Be a “Goal-Getter”

20130823_171901If you are like most people, your new year’s resolution will sound something like:

“I’m going to lose weight.”

“I’m going to manage my stress better.”

“I’m going to take control of my finances.”

You might even take an action step toward obtaining those goals, like purchasing a gym membership, signing up for yoga, or balancing your checkbook. But then what happens?

Set yourself up for success this year by committing to a personal wellness goal. Become a “goal-getter” by following these proven strategies for goal-setting.

How to set an achievable wellness goal

Small steps are key in setting an achievable wellness goal. You can create several small steps in order to achieve a long-term goal. To avoid procrastination, it’s wise to set a timeline for your goal.

Good guidelines to follow when goal-setting are the SMART guidelines:

Specific

Measurable

Attainable

Realistic

Timely

These guidelines will help you track and easily determine if you have reached your goal. They also give you a timeline, which is important to keep you on track. Try to stick with one goal at a time until you feel like you are able to take on multiple goals at once. Writing your goals down may help you remember what you are striving for.

Examples of SMART Wellness Goals

  1. This week at work, instead of chips, I will have one piece of fruit as my afternoon snack.
  2. I’ll have dessert after dinner only two nights this week.
  3. At least three days a week, I will walk during my 15-minute morning and afternoon work break.
  4. Once a week, I will ride bikes with my children to and from the local park.

Goal Support

Know where you want to go with your goal, and think of ways friends and family can help you reach that goal. Getting support can make a huge difference in your success. A supportive environment is especially important to successful lifestyle changes.

Reward Yourself

It’s important to reward yourself for large and small accomplishments—celebrate your success! For example, reward yourself with a new outfit after you reach your goal of losing 15 pounds. Don’t punish yourself or give up on your goal if you start to get off track. Be prepared for relapse, and understand that it can take several attempts for behavior change to be successful.

With steps like these you can’t help but become a “goal-getter!”

Committing to Fitness

Our guest blogger, Sabrina, has committed to her kickboxing class, and while do so, she has found a few tricks to make her commitment stick!

9Round Shirt

After completing 50 workouts, my trainer rewarded me with this shirt. On the front it says, “I EARNED THIS SHIRT”—a token of my commitment!

For more than four months, I’ve been wrapping my hands and strapping on my boxing gloves three to four times a week. After each workout, I leave the kickboxing gym dripping with sweat and smiling. For the first time in my life, I’ve committed to a long-term fitness routine I can maintain.

I had tried (and failed) at all kinds of things—going to the gym, workout videos, Zumba classes, yoga classes, running—the list goes on.

Then in May 2014, a kickboxing gym opened near where I work, and I signed up for a year. Not a, “Oh, if I change my mind, I’ll just cancel my membership and pay an early termination fee” kind of year. A year as in, “The money is going out every month and there’s no stopping it, so my butt better go to the gym.”

And for more than four months, I’ve consistently hauled my cookies to that gym. The best part is that after four months, I still love it.

Committing to fitness isn’t easy, but there are some things I learned that made all the difference in sticking to my fitness routine:

  • Make sure it’s convenient. This gym is located between work and home. I go in for my workout before I ever even see my couch. If the gym had opened across town, this might’ve been more challenging.
  • Prepare ahead of time. I pack workout clothes for the week on Sunday night, then take my gym bag to work on the days I plan to work out. I also change into my workout clothes before I leave work, so I’m ready to hit the ground running when I get to the gym.
  • Allow some flexibility. I made a deal with myself that I would kickbox at least three times a week and would not go more than three days without a good sweat session at the gym. This way, I don’t feel like my life revolves around my workouts.
  • Set short-term goals. Long-term goals are great, but they’re easy to lose track of. My short-term goal is the CHOW (challenge of the week). Every time I go in I look at who is in the lead compared to where I’m at and decide if I’m going for the win or going for the personal record. And no matter which one I choose, I’m always choosing to get better.
  • Mix it up. 9Round is set up as a circuit with nine stations (three minutes at each station), and the workout changes every day, so I’m never bored and my body doesn’t get used to the same ol’ routine. For that reason, I’ve been sore ever since I started.
  • Make your workout get tougher with you. After four months, I’d really be stuck in a rut if I couldn’t modify my workout to make it more challenging. When I first started, I would’ve been lucky if I could do more than ten burpees in three minutes. (Have you seen or done a burpee? If not, you should check it out. And for three minutes? Longest three minutes EVER.) When burpees recently came up as the CHOW, I did 29. Next time, I’m breaking past that 30 mark. That’s going to happen.
  • Find (and give) support. I don’t usually like working out around other people, but between other kickboxers and my trainers, I have a fantastic support system. The comradery makes even the most challenging workout a lot of fun. (And laughing is a great workout for your abs—just sayin’.)
  • Have fun! If you pick a workout routine that includes the things listed here but you hate it, forget it. There are too many options to try to commit to something you don’t want to do. There are days when I don’t feel like kickboxing. But by round four I’ve got my gloves on, I’m punching the bag with all I’ve got, and I’m always glad I went—it makes me feel strong, powerful, and confident. That’s what keeps me going back.

No matter what kind of workout routine you choose, if you’re able to commit to it, you’re going to wonder how you ever got along without it.

What’s so “mountain” about Mt. Pisgah?

Our guest blogger, Kathy, has been continuing her 2014 resolution to try a new hike every month. Here’s her installment for the month of May:

PisgahMt. Pisgah? “What’s so ‘mountain’ about it?” I thought as I spotted it from the freeway upon our approach to the turn off. For my May monthly hike, I was looking for something that was close to home and that my family and I could knock out in an hour or two. We decided to visit Mt. Pisgah. I’d never been there, and with the first signs of a warm spring sun peeking out from behind the clouds, it was a perfect day to try it out.

I’ll tell you what’s so mountain about Mt. Pisgah—or better yet, let my sore muscles speak for me: 1500 foot elevation climb in 1.4 miles, with few switchbacks to soften the blow. Talk about huff and puff.

Unfamiliar with the various routes, we choose the steepest way up. As we started the hike, I kept looking at the faces of the people coming down. They were so happy. No—relieved was more like it. Not a good sign. Climbing up the steep gravelly path in my jeans and hiking boots (yes, I was overdressed) getting passed by joggers, kids, even lean and mean grandparents in the first half mile, I began to wonder if I would make it to the top.

But step-by-step, encouraged by my cross-country running, swim team daughter, and in better-shape-than I significant other, summit I did. And the panoramic view of the valley? A great payoff. And, as we made our decent, I smiled at everyone on the way up, wanting to say to them, keep going–it’s worth it! Now I know what’s so mountain about Mt. Pisgah (though I think I’m going to start calling it huff and puff hill).