Turning Intent into Action

There are so many people who wish to make a healthy lifestyle change…there is a reason it is one of the most popular New Year’s resolutions. Unfortunately, that’s usually all it becomes-a good intention that is never followed by action. There are many resources available that deal with the practice of setting goals, but they all most boil down to the following three tenets:

1. Be specific: Let’s say my goal is to get in shape. What does that mean to me? Does it mean running five miles without stopping? Losing 20 pounds? Increased muscle strength and definition? In this instance, simply saying “I want to get in shape” isn’t going to cut it. It leaves a lot of room for uncertainty, which can make it difficult to devise an approach.

Once you have a tangible, measurable goal in mind, you need to map out how you’re going to get there. Let’s say my specific definition of getting in shape is to be able to run a half marathon. To reach this goal, I’ll need to find or create a training schedule that is appropriate for my current activity level. I’ll need to dedicate time in my schedule for running and cross-training, which means I am taking time away from something else, so I will have to decide where the time is going to come from. It will be easier to follow your plan if you hammer out these types of details beforehand.

2. Be realistic: If you just took up running, registering for a marathon that takes place in two months may not be the best decision. Unrealistic expectations create disappointment, and will make it less likely for you to try again. Be honest about where you are right now, and set your goal accordingly.

3. Be dynamic: This is where it can get tricky. Let’s say you’ve done all your planning. Each day’s exercise is mapped out, you’ve made the time to go to out and run, and it’s going really well! However, right as you’re getting into the swing of things, you suddenly get sick for a couple weeks, or you pull a muscle and can’t exercise the way you planned. If you didn’t build in a little flexibility, it’s easy to think this unexpected occurrence will completely derail your efforts. It won’t--you just need to reevaluate. Take time to recover, and start fresh when you’re able.

At the end of it all, remember that it is a process, and you will have to make adjustments along the way. However, if you stay committed, you will see change and it will be worthwhile.

Written by Jenny Beuschel, 2016 Fitness Ambassador