I write a lot about setting goals, mapping out workouts, planning meals and being prepared as often as you can so you can reach your fitness goals.
A lot of preparation and effort put toward leading a healthy lifestyle can initially be tough and intimidating because of all things you need to do, including the things you must cut out of your life.
So stop looking at the big picture and start looking at one smaller. The more specific and gradual your goals are, the easier it is to obtain them and the reward for all that hard work.
Sometimes clients of mine will have three goals for one month and another will have one goal that takes two months. It all depends on what it's going to take to get the job done for that person.
One of the ways I encourage my clients to set goals is to make specific ones about personal progression. I always start off with mile time and plank time, then re-time every four to six weeks so that they can see progression on a regular basis.
Another fun way to monitor personal progression is by creating a high-intensity workout and having my client complete it, noting the time it took. Then I time them again for the same workout four to six weeks later.
It is important to have passion and a competitive edge. But when it comes to working out and getting fit, making healthy, personal progression is a much more reasonable focus.
You may not always be better than your friends or family members, or vice versa, but you can be better than you were yesterday, or last week.
This week, on my social media accounts, I encouraged people to time their plank and post a photo of themselves or of the time clock to share with others. It was cool to see people participate, and we will be timing it again in two weeks to see the progression we all make.
It is fun when you can get motivated by someone else's motivation and enthusiasm, using that as fuel to make growth and progress.
Results and progress are what keep me the most motivated, and if I can somehow offer that or create that for someone else, then I feel that my job has been done.
I have a client whose workplace actually encouraged them to set a fitness goal of their choice, and if they completed it, they received a bonus in their check. Her goal was to hold a 2-minute plank without dropping or raising her hips, keeping proper form for the entire time. She definitely reached this goal and we continue to set other specific goals.
This constant setting and resetting of goals gives you a frequent feeling of success and helps you get your mind around the idea that this is forever. You are always going to have to work at health and fitness, focusing on your body and taking care of yourself.
This week I challenge you to set a goal, like a plank time or mile time or push-up quantity, and then redo that same thing in four to six weeks to monitor your progression.
Give yourself a new goal immediately after and keep going strong, healthy and fit for life.
Lunden Souza, a Merced native, is a personal trainer, health and wellness coach and writer in Southern California. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.