As a trainer and entrepreneur, I set goals all the time. From workout benchmarks to personal growth goals, I’ve found a few essential ways to keep yourself balanced, motivated and happy to have the goal in the first place.
Here are my top six tips for reaching your goals in a healthy, manageable way.
The longest journey begins with a single step. Please understand that you need to be patient with yourself. Even if you could have it tomorrow, that would rob you of the journey.
You won’t feel great every single moment of every day, it’s natural to feel resistance. Change takes time. As a personal trainer and coach, I have seen people give up on themselves so quickly. They’re sore, they’re not seeing results fast enough or they move towards their goals with an all-or-nothing mentality. Great change takes time and it’s certainly worth the wait. So be patient, it will pay off.
- Don’t be too hard on yourself.
Self-love is the best love. It’s also essential in setting your intentions and reaching your goals. Be kind to yourself when you make a mistake or don’t understand something right away. You are human and each day is a new day. Often, the mistakes or obstacles are actually what lead us to something better than we imagined for ourselves. Embrace the resistance, understand that nothing great ever came from smooth sailing all the time and know that there is always a lesson in every setback.
Life is filled with moments and, as each one passes, you are presented with new opportunities. Let it go and know something better will take its place.
Sleep is so important and everyone’s needs are different. I hold myself accountable for a minimum of 7 hours, but some people do better with 9-10. I long for 9-10 but it feels nearly impossible most of the time. I don’t beat myself up over that.
It’s a common misconception to think you can catch up on sleep. When you’ve missed your chance to get the rest your body needs, it’s gone. Your system responds best to routine. I recommend finding a bedtime ritual to help get you into the routine of getting ready for bed.
For instance, you can sip a cup of herbal tea, take a hot shower, do some light stretching or journal about what you’re grateful for each night. Once you take time to wind down, your body can adjust to rest-and-rejuvenate mode. Either turn off your phone, iPad or laptop or at least put your phone on night time mode. This filters out the blue light so it doesn’t trick your body into thinking it’s daytime.
Food is the fuel you need to reach your goal. You wouldn’t drive your car on empty, so how in the world do you think your body can operate on empty or with low-quality gas? Your meals should be a balance of the essentials: protein, fats and carbs. Listen to your hunger signals. Your body is so smart and is designed to tell you when it needs something. Fueling your body and your mind is vital to reaching your goals. Don’t underestimate the importance of what you consume each day.
In addition, aim for at least ten 8 ounce glasses of water a day. Start your day with a full glass of room temperature water or hot water with lemon. It detoxifies your body, cleanses your mind and gets things moving!
Schedule workouts as appointments in your calendar and don’t miss them! I recommend doing three to four workouts per week. There is a lot of confusion around whether cardio, strength training or interval training is best for you.
Think in terms of which work out will get you the best results for your time spent. Strength training comes first, and high-intensity interval training (HIIT) is second. Sorry, cardio queens! HIIT and strength training workouts are the most effective in shorter periods of time and create lasting results if you follow a routine. If I plan for four workouts during the week, I’ll do two strength workouts and two HIIT. I would rather get my heart rate up and burn fat than spend a ton of time on the treadmill.
- Take Care of Your Mental Health
Just because you can’t see it right now, doesn’t mean the path is not there. Keep taking steps. Be kind to yourself; appreciate all that you have and all that your body is capable of. I like to create a mantra and put it everywhere around me. That way, I’m constantly reminded of it and conscious of my goal. Put it on a three by five index card and tape it to your dashboard. Make it your home screen on your computer, the background of your phone, put it in your medicine cabinet, in your wallet or wherever you will see it every day. It’s your constant reminder that you are worthy of your dreams.
As you move towards your goal, keep in mind that sleep, nutrition, exercise and your mental health are interconnected. Each of these things can make your journey that much more enjoyable, effective and meaningful to you. Often, the joy is in the journey, not the destination.