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Goal Time: Making Your “I’m Going to Work Out” Goal Stick

January 11th, 2010 admin

Every year when I make my list of New Years Resolutions, the work-out goal pops up. I want to banish the extra holiday season flub. I want to run faster, jump higher, and yes, do some push ups. But mid-way through the year (or, ahem, sometime in February) a lot of our goals seem to go out the window.

This was my first year of really sticking to (at least some) of my goals. Here’s what I’ve learned about making sure you meet that work-out-this-year(!!!) goal:

1. Be Realistic. In every way. Understand your limitations (you probably can’t fit in a work-out every night, but I bet you can 3 times a week). Know your body–don’t expect to shed ten pounds a week; it’s really hard to have massive weight loss healthily!

2. Pick a Winner. One thing that will keep you coming back to your routine is finding something you love. Though I do the typical run on the treadmill (and hate it) I also do some pilates (which I love). There are tons of alternatives to just jogging at the gym. Intramural sports, swimming, kick boxing, karate, dance, bike riding. Choose something you enjoy so you look forward to work-out time as a break from studying.

3. Join a Team. I’m at me most consistent when other people are counting on me, because they help me hold myself accountable. So whether you round up a group to casually run, or join up with a school sport, make sure there is someone else around to help you push yourself to keep going.

4. Choose a Distraction. If you, like me, are a wuss when it comes to physical pain, then you are going to need a good distraction to keep you from allowing the internal whining to consume you. For me, the best distraction is talking with a friend. Conversation keeps me going, and I love running with other people. Second best is music, with a good solid beat. Third is a TV show. I can never really focus, but it at least gives me something to look at besides the SUPER SLOW timer on the treadmill. But you can choose whatever–maybe you like to make lists in your head, or plan out your tomorrow, or go through good memories. Do whatever works for you.

5. Make it Work.
So maybe a few weeks into your plan you realize that Monday nights you NEVER go to the gym, and you feel discouraged that you have yet to reach your target running speed. Allow yourself some leniency, and work around it. Let your body work up to your goal (you’ll get there if you stick to it) and schedule your workouts on nights when you KNOW you can do it. Any workout is better than none.

6. Stop Making Excuses. This is by far the biggest one, and thus the hardest one. I realized this year (watching The Biggest Loser, no less) that I make excuses all the time. I’m too busy to go to the gym, or too tired to run the full 30 minutes, or just “not motivated.”

So I decided to stop it, and just decide to go. Even when I’m tired, busy, or not motivated. I go. And while I don’t always make it every scheduled day, and sometimes can’t keep up with my previous day’s record, and honestly, can’t say I really enjoy the running itself, I do love the feeling of heading home knowing that I did it in spite of myself. That feels really good.

Good luck, my friends. I’m fighting the good fight with you. šŸ˜‰

photo by Lynette Lan

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Entry Filed under: health

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Nancy Piper  |  January 12th, 2010 at 6:57 am

    Get your loved ones to offer you a “treat” for completing a grueling workout – such as asking your husband or boyfriend to do the dishes, etc.

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