For many people, losing weight (or extra inches around the waist) is the main reason to become more active. Others want more energy to play with children or grandchildren. Some people want better health and more enjoyment out of everyday activities. Feeling better about self and appearance is a common goal. Perhaps one of these reasons speaks to you.
With a truly meaningful why, the how comes much more naturally. Goal setting can be an excellent way to set you on the right course. With focus, you will know when you have achieved your goals.
Specific:What specific goal do you want to achieve? For instance, you might decide, “I’m going to accumulate 30 minutes of physical activity per day, on most days of the week.”
Measurable:How can you measure your starting point and desired end point so that you know where you are in relation to your goal? A specific goal is good because it can be measured. For instance, you could add to a condition to your first goal. Only continuous physical activity lasting at least 10 minutes would be included in each day’s final tally.
Acceptable to you:Have you created this goal? Do you find it acceptable? Your doctor or spouse may suggest goals, but they will fail if they are not important to you. Think about what you like to do and create a goal to fit it.
Realistic: Is the goal realistic? Sometimes we set our sights too high for the time we allow ourselves to achieve them. Small goals can be steps on the ladder to achieving larger goals. Be realistic about what you can achieve in a given period of time. With each small goal you increase your confidence, and every little bit counts. Remember, you can do great things one step at a time.
Time frame:When do you plan to reach your goal? Setting a deadline is important. Knowing that you have a completion date helps you to move forward.
For instance, “I’m going to accumulate 30 minutes of physical activity per day for most days of the week, by the end of October 2016.”
Once you are close to achieving one goal, set another. Let’s say you reach your first goal of doing 30 minutes of physical activity each day. Now, raise the amount to 45 or 60 minutes. Once that is achieved, you might focus on the intensity of the physical activity, such as moving from light walking to brisker walking.
Choose one or two goals at a time - Too many goals make it hard to focus and can be overwhelming.
Set priorities - Focus on the goal that is most important to you, which you feel most confident of achieving.
Consult your doctor - Make sure you get clearance before adding more physical activity to your routine. Your health team (which may include a Certified Exercise Physiologist) can give you excellent tips on safely managing diabetes while being physically active. Keep in mind that physical activity is an essential part of diabetes management.
Recruit support - including yourself! You are the captain of your team. Coach yourself through tough times. Seek out people who can help you where you need it most. Find supporters who will listen to you, share experiences, provide technical information, and participate with you. They can help motivate and care for your emotional needs.
Overcome obstacles - Foresight and planning is necessary here. Keep a journal to learn what helps and hinders your goal. Overcoming these obstacles can boost your confidence and carry over to other areas of your life.
Celebrate successes - Choose rewards appropriate to your goal and your personality. If your goal is to take inches off, a large chocolate sundae may not be the best reward. Instead, you might focus on a day of pampering at the spa.
Take action - You don’t need to have everything in place before starting towards your goal. There will never be a perfect time to begin. Take action now and learn from the journey. You can always modify your strategy to achieve your goal. If you slip a little, that is okay. Learn from it and find ways to move forward.
May all your physical activity goals become reality. Start today, so that you can enjoy the great weather!