As a Personal Trainer, my whole professional career has been devoted to helping people with their "Getting Started." For some, it is getting started after having a baby.
Some come to me for help getting started BEFORE having a baby. Some after an injury, and a few stragglers just because they feel like they should, having spent most of their lives avoiding fitness at all costs. But there is no "Getting Started" like the great New Year’s Resolution. On January 1st, gym floors are packed. Avid gym goers and newcomers alike fight over equipment while sweat flies from cardio devices like an Indian monsoon. Fitness classes are packed with fresh faces, all aflutter with excitement. Everyone thinking the same thing: This will be THE year. But for most, this drive to become immersed in fitness is over before you can say "All-You-Can-Eat Buffet." By February, sneakers and gym bags lay in the backs of closets destined for dust-covered ruin. Facing fitness failure, those same people who just a month earlier were at the gym 2 hours a day, stand in front of an open refrigerator eating cold pizza directly out of the box seeking defeatist comfort.
The number one reason that the New Year’s "Getting Started" has such a tremendously low compliance rate is the lack of effective goal setting by participants. Starting a fitness program without a clearly defined goal is like a child running blindfolded toward a piñata at a birthday party: it always seems like a fun idea but rarely gets you anything in the end. This year, I challenge everybody, past, present and future gymgoers alike, to PRAISE fitness! And I’m not talking about getting on your hands and knees and thanking God for the invention of treadmills. I’m talking about setting goals. This little mnemonic device that I offer to you all can be used in all aspects of your daily life. If there is something out there that you want, go and get it using the following simple rules.
Your goals should be:
Precise – Know exactly what you want. Write it down. Pin pictures up. Give yourself a constant reminder of EXACTLY what it is you are working so hard to achieve.
Reachable – If you have never before set foot in a gym, is it likely that you could finish an Ironman Triathlon this year? Probably not. But giving yourself short-term goals (set in 3-4 month increments) along the way will definitely keep you motivated to persevere.
Assessable – Create goals that you can measure, whether they be in inches or pounds lost, distance covered, or minutes run. Keep track of your accomplishments and look at them on a daily basis.
Individualized – Have a workout buddy but know your own goals, abilities and limitations. Make sure you are going after what YOU want, not what somebody else desires.
Sensible- See "Reachable."
End Point – "My goal this year is to lose 20 pounds and I give myself forever to do it." Nope, doesn’t work. Give yourself a realistic time frame and make sure to assess your progress incrementally along the way.
This year’s "Getting Started" could very well be your last!