How to Achieve Your Health and Fitness Goals in 2020
Looking for tips to create a New YOU in the New Year? Need help on how to set inspiring goals in 2020 —and follow through with your game plan?
Whether you're new at starting a fitness/exercise program, or you are a seasoned athlete ready for an upgrade, we've got your covered here. We're sharing insightful tips and proven strategies to take your health and fitness program to the next level.
Dreams With Deadlines: Goal-Setting Basics
Let's start with some goal-setting basics. Before it's anything else, a goal is just a thought, a desire, an idea in your mind. It's like a dream: intangible and ephemeral. As vivid as it may seem, it has no existence in the external world.
In order for the goal to have the power and momentum to actually manifest and change your life for the better, it has to feel inspiring. There needs to be genuine interest and enthusiasm for it. Your heart needs to be all-in. If the goal is like a seed planted in your heart and mind, then your enthusiasm is like the sun and rain and fertilizer, that allows the seed to sprout and grow and bear fruit. As life-coach Tony Robbins puts it:
Everything around you in your life right now once started out as just a thought, a desire, an inspired moment. You now have the power to take your current thoughts and turn them into a tangible, promising future. Create your compelling future. Build the life of your dreams. Make goals that will drive you – goals with some power behind them. After all, goals are just dreams with deadlines.
So how do you transform your goals into tangible results: actual changes in your body and mind, that you can enjoy and benefit from? The first step is to clearly map your goals. Here's how:
- Write down your top three or four health and fitness goals.
- Then, for each of these goals, answer the question: Why is this goal important to me? List the specific reasons that you feel motivated to accomplish your goals.
- And finally, for each of the goals, list three action steps that you're committed to taking, in order to reach the goal.
For instance: One of your health/fitness goals might be to "Improve my cardiovascular health."
After writing this goal down in your journal, you would then ask yourself: Why is this goal important to me? Possible answers include: to feel less fatigued during weekend hikes; to be more competitive in the next 5K race that I enter; or to increase the chances of staying healthy long enough to enjoy my great-grandchildren.
Lastly, you would write down three action steps—things you can do on a daily or weekly basis, to move toward this goal—for instance: (1) take brisk walks first thing in the morning, Monday through Friday; (2) ride your studio cycle while watching the news-hour on TV; and (3) buy a membership to a club or recreation center that has a swimming pool—and commit to a half-hour swim on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.
Once you've completed your health and fitness goal map, keep it somewhere that's easy to access. Look at the map—read your goals, why they're important, and the action steps—first thing upon waking up in the morning, and right before going to sleep at night.
Reminding yourself daily of your goals, their importance to your life, and the steps that you can take to accomplish them—will allow the map that you've created to actually lead you into the territory of improved health and fitness.
Tips For Starting A New Fitness Program
If you're a relative newbie to fitness programs, or returning after an injury, here are some tips that will serve you well:
* Start small with easy, low impact activities—such as walking, swimming, restorative yoga, or a mellow exercycle routine. Choose an activity that feels genuinely enjoyable.
* Set yourself up for success with a schedule that feels completely reasonable. Instead of aiming for a daily two-hour workout, start with a half-hour walk or swim, three times a week—Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Or commit to taking a restorative yoga class twice weekly, say on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
* As you become comfortable with the exercise routine, and begin to notice its positive effects, it may organically expand into longer sessions—but let this happen naturally. After attending a yoga class twice a week for a while, you may find yourself doing some of the poses on your own, at home--or purchasing a monthly pass which allows you to take as many classes as you'd like.
* Remember to drink plenty of water, throughout the day. This helps to flush toxins from your body, and will support your muscles in recovering more quickly from your workouts.
* Have a workout buddy. There are lots of good reasons to exercise with a friend. You can support and inspire one another. You can act as accountability partners—helping one another to stay on track with your respective goals. And it's just a lot of fun! Working out on your own is fine also—but try to partner up at least occasionally.
Taking Your Health & Fitness To The Next Level
If your fitness routine is feeling a bit stale, the New Year can be the perfect time for an upgrade or creative make-over. Here are some proven strategies for mixing it up, reigniting your passion, and getting the juices flowing once again:
* Up the intensity. Re-energize your fitness routines by upping their intensity. Add to your reps—or increase the weight—in your weight-room workouts. Spend an hour instead of 30 minutes on the rowing machine or exercycle. Do some trail running, in addition to your street routes--for new challenges in a different environment.
* Try something new. Pickleball, bouldering, crossfit, kettlebell workouts, Pilates, yoga, spin (cycling) classes—are just a few of the many awesome and inspiring fitness activities that you can add, in the mode of cross-training, to mix things up a bit. Or find a beach volleyball game, or a pick-up basketball game at the local gym, to join in with.
* Retool your diet. Eat more organic fruits and vegetables. Up your intake of healthy oils: coconut, olive, sesame, almond, and avocado are all super-healthy oils, not to be skimped on! Add some superfoods such as chlorella, matcha, chia seeds, cacao nibs, or camu-camu.
* Add meditation or visualization practice. As most elite athletes already know, training the mind is just as important as training the body. Sitting quietly for fifteen or twenty minutes, allowing the body and mind to naturally settle, becoming aware of the movement of the breath as it enters and exits your body—can have profound effects on your overall wellbeing. Or, after sitting quietly for a few minutes, internally visualize yourself performing whatever athletic activities you're involved in. This can be a profoundly effective component of your mental game.
Don't Forget The Attitude Adjustment
It's really important—in setting your health and fitness goals for the New Year—to remain focused on what you want to welcome into your life, rather than things you'd like to eliminate. Saying yes to a new aspiration creates a sense of enthusiasm and expansion in your mind and body—which activates all variety of known and unknown resources. Positive emotion creates a bridge between your goal and its manifestation in the world. The more you can feel excited about your goal--almost as though it had already happened--the greater the chance of it coming to fruition.
A heavy-handed resistance of something that already exists, or that we fear will coming into being—tends to constrict the body and mind and amplify negativity.
So make sure to frame your health and fitness goals in terms of what you wish to welcome into your life—rather than what you want to eliminate. Rather than saying, I want to lose fifteen pounds, say: I wish to regain and maintain my optimal weight. Rather than saying, I want to eliminate the pain in my knees, say: I welcome a return of comfort and ease in my knees, and all other joints.
And then, as you begin to engage in the action steps that you've designed, to manifest your goal—stay focused on the successes. Each time you complete a workout, or something else related to your health and fitness goals, appreciate yourself, congratulate yourself, love and honor yourself.
And when you experience a set-back, forgive yourself completely—and then just get back in the saddle. Read your goal map again, revise it if you'd like, and joyfully continue on the path you've laid out for yourself—toward optimal health, fitness, and body-mind wellbeing.