Featured Trainer Tip | Westfield Area Y

Featured Tip:

Goals Setting Checklist
Val Krebs

We’ve all heard umpteem times that we should exercise more--from the media, from our doctors, and perhaps even from the ones closest to us.  We all well know that the closest thing to a “magic bullet” for maintaining youth and optimal health is a well-balanced combination of exercise and proper nutrition, right?  Why then is it so arduous for many of us to integrate exercise on a consistent and regular basis?  “Sticking with it” becomes our albatross on many an occasion due to life’s challenges and changing priorities, blah, blah blah... Well…, the critical difference in those who exercise consistently and regularly and those who don’t is perspective.  Those who are in it for the long-haul so to speak, do it so they can do it again, and they set goals that are achievable because they are reasonable.  For those who are less in love with exercise or have varying levels of disdain for it, a mere tweak in outlook can make all the difference.  So, a few things to consider if you are not on the I love to exercise band wagon:

(1) When developing goals make sure they are realistic and obtainable. Realistic is subjective I will agree, but to put it in perspective, HONESTLY assess your current ability and increase it no more than 10% each week.  Also, be specific about your goal(s) and put them in writing.  Post it a location where you will be reminded often (e.g. bathroom cabinet mirror).  So….. for example, if you can run 10 straight min on the treadmill before needing to walk, your goal for the next week will be to run 11 straight min. before walking to recover your breath.

(2) Additionally, many find it motivating to develop short as well as long-term goals.  Your short-term goals are goals that you want to obtain in four to eight weeks, and your long-term goals are goals you wish to obtain in 6 months - 1 year. Both are equally important, however you will find that your short-term goals are the ones that keep you pumped and ready to go.  Short-term goals program your mind to stay focused on the task, which helps to achieve that goal.  Update goals at appropriate times to record progress or lack thereof.

A short checklist to help guide you develop your own specific goals:

1. Why are you exercising? This could be weight loss, increase strength etc.

2. What is motivating you to make changes?

3. What are your specific goals?  This should be a detailed plan including how you are going attain your specific goal.
4. What is the big picture?  Could this be improving your quality of life, getting ready for a 5K, 10K, triathon, etc?

Take into account that plans should be flexible and adjusted depending on what is happening in your life. Below are a few questions to ask yourself, to help keep you on track:

1. Are the activities that you have chosen, the ones you enjoy doing? Find exercises that you enjoy--let’s face it if you don't like it you won't do it!

2. Can you commit to your exercise program? Be REALISTIC. If you’ve been sedentary, do not commit to exercising 4 times a week at the start--you risk setting your self up for disappointment and failure to commit long term.

3. How do you schedule and organize exercise into your day?  You must make an effort to schedule exercise into your hectic day whether it is in morning, a quick workout at noon, or on your way home.  You are more likely to stick with an exercise program if you include it into your daily routine.
4. Do you feel good after exercising?

Once you have established goals use them as a road map, they will guide you on your road to success. Refer to them often and watch your progress grow towards success!

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The Westfield Area YMCA is a nonprofit human service organization dedicated to developing the full potential of every individual and family in the communities it serves through programs that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all.