Happy New Year! This month I wanted to share my personal health and fitness goals with you, as well as the process I use to select them. It will help hold me accountable and, since many of you have the Diet & Fitness Planner I use, it will give you tips and ideas to use it.
Even if you don’t have the planner you should totally set goals, whether in a notebook, on your phone, or on your computer. The goal setting process is the same.
So let’s get started!
January 2018 Health and Fitness Goals
I’m always excited at the start of a new month. It is a fresh, new beginning. It doesn’t matter what happened last month or last year. Now is the time to look forward and create new possibilities.
Success always starts with a positive attitude. I like to start a new Inspiration Board at the beginning of each year. In the photo above you can see I’ve added only a few quotes and some photos of me when I was in really good shape. I will add to my Inspiration Board every single month (and will print off more copies if necessary).
(I like to use the Sprocket portable printer to quickly print off 2×1 inch stickers right from my phone.) s
The first thing I do is grab some scrap paper and do a little brainstorming. I scribble and get messy and put my thoughts out on paper before I commit to anything.
One of the first questions I answer, on paper is: How am I doing RIGHT NOW?
I think about:
- What is my fitness level?
- Am I exercising regularly?
- Am I happy with my workout routine?
- How’s my eating?
- Do I need to lose a few pouns or just need to maintain my weight?
- How is the quality of my diet?
- Do I feel strong?
- Am I dealing with pain or any physical issues?
My raw and real “how I’m doing” list:
- chronic back pain
- intermittent knee pain but always stiffness (arthritis)
- feeling weak and inflexible
- food quality for the most part is good – I’ve been eating low carb and I enjoy this way of eating
- I’m about 20 pounds over my happy weight
- haven’t been supplementing with vitamin D
I want to stress that the “how I’m doing” list is not to make you feel guilty or bad. We are making a brand new start and I firmly believe we all do our best under the circumstances. It is simply to honestly assess where you are so you can make simple changes for the place you are right now.
Then, based on my answers, I brainstorm a few goals I’d like to work on this month. Then I narrow the list down to between one and three health and fitness goals which will have the most impact.
My possible goals list:
- Lose 5 pounds
- Increase flexibility
- Walk 8k steps daily
Finalize my goals.
Next I look at the goals to see if they are SPECIFIC, MEASURABLE and REALISTIC. If not, I’ll rewrite them.
My #2 goal (increase flexibility) is clearly not specific and measureable. Goals should be written in a way so you can answer “yes I reached my goal” or “no.”)
My #3 goal is not realistic for me. Other than showering and brushing my teeth, I don’t want to commit to doing ANYTHING every single day. What if I’m sick or hurt or traveling? I will rewrite this goal to allow for “life” happening.
Now I will transfer my final goals to my Fitness Planner.
You’ll notice I scribble in my planner. I do have nice handwriting when I slow down and take my time but I’d rather get my thoughts on paper in a quick and simple manner. Your planner, or the tracking system you use, is not an art project. Just. Write. It. Down. Messy is ok.
My January 2018 health and fitness goals:
- Lose 5 pounds
- Do PiYo 3 times per week
- Walk 8k steps per day (or do my daily planned workout) 5 days per week.
See the difference? These goals are specific, measureable and realistic FOR ME.
My fitness goal of 8,000 steps per day (versus the ideal 10,000) is a good start considering how I am doing at the moment. Be sure to set a goal that makes sense for YOU. Don’t compare your journey with anyone else’s.
Your “why” is the reason you keep going. Very specifically, why do you want to achieve your goals? Try to dig deep because your why will fuel you when the going gets tough.
My January Why:
- I hurt physically and feel fat and out-of-shape. I want to be strong, healthy and active for myself and my family.
Identify potential obstacles.
What might get in the way of you reaching your goal? Being aware of the roadblocks is half the battle. I write these directly on the planner because I am pretty attuned to what my personal issues are, ha ha.
My January potential obstacles:
- eating at night
- food cravings and binges
- accidentally “forgetting” to do flexibility work because it’s not fun
- losing my motivation
Set a reward.
I always set a reward for myself if I achieve my goal or goals. I give myself a little leeway with the reward. If my goal was to lose 5 pounds but only lost 4 I ask myself:
- Was I logging my food?
- Was I eating healthy?
- Was I exercising faithfully?
- Do I feel like I tried my best?
If I feel I did my best, I will reward myself.
My January reward:
- An afternoon at the casino along with a pedicure and spray tan.
Create an action plan.
Here’s where you break down your goals into simple action steps. Look at your list of goals and brainstorm different ways to make them happen. I do this on my scrap paper.
If your goal is to lose 5 pounds, some of the action steps might be:
- find a diet plan to follow
- journal your food
- track calories or carbs
- use a portion control eating style (like 21 Day Fix)
- go low carb
- workout for 30 minutes daily
- stop eating after dinner
- no snacking between meals
- dessert only on the weekends
- take 10,000 steps per day
- drink 8 glasses of water daily
- eat 5 serving of veggies daily
You get the idea. There are many, many actions you can take to help you lose 5 pounds.
You can also choose healthy habits that will address your potential obstacles. See how I have “stop eating after 8pm” on my list? That will address dreaded nighttime over-eating.
If you had to do ALL those things it would be intimidating, right? Thankfully you don’t have to. Pick just a few steps that will make the biggest difference.
- log food in MyFitnessPal
- 8,000 steps per day (or planned workout)
- intermittent fast most days until 11am
- schedule workouts a week in advance
- meditate daily
- stop eating after 8pm
- drink bone broth daily (for my achy joints)
- shoot for 70% fat, 10% carbs and 20% protein (keto eating)
- 1500 calories per day
My January healthy habits to track:
- log food in MyFitnessPal
- 40 net carbs per day**
- walk 8,000 steps (or do my planned workout)
- do PiYo or pilates three times per week
- meditate (to keep me sane, lol – I use the Calm guided meditation app which is free)
- stop eating after 8pm
The healthy habit tracker in the fitness planner is key because I can see at-a-glance how I’m doing. Lots of blank space and I need to step things up. Lots of check marks and I’m on track.
Can you see how my actions directly relate to my goals?
**It’s ok to change your goals/action steps.
Originally I was going to limit myself to 1500 calories per day to help with my weight loss goal. I often count calories so it’s no big thing. However, I am currently eating low carb now and love the way it helps eliminate cravings and, when I eat this way, I’m not hungry all the time. So it’s more important to continue my low carb/keto eating than to count calories. Instead I’ll count carbs. (This e-book is what convinced me to go low carb.)
That’s why I crossed off my 1500 calorie action step and replaced it with 40 net carbs.
Bottom line, this is your life, these are your goals, and YOU are in charge. Feel free to change things up as needed.
Now that I’ve shared my goals with you, I’d like to explain how I PLAN to achieve the goals. Setting them and writing them down is not enough. When will I do my action steps? How will I remember what they are? How will I know I’m on track? Read on….
Planning for success.
Here’s where planning is key… you must have a system to review your goals regularly, to schedule and track your actions steps, or nothing will change.
Here are the steps I take to plan a healthy month:
Plan your workouts.
I usually plan my workouts a week at a time, and I choose my workouts according to my goals. For me, flexibility (doing PiYo three times per week) and daily activity (starting at 8,000 steps five days per week), will be the focus of my plan.
What workouts will you do each day?
You can see weeks 1 and 2 are planned. Sometimes I put a star or checkmark when I complete the daily workout. You can cross it off, color it in or whatever, but track your progress. Using this monthly workout calendar you can easily see at-a-glance if you are being consistent.
Note on my workouts: I schedule at least one rest day per week but it doesn’t mean I necessarily sit on my butt all day. Though it could! Rest is important. Also, my workouts are pretty simple, easy and basic at the moment because of my back and knee issues. Hopefully that will change as the year progresses.
When specifically will you workout?
So on January 1st my scheduled workout was PiYo Lower and 8,000 steps. When EXACTLY will I get those things done?
This is where your phone or calendar comes in. Set a specific time, like an appointment, for your workouts. Phone alarms are perfect so you never forget. #NoExcuses
Create checklists to keep you on track.
I use the Weekly Success Checklist inside the Fitness Planner. It is just a listing of actions to take every week to help be a healthier you. For some of you they might be a normal and natural part of your week. For others, they are a nice reminder.
If you have the Fitness Planner check them off each week. If not, here are the steps to having a fabulously fit and healthy week…
Nourish Your Body
- Plan meals for the week
- Fill in your shopping list
- Shop for groceries
- Prep food for the week if desired (I rarely food prep anymore because my meals are very simple.)
- Track your food and water daily
Move Your Body
- Plan your workouts for the week
- Track workouts daily
Believe in Yourself
- Review your calendar for the upcoming week and prepare for challenges
- Journal daily
- Review your Monthly Goals, Inspiration Board and Before pages often to keep your goals in plain sight and stay motivated on your fitness journey.
- Evaluate your week. What can you learn? What can you improve on? What was awesome?
Plan your meals and shopping day.
Meal planning is where many people just throw up their hands and say “it’s too hard!” Not it’s really not. You need time, maybe 30 minutes, to decide what you are going to eat next week. You need to put a time – on your calendar – when you will go to the grocery store.
Instead of the meal planner in the Fitness Planner, I actually use this printable meal planning system. I wrote all about my meal planning process in this blog post: How to Master Meal Planning in 7 Simple Steps
Meal prep? Yay or nay.
A note on meal prep: I really don’t prep at all. I am of the “my meals better be damn simple so I’m not spending all my time in the kitchen” philosophy.
At the same time, I’m smart about my cooking. I will make double portions or a large quantity of a recipe when it first appears on my menu. So if I’m serving quinoa on Monday,I will make a big pot and eat it for other meals during the week. I might may roast extra veggies or potatoes, or make extra turkey meatballs so I can have them for another meal.
This is a pretty simplistic and painless method of meal prep and it’s plenty of prep for all but the busiest of people.
That said, if you like to cook all your food on the weekend and reheat it throughout the week, have at it. This blog post shares some meal prep methods and items that are easy to prepare ahead.
Track your food and workouts every single day.
This is where the daily pages in the Fitness Planner come in. I track my workouts or steps. I log my food. I identify potential roadblocks each day and I journal or write lessons I’ve learned each day. Sometimes I add goofy inspirational quotes or stickers. This habit helps me stay motivated and honest about my progress.
Don’t “accidentally” forget your healthy habits or tracking! Use reminders.
If you think you’ll forget to track your daily habits, or meal planning time, or workouts simply set a reminder on your phone. With a smart phone there is no excuse to forget anything! (Which is unfortunate because “I forgot” is one of my favorite excuses.)
So there you have it…my January goals and how and why I chose them. I also shared some tips on how to make those goals a reality by planning all the action steps to get there. Next month I’ll let you know whether or not I achieved my goals and why or why not. I’ll also show you my February goals.
You can use the same process I’ve outlined to set some amazing health and fitness goals for yourself. Wishing you a happy and healthy January!
PS: Have you set goals for January? I’d love for you to share your goals in the comments below!