It’s no secret that I’m out of shape. And I mean really out of shape.
In that situation setting a fitness goal can be a daunting task. Where do you start when you’re so far from where you want to be? Well, the most important thing is that you start.
Be realistic. It is not in any way healthy to lose 100 lbs in a month, nor is it a realistic goal to set. Trying to squeeze into your 20-year-old prom dress for your reunion? Great, as long as your reunion is a reasonable time off. Setting realistic goals will not only keep you healthy, but in setting goals you can actually meet, you’re more likely to stick with it.
Start small. If you’re really out of shape, then a goal of running a marathon or winning a fitness competition, while not totally out of reach, aren’t great goals to start with. You can certainly keep those things on your bucket list, but you’ll want to set small, achievable goals that will allow you to measure and celebrate your progress along the way. Experts recommend setting a weight loss goal of 10% of your body weight to start. You can also begin working toward your long-term goals by setting smaller goals along the way, like running a mile, then a 5k, 10k, etc.
Take care of yourself. Being overweight or obese often comes with physical problems; Back problems, knee or hip pain, foot problems, etc. If you’re going to get in shape, injuries aren’t going to help. Consult your doctor, and follow their advice. Wear proper footwear and attire, and as mentioned above, start small.
Find a partner (or group). Research has shown time and time again that having someone to hold you accountable raises your chances of success. Find a friend you trust, join an online group, or just join a gym – group fitness classes are way more fun than a treadmill.
Make it fun. If you’re like me, exercise isn’t fun. I’ve honestly never enjoyed it, and I certainly don’t look forward to it. I envy people who truly enjoy working out. That said, I know it’s part of a healthy lifestyle, so I have to do something to make it enjoyable. I like to listen to Serial (a podcast) while I walk, or upbeat music. A friend of mine said she likes her treadmill because it’s the only time she gets to watch a tv show uninterrupted by her kids.
Celebrate success. Just as important as setting goals is celebrating when you meet them. Just make sure your celebrations don’t set you back. Here are some ways to celebrate that don’t involve food:
- Manicure or pedicure
- New outfit or shoes
- Learn something new
- Date night
- Go see a show
- Subscribe to a magazine
- Treat yourself to a new hairdo or facial
- Take a day off
So what are you waiting for? Just start!