BY LINDA STEPHENS, RD
Many will set goals to sculpt a sexy physique, lose weight, or do both this year. Often, though, people set lofty, unrealistic goals (like losing 20lbs this month), which only sets them up for failure before they even start. Inability to achieve that goal can be upsetting and emotional for many, and it may even result in weight gain instead of weight loss.
Sometimes a solid incentive isn’t even enough. According to a study by Case Western Reserve University, 14% of people quit going to the gym after one week, even after they paid up to $60 in Amazon gift cards to exercise.
How can you set goals for yourself? Set goals that are realistic, attainable, and that will leave you with a feeling of accomplishment as you reach them. Here are easy tips that will help you see the changes you desire in both your body and your confidence.
Set simple, attainable goals such as, “I’m going to get more exercise this month.”
To get there, start slowly by taking the stairs at work or going for a walk during lunch. Also, see if your office has a corporate gym that you can grab a workout in before or after work. More movement equals more exercise.
Have a mental vision of what you want to look like. Remember to be reasonable; we can’t all be fitness or swimsuit models. Find a picture of an athlete that has a build similar to yours and post it on your refrigerator or hang on your office wall. Put an inspirational saying under it and make it your daily mantra. On the harder days of your journey, remember how you want to look and keep pushing toward that goal.
Purge your kitchen and work environment of junk food, salty snacks, and things that are just plain unhealthy. Focus on eating five to six smaller meals a day and don’t wait any longer than three hours to eat something. Having food prepped and ready for mealtimes will keep your metabolism humming and keep the hunger pangs (and hangry moods) away.
A strong immune system will keep you from becoming ill and sidelining your goals. Eat a variety of fruits (especially berries for the antioxidant benefits) and vegetables. This will ensure you’re getting enough valuable vitamins and nutrients. Consider adding in a glutamine supplement for extra insurance during winter months. And to reduce exposure to cold and flu germs, wash your hands and keep them away from your face.
Many gyms will offer a trial membership to give potential members the opportunity to try out their facility before committing to an initiation fee and monthly membership fees. Those same gyms may even offer a free session with a trainer. This will allow you to learn the lay of the land and ask questions about how to attain the body you envision. Working with a trainer even once can help alleviate the anxiousness you may feel about walking into the gym for the first time.
Find a few inspirational quotes that resonate with you and schedule them as “pop-up reminders” in your calendar or cell phone, especially during times of the day you find most challenging. When you see the quote pop-up, take a moment during your day to close your eyes, take a breath, and repeat it several times. Believe it, and live it. Your mind and thoughts are powerful tools—use them to be productive.