Thursday, March 21, 2013

Weekly Tip: Have A Plan

Sticking to your fitness and weight loss goals means actually having to set specific goals for yourself to begin with.  Committing to something vague like "I want to lose weight" is almost like committing to nothing at all; it's way too vague and general.  If you don't have specific goals for yourself, you'll never achieve them.  That's why this week's tip is to HAVE A PLAN!

Initially, it's important to set your ultimate goal so you have something to shoot for.  This is what should keep your focused throughout your journey, because making major changes doesn't happen over night.  For example, my goal is to lose 15 pounds in 15 weeks.  I have a set number and a set time frame.  Once you've decided what your ultimate goal is, you need to make a plan to achieve that goal.  In my case, I decided that I wanted to start exercising at least 3-4 times per week and that I would track my food so I would know how many calories I was actually consuming throughout the week.  The blog also doesn't hurt when it comes to keeping me on track.

Once you've decided what specific action you need to take to achieve your goal, it really helps to make a schedule.  That way it's harder to keep pushing off that run to the next day or skipping your strength training session because "you'll do it later."  If you schedule those workouts in ahead of time, you're more likely to complete them.  Example:  "I will do cardio 3 days per week."  Or even more specifically: "I will do cardio on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday."  For me personally, I know that every week on Tuesday I'm going to go to my BODYATTACK class, and that every Saturday morning when I go to the gym for my weigh-in I'm also going to put in some time with the treadmill.  This is also helpful for time management in general since you can stay on track with your fitness commitment and you already know ahead of time when you're free for other activities.

Having a plan in terms of your meals is another huge factor.  I can't say enough how helpful it is to have your breakfasts, lunches, and snacks for the work week planned out ahead of time.  I make sure that I know in advance what I'm going to bring to work the next day so that I don't end up empty handed on my way to work in the morning and trying to decide which fast food chain to hit up for lunch.  Bringing only a certain amount of food with me to work each day also means I can only eat as much as I bring, therefore preventing me from snacking too much and overeating.  Generally I bring my lunch and 2 snacks for mid-morning and mid-afternoon.

Having a plan is useful in all facets of life, but especially when it comes to achieving your health and fitness goals.  Just having a goal is not enough, generating a plan of how exactly you're going to reach that goal is what makes it happen. 

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