This year has brought a lot of unexpected situations into our lives and it’s afforded us the opportunity to stop, pause, and reflect. This issue of SAND is dedicated to the intersection between design and mental health, but, our physical health is just as important. Each day brings its own set of challenges and changes so having a routine that works for you and setting your intentions can be a game-changer as we work to build ourselves up both mentally and physically. This year, I’ve made it a priority to focus on the things that I can do every day to help me move, sweat, and keep my body and mind strong - and I wanted my trainer Zach to share some of his insights to sticking to your health and wellness goals.
- Bobby Berk
FOCUS ON WHAT YOU CAN CONTROL
When it comes to fitness and health, the results can be inconsistent and frustrating. You’ll make a lot of progress at times, but then have setbacks and plateaus that can be demotivating. Don’t let that get you down! What matters is finding the right path and sticking to it even when there are curves in the road.
To help you stay motivated through tough times, focus on what’s in your control. You don’t always have full control over the results. What you do have control over is the work you put in and how you react to external factors. Maybe instead of saying you want to lose “x” amount of pounds, set a goal of working out a certain amount of times per week. If you can be proud of the work that you put in then the results will take care of itself.
DON’T BE VAGUE
I get asked for fitness and health advice a lot and my first response is “what are your goals”. There are a lot of different paths to take, but first, you need to know where you want to go. If your goals are too vague then not only can it be hard to figure out what you need to do, there’s also no real way to know if and when you’ve achieved them. Set a specific, quantifiable goal so that you know what you need to do and can be motivated to make progress.
I’ve heard a lot of people say they want to “work out more”. Set a goal to work out a specific amount of times per week for a minimum amount of time. Instead of saying you want to “eat healthier” you could say you want to have home-cooked meals a certain amount of times. For me it means setting a limit of how many times per week I eat out, knowing that’s when I tend to indulge more.
SET SMALL GOALS
Setting a big, long term goal is awesome and can be really motivating, but it can also be a daunting task. Setting small goals gives you a reasonable, measurable target. A goal that seems easily reachable will keep you from getting overwhelmed. There’s also an immense sense of satisfaction in achieving that goal, which can get you excited to keep going and make more progress.
One of my goals is to be able to do a handstand. A useful skill? Not really. Fun? Yes! If I just tried to just do one then it wouldn’t go so well (I’m speaking from experience). If I set a goal of being able to do one against the wall, that doesn’t seem so hard. Achieving that smaller goal gets me one step closer to the bigger, overarching goal.
COMMIT TO SOMETHING
How many of you are more likely to follow through when you’ve made a real commitment? I know I am. Having something specific to look toward gives you a real sense of accountability. If your goal is to work out more, then sign up for a run or an obstacle race (or whatever else you’re into). Then tell everyone you know about it so you really can’t back out! Having a deadline and something to train for can help you set a real plan and stay motivated.
If your goal is more general, join a fitness challenge or a group that has similar goals. We all do better when there are others holding us accountable.
MAKE IT POSITIVE
My last, and maybe most important piece of advice, is to think about your goals in a positive sense. Positive reinforcement will always be more motivating and last longer than negative reinforcement. The whole reason behind resolutions is to try to improve your life and increase your happiness. Sometimes when you’re struggling all it takes is a shift in mindset. So focus on the things that will make you happier. Set a goal to get outside more. Take a class on cooking, art, or whatever new skill you’ve always wanted to improve. Commit to something with your friends and family. Whatever your goal is, make sure it’s something you’re going to enjoy!