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Taja Watkins-Scott, BS
Physical Health & Wellness Associate
January 19th is said to be known as “Quitters Day”.
19 days into a new and exciting year, you’re rearing to go and then suddenly you miss the gym for a day and decide to go tomorrow, then tomorrow turns into a week, a week turns into a month and then next thing you know you’re back t square one making the same resolutions that you fail to keep up with year in and year out. The question I aim to answer is: How do we break this cycle?
I’m sure you’ve been taught this and you’re probably thinking “this isn’t new, I learned this at school etc...”, but repetition aids in forming new habits. Just because we know what something is doesn’t mean we are putting it into practice. This year I challenge you to take this approach. Maybe this time around will be the moment where the habit of keeping your New Year's fitness goals is secured. So, let’s break it down:
Specific – State exactly what it is that you want to achieve, for example to be able to run 5k by the end of the year. This means you know exactly what it is that you want to accomplish and discourages distractions so you know exactly what it is you’re trying to achieve.
Measurable – This can be broken down into subcategories. The first is having a goal that you can actually measure in some sort of qualitative manner, so in regards to running 5k you have the distance that you aim to reach. To break this down further you could start with training to run 1k and then increase the distance as it becomes easier or you could even break the distance up with running and walking until you can run the full distance.
Action-Orientated – Describe your goals using action verbs and outline the exact steps you will take to achieve them for example; running four times a week in your first week of training where you run for one minute and walk for one minute for a total of 30 minutes. Week two you could then run four times a week where you run for 2 minutes and walk for 1 minute for a total of 3o minutes and so on.
Realistic – Don't set yourself a fitness goal that you know you could never personally be able to accomplish. Yes, it should be challenging, but don’t push yourself beyond what you can realistically achieve. This will set you up for failure and could discourage you from pursuing your goals. On the other hand, ensure that the goal pushes you to your limits as lack of challenge can reduce motivation. Make sure you have the right balance.
Timely – Give yourself a deadline of when you want to reach your goal and set up regular check in sessions along the way with mini goals of what you would like to have had achieved with your fitness goals by each point as you work your way towards the final goal. This can help to maintain your motivation along the way by having small victories on your journey.
Don’t give up on your goals! Whether you have a bad day, bad week, bad month or even a bad year, it is always ok to start over. You’ve got this. Let’s start 2021 with power.
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