Someone has tweeted me and asked how they can get back into their exercise routine after being on holiday. This is something I am asked a lot, people use a holiday as a motivational tool to do exercise, therefore when the holiday is over why bother continuing?
I feel people should use whatever method works for them to get themselves moving but as well as short term (1 month) and medium term (1-6 months) goals (such as looking good on holiday) it's wise to plan long-term ones as well. You can use the fulfilment of short term goals to contribute to the achievement of long term goals and therefore continue to exercise and eat healthily all year long.
A long-term goal is generally set over a course of a year, so this is where the big numbers start to come into play. In my SMART blog post I stated it wasn't a good idea just to say "I want to lose weight" it needs to be measurable so I suggested
“I want to lose 6 pounds in the next 6 weeks, I will do this by cutting down on portion size and exercising 3 times a week”
This would be your short-term goal. Your long term goal might be to lose 2 stone and as a long-term goal that would be fine. If you just wrote I want to lose 2 stone then it might seem daunting from the outset.
From a fitness point of view I know someone who currently has a long-term goal of the Great South Run which is 10 miles, however her short and medium term goals include finishing the couch potato to 5K training programme and then participating in several 5K and then 10K runs. The short/medium term goals help make the long-term goal achievable.
Ok so that's the science bit, and most of the time it works. But what about the times you just can't be bothered whatever the long term goal maybe?
Well here are some ideas that might help those 'whatever' days:
- Put on work-out clothes when you get up
- Schedule it in diary
- Ring a friend and get them to join you for a walk/run/swim. You may not exercise as intensely due to chatting but at least you are moving.
- Write down how it feels AFTER you have exercised and stick it somewhere you can see it
- Allow yourself a treat after you have exercised. This doesn't have to be food related!
Thinking positively helps, instead of thinking oh that exercise session is going to make me feel hot, sweaty and may hurt (in a good way!) think about the benefits you will be getting. When you exercise endorphins are released which are the body’s natural feel good chemicals and therefore boost your mood naturally. So next time you are in a bad mood and can't be bothered to exercise think about the fact exercise might be the cure!
I would love to hear any motivational tips or tricks that you use.