The key to achieving your fitness goals is to maintain consistent nutrition and training habits. But it’s easy to let your routine slip, fall into a “slump”, or lose motivation. A fitness action plan will help you to get motivated and stay that way through life’s ups and downs.
In my experience as a personal trainer and nutritionist, I’ve found that many people who are successful at creating structure in their business and/or family struggle to apply that skill set to their own health & fitness. Do you fall into that category? If so, try these 5 steps to getting motivated and sticking to your plan.
1. Define Your Fitness Mission & Goals One of the most valuable steps in achieving your goals is to spend some time getting mentally focused on them. Maybe you want to run a marathon by Spring, or lose 20 pounds. Envision yourself reaching your goal, and how the sense of accomplishment will boost your self-confidence and allow you to take on other challenges. Tell yourself that you want to earn that confidence, and the confidence that comes with having a lean, fit, and feeling healthy body. Think about how your new self-esteem will help you to reach your professional goals, create the relationship you want, and be an inspiration to those you love. Dedicate 5 minutes a day to thinking about your goal, so you don’t lose track of how important it is and why.
2. List Your Tactics Your tactics are short-term plans that will make the long-term goal happen. Write them on a piece of paper or keep them in a document on your computer. For each tactic, define clearly how it supports your long-term goal. For example, a tactic might be, “I will do at least 40 minutes of cardio, at least 3 times per week, and this will help me to shed fat and improve my endurance so that I can meet the goal of coaching my son’s softball team.”
3. Develop your Strategies Strategies are tools you can use to nourish your tactics on over time. Following through on your strategies creates momentum that eventually develops into habits over time. An example of a strategy is, “I plan to wake up 30 minutes earlier each day, so that I make sure to fit in a workout before heading to the office.” Another strategy could be, “I’ll carry snacks with a good ratio of protein, fats, and carbohydrates, so that my blood sugar stays stable and I don’t stray from my eating plan.” Look at each of your tactics, and try to develop at least one strategy around each.
4. Schedule Your Tasks What are the tasks that are necessary to meet the objectives of each strategy, and the necessary frequency of each of those tasks? Tasks are the actual actions that you will take on regularly to be successful with each strategy. Start scheduling your tasks using your calendar or smart phone, and plan them out for several weeks or months in advance. The tasks that support your strategies — which in turn support your tactics, which help you reach your goals — are often what foil the best-laid fitness plans. It’s easy to get caught up in daily life and de-prioritize the small things that can make a big difference in your motivation. If you forget to schedule grocery shopping, you’ll be way more likely to order a pizza. If you don’t make time for downloading new music to your iPod, you may feel less excited about your run. We schedule business meetings and drinks with friends, but we usually don’t make time in our schedules for the things that keep our health plans on track. Start now by setting aside time so you won’t have any excuses to lose your motivation!
5. Schedule Your Training Now that you’ve made time for your Tasks, keep that calendar open and schedule your exercise sessions. You can set an alarm to remind you when you’ve planned a workout, and arrange your work and social life in a way that allows you plenty of time to train.
If you don’t have a calendar or scheduling system, you can download this worksheet that I created to help you build your own action plan. It has all of the 5 steps listed here, plus some additional information that will help you to get — and stay — motivated.
Making a change in your health habits will initially require some research, forward thinking, and planning. But if you stick to a plan and reach your goals, you’ll achieve a level of fulfillment and well-being that you may just be missing. If you need someone to help you create your plan, hold you accountable, and/or teach you the kind of training and nutrition that get results, contact Advanced Athletics today — we’re here to help!