Sunday, January 1, 2012

Transitioning to Tangible

 " No one can go back and make a brand new start. Anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending."~Unknown

The first step to making your fitness resolutions a reality, is to create an emotional connection to your goals. (you can read my last blog post about how to do that here) The next step is to transition your abstract goals into tangible ones.
                      Tangible goals can be seen, experienced and measured.
   They bring your dreams to life by allowing you to experience them everyday.

Here are 7 proven ways to make your weight loss and fitness goals tangible:

1. Write your goals down:
  Think specifically about your goals and write them down. Make them your cell phone's wallpaper so that you see them all day long.
  Break them up into specific long and short term goals.
  A specific long term goal could be  "I want to lose 50 lbs in 30 weeks" rather than a general goal of "I want to lose weight".
  A specific short term goal could be "I will  decrease my caloric intake by 250 calories and I will increase my caloric expenditure by 250 each day so that I can lose a pound a week" or " I will stop eating fast food"

2. Weigh yourself:
 Studies have shown, people who are the most successful at losing weight and keeping it off, weigh themselves everyday. This allows them to make adjustments to their diet if they start to see significant weight gain. (remember, your weight can fluctuate for a few days by a pound or two depending on salt intake or other reasons. However, if your weight continues to increase or increases and doesn't go back down, you know you need to adjust something.)
  Weighing yourself also gives you a way to stay accountable and measure progress. If you do not like to weigh yourself everyday you can weigh yourself a couple times a week, however, do not go more than one week without weighing yourself.

 3. Keep a food journal:
  If you want to be successful at losing weight, you must keep a daily food journal and total up your  calories every day. I want to stress how important I think this is. My clients that have lost the most amount of weight have kept daily food journals.  It is impossible to remember and accurately track how much you have eaten, without a food journal. Your mind often forgets the 10 oreos you ate standing up!!
 Also, people tend to stay on track more often when they are writing down everything they eat.

4. Keep an exercise journal:
 Write down all your workouts and estimated calories burned in an exercise journal. It will be motivating to see all of your hard work in written form. It will also allow you to see if you are sticking to your planned workouts and create progressively harder ones as you get fitter and stronger.

**Remember that 3500 calories = 1lb  So if you want to lose 1 lb a week, you need to make a caloric deficit (between food and exercise) of 500 calories a day. Click here to get an approximate number of calories you need to net at the end of the day to lose weight. This number will change over time as you weight goes down.

5. Tell people about your goals and daily progress:
  Staying accountable to others helps motivate you to stick to your goals when you might be tempted to slack off.  There are lots of high tech, fun ways you can share your goals:
       You can post your daily accomplishments on Facebook or Twitter. You can even post a weight loss or exercise challenge to your friends.
       You can start a blog about your journey
       You can use websites like The Daily Mile (which I just started using) to post your workouts and connect with others who are doing the same. I find seeing what other people are doing for their workouts, really inspiring. 

6. Schedule and plan out your exercise times:
  Schedule all of your workouts a week in advance. Treat these appointments as unbreakable, as if you had a meeting with a very important person...because you do. Plan out what your workout goals for the week will be and what exercises you will do. This makes an abstract idea of "I'm going to work out this week" into a tangible goal you need to get done.

7. Get in Gear:
  Investing in quality sneakers can help you stay injury free, which is especially important when you are first starting to workout. Visit your local running store (even if you aren't a runner) and have someone analyze how you walk so that you can buy the appropriate shoe for your foot. It really makes a huge difference! You can also check out my favorite brand, Mizuno's, shoe finder here. Also when you have a new pair of kicks, you feel very excited to workout!
 If you can, buy yourself some new workout clothes. It doesn't matter if you are not the size you want to be right now. Wearing a new t shirt and seasonal gear will help you feel more excited about working out and ready to face the elements, so there are no excuses!! UnderArmour has great cold gear that you can check out here.
  Whether you have new clothes or not, get your clothes ready and put them where you can see them the night before. This is a visual reminder that motivates you each day to get it done!!

Transitioning your resolutions from the abstract to the tangible will help you stay connected to them everyday. When your goals are tangible, they are more likely to be reached.

Let me know how these tips work out for you and if you have any other ways to make your goals tangible.