According to a recent article in the magazine Experience Life, Creating a Rock Solid Fitness Plan can really be broken down into a science. Although this blog entry is related to setting a fitness/health plan, you could really use this approach for setting any goal. Personally, I am totally motivated by goals and love health so I just can’t help but to share what I have learned from this very informative article.
Step One: Start by creating a big picture approach that aligns with your lifestyle, passions, and goals. You can do this by creating a mission statement that clearly articulates exactly what you want to accomplish in the short (0-3 months) and long term (3 months to a year). The goal here is to take something vague and make it concrete. Your mission statement will serve as the road map for your success. It’s what the article refers to as “your true north toward which every workout, meal, food choice, and recovery session should ultimately lead.”
In the business world, many executives use SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely) goals as a way to have a clear agenda that maximizes their return on investment. Your goal should also “light your board,” in other words, create energy or buzz for you every time to read it. Your goal has to be full of passion or it won’t work.
Step Two: Take inventory of where you are now. Write down what you have right now and what you are missing. For example, when I would prepare to be in pageants and a big part of that is creating fitness goals, I would take my measurements long with a before photo and post it in my closet. I have a large closet and get dressed in it every morning and undress every evening so it is a great location to serve as a daily reminder. I have also, at times, posted it on my refrigerator and in my car. You choose your best location. Other things to take inventory on are: things that have worked for you in the past, any injuries or obstacles, and available resources. At this stage, I highly recommend that you go public with your goal. I post it around my house, tell friends and family, and even post it in my cubical at work.
Step Three: Create an action plan. Please do not try the “get fit quick” plan; this will not work long term. For me, creating a weekly and monthly plan works best. I start by looking at week one and outlining what I will do physically each day as well as creating a menu. More specific details about my plan can be found in the previous blog entry entitled Girl, You Got This.
Step Four: Record your progress. Just like in the business world, nothing holds weight without data. Log your exercise activities, meals consumed, calories burned, etc. By keeping track of your progress you can acknowledge your challenges as well as celebrate your achievements.
Step Five: Manage your time. I’m not sure about you but one of my top reasons for not exercising is lack of time. One recommendation is to break your day up into fifteen minute increments. Depending on the contents of your mission statement, you may not need huge amounts of time to make progress. As a mother and full time professional, finding time can be a sincere challenge. If you too battle hectic schedules, you may need to get creative. I have weekly staff meetings with various direct reports. One strategy that has worked for me is to turn those meetings into “walking” meetings. If the weather permits, we walk and talk our way around downtown for the duration of our meeting. If weather is bad and your building has a gym, take your meeting to the treadmills. Another suggestion is just to do laps around the building. There is a lot of research that proves that physical movement promotes and stimulates better thinking.
Step Six- Reassess and recommit to your goals on a quarterly basis. Whether you meet, exceed, or fall a little short of meeting your goals, it is always important to reassess your goals, the strategy to achieve them, and recommit.
I have found that after I accomplish a goal, I tend to fall off the wagon. For me, it’s okay to give myself a little break but it’s just as important to create the next goal to stay motivated. Competing in Mrs. Colorado for several years really kept me on track as it related to fitness and other related self-improvement goals. My next goal is to train and compete in the Run like a Diva Half Marathon next September on the east coast. My sister is turning 40 this summer and we have our calendars marked to train, meet, race our hearts out (in cute Lulu Lemon outfits of course) and yes, “Run like Divas!”
To learn more about the Run like a Diva race series, visit http://www.runlikeadiva.com/ When you finish the race, you even get a tiara and feather boa!