Stop waiting for the new year. For next month. For next week. For tomorrow. For when life is “less busy.” For when you make X amount of money. For when the kids are old enough for school, or when they are out of the house. Life keeps going on, whether you make positive changes in your life or not.
This final month before the new year will happen whether you start or restart a workout regimen, clean up your eating, or generate positive habits. Why not you? Why not now? As humans, we tend to enjoy fresh starts. We like the crispness of the new year, we enjoy the start of another week. But we want to get real with you. It does not matter how or what you do to begin. What matters is that you even begin at all, and more importantly, how you keep going. After all, the going gets tough, as the old adage goes. The motivation is not always there. Even us as trainers are not motivated all day every day. This is where self discipline comes into play. And today, we are going to have a little heart to heart on three ways you can focus on your goals and begin NOW. Not next week, not in the new year, but NOW.
Step one. Set a goal. It does not have to be a completely earth-shattering, life-changing goal. Maybe it is to work out twice per week. Maybe it is to prep your breakfasts the night before to avoid buying a croissant on the way to work. It could be to get 5,000 steps in per day. Or read 10 pages of a self development book. Set a goal that is meaningful, achievable, and simple. Simple does not mean easy; we just do not want complicated.
Step two. Schedule it. Make it a part of your daily routine. You brush your teeth, you eat, you shower, you tuck in the kids, feed the dog, etc. You have a routine that is not negotiable, so why not make your goal non-negotiable as well? Write it in your planner. Put it in your phone calendar. And do NOT cancel on yourself. You wouldn’t cancel on your doctor for no reason, so do not cancel on yourself. This is often where people lead themselves astray. They may not see the value in the small aspects of working towards the big goal, but this is vital to stay on track. Make it important to you, make it a non-negotiable, and you will experience much more success!
Step three. Find accountability. Are you more intrinsically or extrinsically motivated? Do you like accountability from within or from an outside source? Once you determine the answer to that question, you can set up the appropriate accountability mechanism for yourself. If you are internally motivated, find a way to hold yourself accountable. You could have a checklist of objectives for your goal, with checkpoints for each part you achieve. For example, if your goal is to read 10 pages of a self development book every day, you could have a notebook where you document tally marks for each page you read every day. Add it to your to-do list each morning and cross it off when you achieve it. Or maybe you carry the book around with you all day as a physical reminder. Find the method that makes the most sense to you that will hold you accountable.
On the other hand, if you are externally motivated, you may start a self development book club where you and a handful of like-minded friends read 10 pages per day and report back in a Facebook message with your thoughts. If your goal is workout-oriented, maybe you set yourself up with a trainer (hint hint, click here). Maybe your spouse hides the TV remote until you finish your workout for the day. Determine the best way to hold yourself accountable. It sounds simple, but it works! Like we have been saying, keep it simple!
As “common sense” as these tips may seem, many do not follow them. We are not here to share gimmicks. We are not here to provide quick fixes. What happens in the mundane, in the everyday, is what gets you closer to your goals. Our focus is on sustainable lifestyle changes. Positive actions and being 1% better than the day before is our recommended method to reaching your goals and stepping into your best self.
So stop waiting. Start doing. The goals will not achieve themselves; life will go on whether you are at your best or not. We are here to guide you, cheer you on, give tough love, and celebrate with you. If you have been waiting for a sign, this is it. So let’s begin within, and make those changes happen!
Jessica Corkin is a certified personal trainer at Begin Within. She holds a Master’s Degree in Exercise Science and has spent the last seven years working in the fitness and wellness industry. When she is not virtually training clients, she enjoys strength training, running, being outdoors, and spending quality time with her husband and dog.
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