Our recent article about your child starting school triggered the realisation that, for many of us, autumn still feels like time for a fresh start. Even if our school days are but a distant memory, there is something about the changing of the season that seems to spur us on to make changes in our lives.
In a way, autumn is a more logical time than January to make New Year resolutions. The weather is better, and we are hopefully still a little bit energised from the summer rather than being exhausted and overindulged from the festive season.
One of the main topics for New Year resolutions is health and fitness. 12% of all gym sign-ups happen in January, and these members can even gain the reputation of being “gym tourists” – and you definitely don’t want to be one of those!
So why not start your fitness journey now instead of waiting till January? Think of the progress you could make by Christmas, and how virtuous you will feel.
Here are four tips for how to get your fitness journey started, and also how to record your progress as you go along.
Tip 1 – Make and document clear goals
There’s an old saying along the lines of “if you don’t know where you’re going, how will you know when you get there”. And that is so true when it comes to fitness goals. Whether you want to lose weight, run 5 or 10K, swim 100 lengths, or learn a new sport, you need to state your goals clearly before you start. Otherwise you run the risk of your fitness journey losing purpose and just fizzling out.
So decide how you are going to record your fitness goals. For example, you may decide to use an arty, stylish notebook. Or you could buy a specific fitness journal – just Google “fitness journal” and a whole new world will appear. And then of course there is a wide range of fitness software and apps, so it is worth browsing around to find something that suits you. Some – such as Fitstream – enable you to store photos of your fitness journey too.
Tip 2 – Record your “Before Self”
Most of us will have seen fitness websites that post Before and After photos. And sometimes the changes are dramatic. If you’re feeling flabby and unfit, the last thing you probably feel like doing is taking photos of yourself, but it is definitely worth doing. If your fitness journey does succeed, how good would it be to look back on your Before Self to see how far you’ve come!
So put your photos into your notebook, fitness journal, or app. Also record any data that is relevant to what you are trying to achieve. For example:
- Current weight
- Body measurements
- Exercise capability
- General health and well-being
Tip 3 – Planning and monitoring your fitness journey
As well as deciding on your fitness goal(s), make a plan of how and when you hope to achieve them. It can then be helpful to break your goals down into a series of mini goals. It can be easier and more motivating to work towards small victories along the way than focus on the big prize at the end.
So, for example, if you wanted to lose a certain amount of weight by Christmas, break this down into smaller weekly goals and focus your efforts on achieving each weekly goal. Similarly if you are trying to build up to being able to run or swim a certain distance by New Year, create a plan where you gradually increase that distance week by week.
Monitor your fitness journey by regularly tracking your mini goals. Also keep track of any other relevant data you recorded at the beginning of your fitness journey so that you have an overall picture of how you are doing.
And do remember to take photographs regularly as you go. Make these fun and meaningful to you. No-one else ever has to see them unless you want them to; they are just to spur you on.
Some ideas for fun photos include:
- You wearing clothes that are starting to look baggy or are even sliding off you.
- Evidence of muscles beginning to grow.
- The elusive six pack just about becoming visible.
- An ongoing series of photos of either your scales or your tape measure.
- Your favourite places to exercise.
- Any other special experience along the way.
Any photo deserves a place in your fitness journal if it contributes to telling aspects of the story of your fitness journey that could otherwise be forgotten later.
Tip 4 – Celebrating and maintaining your fitness success
This is just as important as all the previous steps. If all goes well, there will come a point when you achieve your goals and your fitness journey is at an end. And that is definitely something to celebrate!
You deserve to celebrate your success because you have worked so hard and done so well. This is the point at which you will be glad you kept a fitness journal so you can see just how far you have come.
And don’t forget to take some fabulous “After Self” photos to finish off your fitness journal with. By now you will be so proud of yourself, you will definitely want to take lots of them! And why not go one step further and create some lasting copies of your photos to display in your home? An ideal way to do this is by using metal prints, which are both stylish and durable – so will preserve your fitness memories for years to come!
But weirdly, reaching your fitness goal can sometimes be a bit of an anticlimax. Having been so driven and motivated for so long, it can feel like there is a big gap in your life. But this need not be the case. In fact, having achieved your goals, you will need to keep practising many of your new habits to maintain your goal. Perhaps not at the same intensity, but if you completely stop doing all the good things and revert to your old ways, you will soon see your achievements start to slide.
So see this as a new phase of your fitness journey. At the very least, you want to maintain where you’ve got to, but you may decide to take things onto the next level and set yourself a new fitness challenge. The good thing is that you now know you can do it!
Good luck from all of us at Print Your Memory! We wish you every success on your fitness journey..
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