Everybody knows that in order to accomplish something, be it big or small, you must set a goal. It doesn’t matter if the goal is to lose 10 pounds, to eat healthier or to work out consistently.
Although we probably all agree that goal-setting is necessary, the real problem is not setting the goal, but sticking with it. Talk is cheap, and if you really want to achieve your goals going into the fall, fitness or otherwise, you really need a plan.
To help you get it right, here are my seven habits of highly fit people:
1. Set a goal: Similar to a business metric, you must set quantifiable fitness and health goals. For example, if your cholesterol is 250, give yourself the goal of getting it down to 200 by your next checkup, as opposed to just wishing that number would go down. Take concrete steps, like limiting or eliminating your consumption of high-cholesterol foods, like butter, cheese, eggs and meat. If weight loss is also a goal, commit to a number, let’s say 20 pounds, and figure out how many weeks or months it will take you to safely reach your goal. If you stay committed to your commitments, you can safely lose 20 pounds in 10 weeks. If you want to improve your muscle tone and strength, give yourself a goal like achieving 10 perfect push-ups in eight weeks, and so on. Otherwise you are just wishing for results as opposed to planning and tracking your success. A wish requires no action on your part, but a plan does.
2. Write it down: Some wise person once said “failing to plan is planning to fail.” Write down every single thing you would like to accomplish to improve your health, diet and workouts. You are far more likely to reach your goals if you write them down.
3. Avoid portion distortion: Many people mistakenly think that working out is a license to eat not only whatever they want, but also unlimited quantities. Nothing could be further from the truth. With or without exercise, if you consume more calories than you burn each day you will gain weight. If you’re aiming for a sixpack, guess what – it starts in the kitchen, baby. At the minimum, diet is 80 percent of the equation and exercise is 20 percent.
4. Make fitness a priority: Who has time to exercise? With juggling career and family, nobody has time for fitness, right? Wrong! These days everyone is sleep-deprived and working 60 or more hours a week. At least, those are some of the excuses people give for not exercising. If you plan to get fit you must make fitness a priority and plan a daily date at the gym, your basement or bedroom for a workout. Also, I’ll let you in on another little secret: You’re more likely to get it in if you do it in the morning. The later it gets in the day, the more likely you’ll blow off your exercise routine.