This is the time of year where, aside from all the party-going, vacations, and family visits, when we ponder the year ahead. Here are three easy steps to get started on visualizing and making a plan to achieving health and fitness goals (or any goal for that matter).
1) The 30-second rule. Give yourself only 30 seconds to think about and write down the three most important goals for yourself. Think fitness, think quick, think large. Write it down. Whatever you come up with, according to Brian Tracy (goal-mastering guru), is more accurate for you than whatever you can come up with after hours of soul searching. Did you write it down? No? Write it down.
2) Set a deadline. Want to lose 15 lbs? Give yourself enough time to get there, reasonably. Shoot for a date that excites you–is it Spring Break, Easter, start of the Summer vacation? Setting a date you want is more important than not setting a date at all. Remember, there are no unreasonable goals, only unreasonable deadlines. You can always reset the deadline on a worthy goal.
3) Make a plan by breaking it down into small steps. Set weekly or daily targets to achieve your plan. The more small steps you have the more doable the goal will seem. According to the Mayo Clinic, the basic formula of calories in/calories out is the best predictor of weight loss. To lose 1 to 2 lbs of fat a week you will have to burn between 3500-7,000 calories. That amounts to a minimum of 500-calorie deficit per day. Break it down to a meal-by-meal plan that you will follow and stick to. All of the Beachbody workout programs I have tried provide an easy-to-follow meal plan targeted to a goal and current fitness level. It is a good place to start. I also recommend the book by Tosca Reno. There is some great information here about how to structure each meal to include a grain/carb.
Happy goal-setting. And Happy New Year!