Once again, ‘getting fit’ and ‘losing weight’ made the 2013 Top New Year's Resolutions list. Despite the abundance of available choices, the need remains to re-commit to these same goals year after year.
Experts offer that not setting realistic weight loss and fitness goals initially, is the explanation behind repeated commitment/failure/re-commit cycles; yet in order to do this successfully one must be clear on what is realistic vs. what is only a half - hearted effort. Before jumping into action, performing an honest assessment can help improve chances for success:
1) Identifying GOAL IMPORTANCE is critical to maintaining a fitness commitment, because what is the priority will get the attention. List five current top priorities, being as specific as possible to increase clarity. For example: 'lose weight' is vague and non-compelling compared to: ‘lose 50lbs. per Dr. to avoid risk of second heart attack’. Identifying where the fitness goal is on the priority list also helps to set realistic expectations, enabling accomplishment to take place.
2) Determine READINESS through evaluating level of preparedness necessary for goal accomplishment. List five potential challenges: ‘Time’ may be listed if numerous consuming priorities exist; ‘lack of funds’ identified if money is tight and there is a need for professional assistance to pursue the fitness/weight loss goal. Recognizing potential stumbling blocks helps to develop realistic short term goals leading to long term success.
3) Devise SPECIFIC ACTION plan to achieve fitness goal, including 5 action steps to address the five potential challenges, keeping in mind individual needs. If ‘support’ is an identified challenge, a friend or family member may provide what is needed in one case, but for another a more comfortable option may be to ‘join a support group’ which offers personal anonymity. If ‘limited funds’ are an issue, determine what amount can be afforded, then ‘investigate best options’ that fit within that budget. It is imperative to do the research: a $10/month gym may seem attractive due to price, but if the motivation to use it fails to materialize due to lack of programs that hold interest than it becomes worthless even if it were free!
4) Be FLEXIBLE and ADJUST as needed: ‘A.M jog’ may have originally seemed a good choice (low cost, fit into busy schedule, great calorie burner) but remaining self-motivated running alone may become difficult and the constant impact too hard on the joints. A solution may involve adjusting schedule to ‘join a running group’ to gain social support and guidance, or ‘re-evaluate budget’ to identify potential dollars funding non- priority items that instead could be spent on more appealing exercise activities. A solution to ‘increasing time pressures’ could be to ‘exercise as a family’ (hiking, biking, family gym, etc.) as a means to combine the health pursuit with quality family time!
In an eagerness to embrace what promises desired weight loss and fitness results, critical steps can be overlooked: self - evaluation, goal prioritization and preparation generate better choices, and better results, so NEW goals can be on next year's resolution list!