Taking Your Health and Fitness One Day at a Time

Are the choices you’re making today moving you closer to the results you want tomorrow?

There are certain things that those who are successful at achieving their fitness goals do on a regular basis. If you’d like to succeed at improving your health and fitness, try committing to this approach:

Find your WHY:

You’ve heard it before – if there is a will, there is way. Without a compelling force, success is so much more difficult. The motivation and inspiration to stick to your program and achieve your goals is within you. You have just got to find the right reason – the reason that will make you so emotionally charged that you will take action every day, make the changes and stick to them regularly – no matter what! There will always be days that you won’t feel motivated to workout or eat healthy. They key is you do it anyway, most of the time. It is never a question of ability!

Discover what it is going to take for you and remember, everyone is different. What is going to motivate me is not necessarily going to motivate you. Keep asking yourself why, why, why and get to the heart of the matter!

What have you done TODAY?!

A month-long effort is not going to get you where you want. In order to achieve any goal, you must stick to your game plan on an ongoing, long-term, consistent basis.  Getting off track for a week is no big deal if you are consistent in your efforts.  But if you are regularly tempted away from your program, you will not succeed.

Consistency and persistency are the keys to manifesting any goal. Remember, that if you want to be healthy and fit 10 years from now, it is not what you do over the next six weeks that matters, it is what you do over the next 10 years. A commitment to health and fitness must be followed for the rest of your life. There are no short-term, quick fix solutions. Researchers have found only one characteristic common to those who succeed with exercise. All such people move towards their goal one step at a time. They are committed to constant, never-ending improvement.

In practical terms, it means that regardless of anything else – busy work schedules, lack of energy, lack of time, feeling old, feeling lazy, hating exercise – they make no excuses!  They keep exercising, taking their long-term goals and splitting them up into smaller goals. They take it one day at a time.

Lazy or sick?

Sometimes you wake up and just don’t feel like working out. A critical part of exercise consistency is being able to effectively assess whether you’re being lazy or need a day off.

If you’re tempted to press the snooze button and you fall right back asleep, that’s a sign your body may need some extra rest. If you just lay there awake, you may be just need to motivate yourself to get up and get moving.

If you’re feeling tired and lazy, try to get up and open the blinds, grab some water and walk around. Usually by moving around, you will start to wake up and feel better. If you’re still feeling exhausted, the rest may be more important.

Clearly outline your goals and action steps

The biggest difference between those who succeed and those who don’t has nothing to do with intelligence or beauty or money…but those who succeed know exactly what they want and are willing to do what it takes to get it!

So, be very clear with your goals for all aspects of your life…physically, professionally, mentally, socially, travel and relationships. Paint a very vivid picture of what your dream life would look like. Write it down! The brain processes things differently when it’s written down and you read it.

Grab a sheet of paper and create a list of all the fitness goals (or any goals you have for yourself) you would like to achieve. Write down anything you have ever thought of achieving with regards to your own individual health and fitness. Which health and fitness goal, if you achieved it, would make this year unbelievable? Have you ever wanted to hike the Grand Canyon, complete a marathon, cycle through Italy, learn to Rock climb, or would you just be happy with working out 4x/week consistently? What are your health and fitness dreams?

Setting goals is the key to success. But, it is not enough to say, “I want to get into shape.”  Effective goals are SMART – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Reward-based and have a Time frame.

Here are some examples of SMART goal setting:

Hike the Grand Canyon for 1 week this May

Run on the treadmill for 30 minutes 3x/week so complete 24 workouts by May 1st

Resistance train every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday until April 1st

Train for and complete the Half Marathon on April 14th

Exercise on the cardio machines for one hour without stopping by April 15th

Work out with a personal trainer 2x/week

Sign up for the Paddleboarding course that starts May 1st

Drink 6 glasses of water every day by June 1st

Eat 5 small meals/snacks every day by May 15th

Each goal is clear, easy to measure your success and has a deadline. Go back to your fitness wish-list and make sure each goal is specific, measurable, attainable and time-framed. Revise all your goals to make them as SMART as possible. But don’t stop there.

Successful goal-setting requires two more things. Be prepared to reassess and reevaluate your goals on a regular basis and reward yourself once you have achieved a goal.  For example, treat yourself to a massage, a new outfit or a trip.  Then set your sights on the next goals. Go back to your goals and attach a reward to each one. Be sure that the reward is motivating enough to encourage you to stick to your plan.

Taking Action

Be a Human Doing, not just a Human Being. 

You can’t just set goals and dreams, you actually have to DO something.

If you are undertaking a major lifestyle change, the big picture may be a bit overwhelming. Take the big goal and split it into small, easily achievable goals and itsy bitsy baby steps. It will help you succeed on a regular basis and that will give you the momentum you need to reach the ultimate goal. It’s called “Results Momentum.” No matter how small or insignificant the action step is, if you do it, it will give you the belief and self confidence to achieve the next goal and the next goal and soon you will be there!

Go back to your fitness wish list. Take the top three goals from your fitness wish list and break them down into smaller goals and action steps that will act as milestones towards your ultimate goal.

For example, if your ultimate number one goal is to complete a half marathon, here’s how you’d break it down into smaller action steps.

Enroll in the local half-marathon running clinic that starts on March 1st

Purchase new footwear and clothing by March 1st

Consult with a personal trainer for 2 sessions to get help with designing fitness training program by March 15th

Schedule 3 morning runs a week with friends

Register now and pay for the local 10km fun run mid-way through my training program

Register now and pay for the half-marathon event on April 14th

Avoid the Law of Diminishing Intent

This law states “the longer you wait to take action, the less likely you are to take action.” So, take action right away! It doesn’t matter what it is…anything that points you in the right direction towards your goals. Everyday, do something that brings you closer to achieving your dreams.

Yours in health & fitness,
Sherri McMillan

Sherri McMillan

Sherri McMillan

Sherri McMillan, holds a master's degree in exercise physiology and has been inspiring the world to adopt a fitness lifestyle for more than 33 years. She has received numerous industry awards including 2010 CanFitPro International Presenter of the Year, 2006 IDEA Fitness Director of the Year, 1998 IDEA Personal Trainer of the Year, 1998 CanFitPro Fitness Presenter of the Year and 2005/2006 ACE Fitness Educator of the Year - Runner up. She is a fitness trainer, fitness columnist for various magazines and newspapers, author of five books and manuals including "Go For Fit - the Winning Way to Fat Loss" and "Fit over Forty" and the featured presenter in various fitness DVDs. She has presented hundreds of workshops to thousands of fitness leaders throughout Canada, Australia, Mexico, Jamaica, New Zealand, Germany, England, Spain, South America, Asia and the U.S. She is the owner of Northwest Personal Training in downtown Vancouver, the founder of WHY Racing Events & WHY Community, participates in various community fundraisers and can be found running, biking, or hiking around the community. Find more information at nwpersonaltraining.com.

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