Losing weight can be a challenging process. Failure and plateaus can defeat even the most determined of attitudes. Oftentimes, failure is the result of altering calorie intake without altering activity level. Adding an exercise plan to a healthy diet can turn failure into success by improving fitness and attaining weight loss goals.
Committing to an exercise plan is an excellent start in a journey toward weight loss. To formulate an exercise plan, begin by listing enjoyable activities. Sticking to a program is much easier if that program consists of enjoyable activities. Choose one of the activities on the list and commit to partaking in it five out of seven days per week, even if it’s only for ten minutes per day. Dramatic lifestyle alterations are not necessary to accommodate the chosen activity. Those who make small changes are far more likely to maintain the changes over a long period of time.
Setting and tracking exercise goals ensures long term success. Goals should be small, measurable, attainable, and timely. In other words, goals must be achievable within a short period of time. Setting goals maintains commitment by allowing one to meet a large number of small milestones on their path to fitness and weight loss. An example of a goal might be, “five out of seven nights this week, beginning Monday evening, walk one-half mile.” Upon achieving that goal, frequency or length of activity can be increased in small increments. The focus of goal setting is to introduce small lifestyle changes one is able to maintain over time, ensuring long term success.
After achieving three short-term goals, it is time to formulate an end goal, also referred to as a long term goal. Successes experienced with short term goals gives one an idea of what a realistic long term goal might be. Additionally, it helps determine an appropriate timeline for the long term goal. Long term goals are constructed in the same manner as short term goals, they simply require more time and have a larger outcome. An example of a good long-term goal might be, “achieve a forty pound weight loss in one year”. After setting a long-term goal, use of short term goals will continue to monitor progress. Short-term goals will take the form of logical steps toward a long-term goal.
To maintain weight and fitness level after achieving a long term goal, it is imperative to continue monitoring food intake and to engage in activity. Goal setting strategies are helpful in maintaining weight loss or fitness level. Setting a new long-term goal such as, “do not gain or lose more than five pounds in one year” can encourage continued success.
Setting and achieving short and long-term goals eases the difficulty of maintaining an exercise plan. Making progress on short-term goals increases confidence and enhances the commitment to a new and fit lifestyle. Weight loss is difficult, but it is an attainable goal, made even more attainable by adding exercise and activity to one’s day.