Talking with a friend the other day she made a comment about "lame motivators". In our discussion she cited class reunions and swimsuit season as a dumb reason to work out. Well I am telling you just the opposite! They are very good reasons and scientifically stronger motivators to people then death itself.
Goal days that are more imminent and close are much better motivators than those that are distant, unsure and far away. Also those that are tied to social accountability. If you have a day like that and feel guilty that you haven't already done it for your family or yourself DO IT ANYWAY. Use what ever excuse you get that gets you going and purify your process as you go.
As a Public Health Professional I have seen this time and again. This is why the anti-tobacco campaigns did not work in the beginning. They focused on the morbidity of smoking. They focused on the long term death, we found that kids knew that smoking would eventually kill them but they would start smoking anyway. Why is that? Because the close-at-hand social pressures were greater. When the anti-tobacco campaigns coupled with legislation started to focus on social norms (It is gross to smoke) they got a huge response from youth. We started to see a complete dive in smoking rates.
The same is true for us. Even on Biggest Loser. Their program would not be as successful or have as drastic results if they did not have a Finale at the end where the contestants were viewed by millions or given a large reward. Most contestants, however, as you watch the show become purified in the process. They get a taste for fit living.
They feel their first natural high after a workout or they realize how good clean eating can actually be and how awful they used to feel after eating and some continue to fight for that. They no longer do it only for others they do if for what they want to be and how it makes them feel. They realize that the pleasures of a healthy life actually do out weight the pleasures that come from binge eating, salty and sugar filled foods or sleeping in. They go through the learning curve. Which with the conversion of a junk food addict to clean eating there is DEFINITELY a learning curve, a big one.
With that in mind here comes New Years. Goals should be S.M.A.R.T.
- S. Specific - Workout 5 days a week, eat five fruits and veggies a day, consume 1500 calories a day rather than "loose 25 pounds"
- M. Measurable - "Work out more" as opposed to "Workout 5 days a week for 40 minutes" You need to know whether you have accomplished it or not.
- A. Achievable- Losing 50 pounds is great but I would start with a 25, 20 or 10 pound mile stone. Also you need to depend on yourself. Your really cannot make goals for other people. Those would count on someone else to achieve.
- R. Realistic- This falls along the same lines as achievable. If your body type just will not allow for a certain shape or skill you may want to focus on one that is more complimentary. For example, if you are a body builder not a runner try shooting for that or vise versa. Also if you want to lose 40 pounds in a month it is possible but may not be realistic or healthy. It depends on your current weight and strategies. If you don't mind water and muscle loss along with fatigue and no long term lifestyle changes then it may be possible.
- T-Timetable- Goals should have a time line attached to them. For example. Create 5 healthy meal plans buy February 2nd. or Keep a food journal for 3 days are great deadlines. Or even run a half marathon in 6 months is possible!