If you have ever looked for health and fitness advice online, you might have become familiar with a few clichés:
- “Don’t see this as a diet or eating plan! It’s a lifestyle change, something you’re going to do for the rest of your life! So you need to make sure it works for you for always!”
- “Make these changes for the sake of your health! Don’t focus on anything else!”
- “Taking care of your body should be your number one priority! Everything else is just an unnecessary distraction!”
The idea is always the same: you’re getting healthy and building your fitness for the sake of the long-term. That sounds good. We all know the perils of yo-yo dieting and not maintaining a proper exercise regime, so it makes sense for much of the advice to be along the lines of preventing that. And - don’t misunderstand! - those things are important.
However… sometimes you need motivation that’s a little more concrete.
It’s nice to think of a future where your health is better, your fitness is flawless, and when you look in the mirror you see the body you have always wanted there. However, if your starting point is quite some distance away from that, then it’s hard to find excitement in the idea of something that feels so long away.
So much about getting started with fitness is about a learning and developing process. You have to learn about the right foods to eat, learn more about cardio machines than you had ever thought you’d need to know, even research the right clothes to wear when working out. Some distant goal that feels a thousand miles away doesn’t power you through this process - it depresses you, makes life more difficult rather than easier. It just feels too far away.
There is a real benefit to focusing on the short-term when it comes to jump-starting your own health plan. We all need motivation, a goal, something to work towards - but that’s not the end of the story. It needs to be something attainable, and something that we’re going to be able to satisfy in a short period of time. It’s a lot easier to get yourself to push that little bit harder on your cardio if you’ll be seeing a benefit of it in a month rather than three years!
Setting A Goal
Your first goal when you’re trying to develop a solid fitness routine should be a simple one. Maybe it’s even in the back of your closet right now; or perhaps you need to go and buy a garment. It’s best to select a garment that is currently a little bit too tight for you to wear comfortable. We’re not talking ‘goal weight’ clothes - just something that doesn’t quite feel right. Fitting into this becomes your first goal.
You can also set fitness goals such as going on a bike ride with your family in a month’s time and not wanting to be out of breath. Or taking your family dog for a walk that lasts longer than 20 minutes. Something simple, attainable, within reach but still beneficial.