Success. What does it mean to you? To me, success is achieving goals, winning, and getting results. I would imagine that we all would like to be successful in whatever we set our hearts out to do. What does it take to achieve success? If you don’t know then you’re probably not achieving much success in your life. When it comes to getting healthy and fit, being “successful” is and can be a hard thing to accomplish. So what does it take to be and stay successful?
Goals – Have a goal that can be realistically achieved. Losing 10 lbs a week isn’t realistic or healthy. A goal of fitting into a smaller size of jeans would be better than focusing on just losing weight (will explain later). Maybe you would like to run in your first 5k, or maybe just be able to look good for your son or daughter’s wedding. Break down your larger goals into smaller, achievable daily and weekly goals. Have small goals that focus on improvement, for they’ll be steps in the right direction of achieving the overall goal.
Stay off the scale! – using the scale to determine if you’re being “successful” at weight loss attempts is the worst thing you can do. Your focus should be on losing inches, not pounds. Granted, the scale may drop for some, but not for others. This is not an indicator of success or failure. As long as you’re losing inches, you’re losing body fat. If you’re working out, you can gain muscle and lose fat, the scale won’t read any less but if you’ve lost inches you’ve lost fat. That’s much better than losing weight in the form of muscle. Muscle is what’s needed to burn calories, give your muscles that “toned” look and what burns the fat off you’re trying to lose in the first place!
Motivation – One day you are gung-ho about working out and getting in shape, then the next day you’re a couch potato again. Why? Could it be your lack motivation? How bad do you want it? Focus on your goals and track your progress. Achieving even the smallest goals will help to build and increase motivation. If you want something bad enough I’m pretty sure you’re going to give it your all to get it. If you give it your all when it comes to exercise, you can’t go wrong – for you’ll definitely be on the right track to getting in better shape and improving your health. Remind yourself that sitting on the couch doing nothing won’t accomplish that.
Plan – If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Schedule days and times that you know you can work out, take a walk, or do a fitness class. Do you have a solid plan or are you doing what you think is good? If you don’t know what you’re doing seek professional guidance. Don’t waste your precious time and energy to only literally spin your wheels and get nowhere. A little guidance can go a long way in making the most out of your time and effort.
Action – Go meet with a trainer, take that yoga class, do that workout. Not only do you need to make sure you’re doing the “do” part of your goals, you want to make sure you’re doing things correctly. I can’t stress how important it is to do exercises correctly. If you can’t afford a trainer, try some small group training or sign up for classes that offer more personalized instruction. Exercise videos are a great tool, but you don’t have a trained eye watching you to see if you’re doing exercises or stretches correctly. It’s hard enough to get started, so the last thing you want to do is hurt yourself or waste your time doing things incorrect or ineffective.