Monday, December 31, 2012
2 Coach Corey's Corner: Effective Strategies for Achieving Your New Year's Health & Exercise Goals, Part 1
As this year comes to a close and we look forward to the start of a new year, it's only natural to think about what we want to accomplish in 2013. And not surprisingly, many of those goals are health and exercise related. :)
For those of us who've already integrated regular exercise and healthy living into our existing life patterns, this means we're simply renewing our commitment to our ongoing exercise and eating plans, while setting even more ambitious goals to reach along the way. We might need to tweak our plans here and there, but for the most part, we know what we need to accomplish and how to do it. And then we just do it, because we've already got the ball rolling. Now, we just need to make sure that it's still rolling in the proper direction. ;)
For those of us who are still trying to establish these healthy patterns, this is the time to start anew, to make a brand new commitment to our health, and to set our lives upon a different course. For people who are entering the world of fitness and healthy eating, perhaps for the very first time, this is a period of discovery; there are a lot of new things to learn -- not just about nutrition, exercise, eating, etc., and how to incorporate this new knowledge into their own lives, but also about themselves and what they are capable of doing.
This is also the time to reexamine the goals and plans from the previous year, particularly the ones we didn't quite get off the ground, and figure out how to make them happen. :) This is the year, we tell ourselves. This is the year we're really going to make those goals happen. This is the year we're going to significantly change our lives for the better.
Sure, all of that sounds really grand and oh-so-motivating and inspirational, but of course, it's not what we say about our goals that matters, but rather what we do about them. :) In truth, all of our lofty goals are just theory and speculation until we begin taking steps towards making them a reality. This is exactly why this article is entitled, "Effective Strategies for Achieving Your New Year's Health & Exercise Goals." :) You'll note that the title includes the word "goals," and not "New Year Resolutions." That's precisely because the point is NOT to forget them soon after you make them. ;)
If we're only crowing about our goals for show, either to delude -- er, I mean convince ;) -- others or worse, ourselves, then our earnest proclamations of our intentions are nothing more than empty words. So, let's not kid ourselves this time around. Instead of simply vowing once again to accomplish the same exact things we'd promised ourselves we'd do in previous years but have still barely even started, let's actually achieve what we set out to do this time. Let's live in reality, evaluate the lessons of the past and apply them to the present, so we can have a healthy future. :)
One of the reasons people fail to achieve their goals is that they set goals so big and lofty that they become completely overwhelmed by them. Or, they set out to do too much too soon. Or, they give up too soon. :) However, this doesn't have to be you this year. You can be smarter than that. You can turn your failures on their head by changing the way you look at them. Instead of getting lost or mired in them, which will only hold you back, use them as opportunities to grow and learn, and to build character and resilience. And then incorporate these lessons into your "instruction set." (Alert, geek reference. ;) ) In truth, your own life is really a guidebook if you know where to look for the lessons. :-D
This time, give yourself a realistic time frame in which to achieve your goals. Be flexible and reevaluate your course of action when significant factors change your time frame, goals, or the outcomes themselves. Learn how to roll with change. Only take on as many goals and tasks at a time as you can reasonably manage, and learn to push back and say "no" when it all gets to be too overwhelming. Be kind to yourself and others when you fail, and don't give up when you meet the first obstacle. All of these qualities are part of the M.O. of a decent and successful person, whether in life or in sports.
Regardless of what you set out to accomplish, one thing is certain: You will most likely encounter resistance or face failures at various points along your way. So, instead of being surprised and thrown off by obstacles, expect them as part of the path towards your goals. Allow them to be part of the learning process (i.e., your growth curve), and you'll be able to roll with the punches a lot more easily. How else do you think people grow and learn? :) Advancement comes when we allow our internal fortitude to become bigger than our obstacles.
In fact, those who struggle the most to reach their goals often learn and improve the most as well. So if you really, really want it, don't expect it to come easily. Expect to work hard, on a regular basis. If you want the bragging rights, you've got to put in the blood, sweat, and tears. :) Any truly worthwhile goal is worth the work it takes to accomplish it.
Also, on that note, don't expect miracles to happen overnight. Significant change comes not necessarily through singular bold action, but through small, steadfast steps done regularly/consistently over time. After all, a big achievement is just a stack of little ones piled on top of one another. :)
So how do we ensure that this really will be the year we succeed?! The answer is simple: by setting goal-specific directives in motion. And that's what part 2 of this article will cover. :)