health were neither reasonable nor flexible. The goals that I make for myself now have helped me to maintain this lifestyle and, ultimately, move forward.
I will explain.
Have you ever written down a “game plan” for losing weight? Ten pounds each month? One pound a week for this year would be fifty pounds? “I’m going to eat 1,500 calories a day, one cheat meal a week, and workout five days a week…and swim!” Lol.
This was me. And wouldn’t you know, one and a half days in, I’d miss the mark and feel like a failure.
That feeling of failure will discourage you and keep you from reaching your goal.
When you are starting out on a journey of any kind, it is important to set yourself up for success. You want to make a goal that will 1) move you forward but 2) be one that you CAN AND WILL reach.
A fellow coach on our team once told me (after I told her that I was discouraged from not losing weight like “my plan” said I would) that I should first focus on maintaining my weight. This lady knew what she was talking about. She had just lost almost 100 pounds. She was wise enough to know that simply maintaining a weight loss was a respectable goal.
This reminder was especially important to me because the majority of my initial weight loss was due to stress (not eating). If I had not exercised daily and fed myself each day, I would’ve easily gained all my weight back. When I looked at it like that, I realized that every workout was indeed contributing to my final goal and that giving up or giving in would be silly and I’d be back at ground zero.
Through the holiday season, when everyone was indulging in lattes and pies, I told myself to not focus on weight loss but to just focus on maintaining my routine. To maintain would mean that I would be contributing to my health, endurance, and strength each day to propel me forward. And it was reasonable for me. Vowing off carbs (yeah, I admit I tried that) or avoiding Starbucks would simply set me up for failure.
You should know I love my cranberry Bliss bars. Oh my…
Let’s discuss this in specific terms. I’ve come up with two examples of women (one real, another made up) who are creating reasonable goals.
Lindsey loves fitness. She starts each day with a workout and makes it her aim to push herself to the end. She sweats like crazy and loves the high. Because she’s learned to be consistent, she’s increased her strength and endurance. She runs longer. She squats more. And one day, she presses 500 pounds on a leg machine. It’s then that she decided she’d like to try powerlifting.
But that same week, her heart starts to palpitate and flutter. Daily. For hours. It’s accompanied with shortness of breath. When she stands up or shifts positions, she is light-headed. This continues for weeks. She’s scared. She can’t work out. She is devastated and unhappy so she forces herself to walk around the neighborhood one day. Her heart won’t allow her and she ends up in the ER.
She finally realizes she has to rest. She decides to focus on her nutrition. She doesn’t binge. She chooses healthier options. And, oddly, even though she isn’t working out, she isn’t gaining weight either. She’s still on her path.
After realizing it had been a week or so since her heart had troubled her, she decides to make a new goal for January first. She chooses the easiest program her business offers and makes a goal to complete it each day that month. She knows the possibility that her heart may act up again so she also decides to watch her nutrition every day. That way, if she can’t work out again, she will still be on track.
Cristina is at her highest weight ever. A gymnast as a child, she now struggles to connect with that youthful feeling she imagines to be “not so long ago”. She’s in her mid-forties and suffering from depression, back injuries, painful menstrual cycles and the realization that she could be a candidate for uterine cancer.
She doesn’t feel like she can do this. She lacks energy and desire. Most days, it’s all she can do to take care of the children in her home daycare and read her Bible. With her children grown and leading separate lives, she feels lost and purposeless, as if she could disappear into nothingness. She used to find joy in her workouts but now she just hopes she can get through the day alive.
Her close friends purchase a gym membership for her but the thought of lifting weights is overwhelming. She doesn’t want to commit but they insist.
She works up the courage over the course of a few weeks and decides the following:
She lives in a neighborhood with landscaped trails and hills popular for walking. She simply tells herself that she will make an aim to walk each day and visit the gym once a week. The gym has a sauna. A pool. A hot tub. Zumba. Treadmills. Weight machines. When she visits the gym, she won’t commit to one particular thing. She will just “show up”. At that point, she will decide what she has the energy for.
Sometimes the only thing she does is sit in the steam sauna but that alone feels good and boosts her sense of well-being. Some days, she can’t walk. But on average, by March she has worked herself up to three times a week. She’s only eight pounds down but she hasn’t given up.
By summer she connects with an old friend (named Lindsey, wink wink) who joins her at the gym and sometimes for walks. They support one another and make plans when they can. They don’t give up. By September, they both have lost 20 pounds.
Having now incorporated these workouts into their routine, it’s become a lifestyle. They feel ready for more. They encourage each other to really dial in on nutrition and add more workouts to their week. By the year's end, Cristina has lost a total of 40 pounds. She only has 15 more to lose and is certain she can work that off in whatever time is reasonable.
What did you notice about Lindsey and Cristina’s game plans?
They worked with their lifestyle. They made goals that they were sure they could attain. They stayed flexible and had a “backup plan” for when they weren’t feeling so hot. And they utilized tools and support.
Your goals could simply be:
- To move each day
- To drink enough water each day
- To quit soda or sugar
- To train for a 5k
- To get your children out each day for a walk
- To learn a new sport
- To maintain your weight and/or tone muscles
Start with reasonable. Build on that.
If you feel you could use the motivation and support for your game plan, we have just the place for you!
We’ve created a group on Facebook called Love, Peace & Smoothies where the “Lindseys” and “Cristinas” and the “yous” 😉 will be sharing their journey, tips, advice, posts, and/or encouraging and motivating one another to adopt healthy lifestyles. We will be discussing all things related to physical, mental and emotional health, as well as running challenges for fitness, self-care and clean eating. How you participate is up to you. But either way, we want to journey together.
If it’s not your desire, no problem. But, don’t forget that game plan! Be good to yourself. Treat your body kindly. A healthy lifestyle means that you will be running a marathon, not a sprint. Slow and steady…be consistent and reasonable. And when something isn’t working for you, go back to the drawing board and re-route your game plan.
You will surely get there.
Join us in Love, Peace, And Smoothies Facebook Group for encouragement, support, and community for health and fitness goals.
Lindsey LOVES Instagram! Follow her by clicking here.
Don't miss the other posts in this series!
Part 1~ Rock Your Health: Know Your Why