Having fitness as part of my lifestyle has enriched my life in so many ways. It has allowed me to learn something new about myself in nearly every stage of life. As I look back I almost always had a fitness goal in mind, which helped to keep me focused and develop my skills and strength. The Season of Life as a mom with young children can be demanding and may make us feel like we don’t have time to give back to ourselves. Unfortunately, as moms, we do not have coaches requiring us to show up to practice at certain times each week to work towards our goals. We actually have little coaches that demand our full attention and love throughout the day. As busy moms in our busy world, it takes a lot more self-discipline to stick to our goals! Here are five tips to help YOU make your own fitness goals. After all, you cannot help others before investing some time in YOU first.
I recommend writing your goals down in three different places: a journal, a planner, and on paper.
I first recommend a journal option because you want to spend time reflecting on your goals. Once they are written down, you can journal about your progress either daily or weekly. You can spend time reflecting on what seems to be working, what is not working, and reflect on your plan of action to achieve your goals. You then want to record your goals on your planner because it will keep them on your weekly/daily plan. This is a good place to be reminded to work toward them. Lastly, you will record your goals on some type of paper. Post-its are a great paper option because you can stick them in visible places as a reminder.
Now when it comes to writing goals, it is very important to set S.M.A.R.T. goals. (Specific Measurable Achievable Relevant Time-bound) S.M.A.R.T. goals are critical to managing your fitness performance. You want your goal to be specific so that it is clearly defined. You then want it to be measurable so that you have evidence of accomplishing your goal. You also want your goal to be achievable to the point that you feel slightly challenged; you must have the appropriate skills and abilities to achieve your goal. You want your goal to focus on the relevant results or outcomes. And lastly you want your goal to be linked to a time frame that creates a practical sense of urgency. I recommend setting three long term and three short-term S.M.A.R.T. goals.
Here is an example of a short-term fitness goal: “I will stroll in my neighborhood for thirty minutes four times a week by January 30th”. Here is an example of a long-term fitness goal: “I will complete the Girls on the Run 5K in December 2015.” The more ways in which you focus on your goals, the more likely you will achieve them! And writing S.M.A.R.T. goals is key to accomplishing individual goals.
So much of achieving fitness goals is your attitude toward fitness. The more positive your outlook, the more likely you will be able to have a positive experience working toward your goals! You will have set backs along your journey. You may oversleep one morning and miss your scheduled workout, or you or your child may get ill and keep you from working toward your goals. However, when life happens try to keep your chin up and know that these set backs will pass. They may require some of your time to work through these challenges, but as a mom we must allow ourselves to be flexible. Being flexible does not mean you have to jump off the bandwagon, but it does mean we have to be easily adaptable. Maybe you have to workout after naptime instead of before naptime. You may have to eat a small serving of Chick-fil-a on the way to the doctor for lunch instead of the fresh salad you planned on making at home. However, know you can still work towards your goals in different ways than originally planned. You can even edit your goals as needed. There is no need to turn your circumstances into a negative attitude! Again, your journal will come in handy here.
3. Ditch the Excuses!
As a fitness instructor, I cannot think of another way to say this so… ditch the excuses! Just do it! I hear them all the time from people. Sometimes people say them sarcastically and sometimes people say them in all seriousness. People have come up with tons of excuses not to workout. Here are just a FEW of them: I don’t have time, Working out is boring, Memberships are too expensive, I’m too tired or busy, and I’m out of shape. I don’t get a break from my children. I could debunk these excuses really quickly!
How about replacing these excuses with “I will make time to workout even if it is just twenty minutes three times a week, I will call a friend to workout with so it is more fun, I will try a new fitness class that I find interesting, I will bring a positive attitude with me when working out so I find joy and fun in working out, I will find a membership that is affordable with my budget, I will work out at home and in my neighborhood because it is FREE, research shows that those who workout have more energy, a workout can be 4% or less of my day, I’m not too busy, and lastly if I am out of shape maybe I should do something about this.” All these excuses are comparable to the classic “my dog ate my homework”. Do not let these excuses get in the way of you working towards your goals. According to James Hill, PhD, “We find times for things we value.” Your body makes feel-good hormones (endorphins) when working out. Moms you are stronger than you think; I promise! Lastly according to psychologist Christina Recascino, “When mom is more fit, has more energy, the whole family benefits.”
Refer back to your goals as often as possible. If not, you will lose sight of them and remain at square one. Keeping your goals in front of you will cause you to constantly refresh your goal-oriented mindset. It is as simple as that! You have to be aware of your goals to achieve them. If you are a coffee drinker like me, place your goals on neon post-its and stick them on your coffee pot! Stick them on your fridge, planner, calendar, dashboard, mirror, etc. Seeing your goals often shows you believe you can achieve them! According to Steve Pavlina, the key is to keep it simple. It is better to take two minutes to post a plain text of your goal. Making things fancy takes too much time and effort, so you likely will not maintain the habit of working towards your goal.
5. Set up Accountability!
Tell your mom, your best friend, your spouse, your instructor, etc. your goals. Having a good support system will set you up for success. There will be days when you want to throw in the towel and you will need someone to not let you give up! According to Lifecoach2women, five benefits to having accountability are: it accelerates your performance, helps you measure your success and progress, keeps you engaged, will keep you responsible, and will validate your thoughts and ideas.
When you set fitness goals for each day, week, month, and year, you will find fitness becoming a part of your lifestyle. Fitness is not just for the fitness guru, it is not just for the fittest person, it is not just for personal trainers, it is not just for runners, etc. Fitness is for EVERYONE! And I hope all moms find joy in working out!