#1 Set yourself up for success: make manageable resolutions.
Giant leaps start life as baby steps, just like successful resolutions. Goals work best when they’re just within reach – and if you stretch for them, a little bit further each time. Tip: once you know you can, you’ll keep doing it. So don’t enter the half-marathon when you’re still only on the treadmill. Get outdoors first!
#2 Measure it.
Apart from that warm glow of well-being, how do you know you’re making progress? By measuring it. Taking your resting pulse rate, for example, gives you the objective confirmation you need to push ahead. And if the measurements say otherwise, then you can raise your game by reviewing your workout plans and fine-tuning your form and technique.
#3 Schedule it.
Consistent progress is like finding the holy grail, but it becomes easier once you know what you’re supposed to be doing – and when. A schedule helps you stay on track as you surely, patiently, reach your goals.
#4 Break down big numbers.
Even sporting gods put in their time. Roger Federer’s single-handed backhand is devastatingly beautiful but he started out with a brutish double-hander. Then he did his 10,000 hours for perfection, one practice at a time. So break down your personal quest for Olympus into friendly bite-size chunks. And schedule them in (see #3).
#5 Set milestones. Roll with it and reward yourself.
Don’t beat yourself up if you miss a workout. Unscheduled events can’t unhappen! But roll with it by carrying on and doing what you can. Then celebrate the small wins of incremental progress! (See #4.) That beach retreat or spa getaway with BFF could be just the incentive that breezes you over the finish line.
#6 Hold yourself accountable.
Keep a journal of all the not-today excuses you’ve ever made – and the times when you girded your loins and just went for it! You’ll be reminded how glad you were that you did. Plus, it keeps you honest when you have to tick all those boxes next to the sets/reps scheduled in your journal. But if you still feel stuck (it happens), get a workout buddy. Now that you’re responsible to someone else, you have to get going!
#7 It never hurts to ask for help. (But it might if you don’t.)
Did we mention the workout buddy? Someone who can show you the ropes would be perfect. But because we don’t all have personal trainer friends, the best way to learn is from a pro, i.e. a personal trainer. Good ones quickly suss out your body type, movement and potential problem areas. Ask for help to avoid niggling injuries and remedial work that delay progress.
#8 Mix it up. Try something new.
Did we mention the personal trainer? As a bonus, she or he keeps track of your progress! And ensures variety in your routine so you really get to work that body. Different muscle pairs need to be used in different ways and in concert with certain others. There’s more than one venue for this, and much more to fitness than just boring machines. Crossfit, are you calling my name?