Getting Healthy This Year? Ask Yourself These Questions
By: Jane Moore
So you want to lose weight, eat healthier, and get toned for the summer months
Maybe you’ve set this goal in the past and were unable to reach it. Maybe you’ve seen your friends and family fail at the same goal.
It’s important to be realistic. Getting fit is tough, but it is certainly doable if you set yourself up for success. Try asking yourself these questions:
- Is my goal realistic?
Sure, you may want to lose 50 pounds - but should losing 50 pounds be your goal? When it comes to fitness, it’s best to start small and work your way up. If you make goals that you can keep, you’ll feel more successful and that will in turn motivate you to work on others. Try a more realistic approach, like I’m going to lose 10 pounds or I’m going to start exercising twice a week.
- Is my goal specific enough?
If your goal is to “get healthy” or “eat better,” you’re going to have a hard time with it. That’s because there’s no real way to measure success (or failure) with overly generic goals. To set yourself up for success, you need to make specific goals. Instead of “get healthy” you can say your goal is to cut out red meat from your diet. Instead of “eat better” you can say your goal is to incorporate two vegetables into every meal. The more specific your goals, the more measurable they are. And the more measurable they are, the more attainable they become.
- Do I have an actual plan to achieve my goal?
Saying you want to do something and thinking you have the time, energy, and resources to do it is not enough. In order to fulfill any goal, you have to form a specific plan. If your goal is to lose 10 pounds by the end of February, for instance, how are you going to do it? Write it down. How frequently are you going to exercise? Are there exercises, such as swimming or running, that you enjoy enough to do consistently week after week (though it helps if you have the right gear). How many calories are you going to eat every day? How are you going to prepare your meals? The more variables you take out of the equation at the very start, the more likely you’ll be able to follow through.
- Am I truly ready to change my habits?
“If there were no pressure from anyone else, what would you, personally, like to change? This is important, because studies have indicated that people are more likely to succeed in changing their behaviour when they are motivated by internal rather than external forces.”
Before you set a goal, make sure that you are actually ready to change your habits. Are you truly ready to quit smoking? Is your mind in the right place to start a new diet? Are you ready to give up your desk job for a more active profession, like construction or dog walking? If societal pressure wasn’t a factor, would you want to lose weight - just for you? Making a major life change is hard, and it’s damn near impossible if you’re wishy-washy over whether you truly want it for yourself. Make 100% sure you’re mentally and physically ready for any change.
If you want to have a greater chance of sticking to your fitness goals, ask yourself these simple questions beforehand. Preparation is key. You can’t just wing it when it comes to improving your overall health.
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Snacks are OK in moderation and should consist of items like fruit, whole grains, or nuts to satisfy hunger and not cause excessive weight gain.