A Note From Katie...
This post is brought to you by our new guest contributor Caroline Mundell, Co-Owner of Function Health and Fitness and certified nutritionist, personal trainer and yoga instructor. Through-out the year look for her Function Health and Fitness posts for fitness and nutrition tips. We would love to hear what fitness facts you the reader are most interested in learning about, make sure to let us know in the comment section below.
Fun Fact: Caroline is my older sister!
One of the most popular New Years resolutions every year is to "eat better and exercise more". This may sound simple, and may even be a resolution you have tried yourself, but as many of us know, it is much easier said than done. Unfortunately, without a plan in place many people find themselves slipping back into their old ways within weeks, or even sometimes days.
There are a few simple things you can do to start the new year off right, and set yourself up for success. The first step is to set goals for yourself. Again, easier said that done, but as research shows, those of us who take the time to think through and write down our goals have a significantly better chance of reaching them. The second step is to focus on the right kind of goals. Too many of us set unachievable or unrealistic goals, or simply write down goals that are difficult to measure. That's why I always recommend setting SMART goals. There are a few slight variations of the SMART definition out there, but here is the one I like:
- Specific: set clear goals.
- Measurable: include benchmarks and a unit of measure.
- Achievable: be sure to make the goal achievable, otherwise your motivation will wane.
- Relevant: your goals must be important to you and relevant to what you are trying to achieve.
- Time-bound: include a goal date to provide a mental incentive to complete the goal.
Now that we have a basic formula for goal setting, here are the 5 areas that need to be considered for attaining a healthier you!
- Sleep more! Without adequate rest, your brain cannot make good decisions. Being over tired leads to sugar cravings and energy lulls. Examine your current sleep patterns to see where you can improve. A good example of a SMART goal for sleep would be: I will go to bed by 10:30pm, 5 nights a week until the end of January.
- Schedule your workouts. This has been said a million times, but make an appointment with yourself and DON'T cancel. Be realistic with your time. If you don't work out at all right now, jumping into six 1 hour workouts a week may feel overwhelming and kill your motivation. SMART example: I will do 10 push ups, 15 burpees and 20 sit ups on M/W/F mornings and go for a 30 min walk on Saturday and Sun until the end of January.
- Diet changes. Start small with this one and look at how you currently eat. Choose ONE thing to adjust and stick with it for a month before moving on to the next adjustment. Very quickly you will see changes and eliminate cravings. SMART example: I will have only protein and vegetables from 5pm onwards for the month of January.
- Recover: Give yourself adequate time and space to recover, particularly if you are new to exercise. This doesn't mean to stop working out because you are sore, instead, adjust your workouts. For example, if your chest or shoulders are sore, rotate in a leg work out. Soon enough your body will adjust to the increased workload. SMART example: I will do an upper body workout on Mondays and Thursdays and a lower body workout on Tuesdays and Fridays for the entire month of January.
- Time Management: If you are adding in more activities at the gym and taking time to prep meals, you may want to consider removing other activities to keep yourself balanced. SMART example: I will watch one hour less of TV per day until the end of January.
Remember to reassess your goals at the end of the month.
Questions to ask yourself
- Is this maintainable long term?
- Do I need to make additional changes?
- How do I feel on the new routine?
- Could I look at making my goals even more specific?
Have you committed to any fitness goals for 2015? Sound off in the comment section below!
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