Wow! It’s the beginning of a new year already! With the start of the New Year it’s also the start of New Year’s Resolutions. So many decide that this is the year to make changes once and for all; people are all saying things like “2015 is going to be my year, I’m going to be the best me I can be” or “I’m going to finally lose this last 20 lbs of baby weight in 2015.” What is your resolution going to be this year?
If you are like so many, you decide to start your year with a 30 day challenge and why not? What‘s 30 days? Anyone can do that, right?
Here are some important questions to consider when embarking on your challenge to ensure you are ready.
1. Do you have a goal written out?
When you write a goal down it makes it real, not just something you contemplate. Think about what you will gain from reaching that goal. How will you feel? Be specific. Set a goal to complete the challenge but also make sure you set weekly goals so that you can evaluate how you did that week. You may not reach them but I will guarantee you will have made progress.
2. Do you have your challenge printed out in plain view?
Seeing the challenge will keep it in the forefront of your mind and remind you of the commitment you made to yourself.
3. Do you have a plan for completing the challenged number of repetitions? I.e. How many sets or how often throughout the day to do them.
In some challenges the number of repetitions gets quite high. Having a plan as to how you will complete them will make them less daunting.
4. Do you know what time of day you will do your workout?
Some people have a set schedule each week, while others can vary day to day. If you have a set time of day you have a much greater chance of creating a routine and feeling good about the changes you are making.
5. Do you have a good pair of running shoes?
Having proper footwear is important for keeping your feet and ankles stable. It will definitely help prevent injuries.
6. Do you have everything you need to complete the challenge? I.e. Dumbbells, sandbag, skipping rope?
I think it makes more sense to add weight to some exercises rather than increase to the numbers listed to gain strength and build muscle. Building muscle burns more calories therefore you will lose fat faster. I also think everyone should do something every day to get their heart rate up and who doesn’t love skipping? 😉
7. Do you know the proper form of the exercises to be performed?
Even if you think you know how to do the exercise, PLEASE look it up on YouTube or ask a personal trainer for a refresher! I can’t stress that enough! Most trainers will offer single sessions. If you are doing the exercise incorrectly and not concentrating on the right muscles you are at a high risk of injuring yourself, not to mention that you won’t gain the desired benefit.
8. Do you have an accountability buddy to support you and give you a nudge when you decide you don’t want to do it one day?
There will come a day when you don’t feel like exercising and you just want to relax and do something else. You may start to question why you started the challenge in the first place. Having someone else to hold you accountable will give you the incentive to keep going. No one wants to be the first to give up.
9. Do you have a plan for when your muscles hurt from being used?
If you haven’t exercised in a while or you are doing different exercises, your body and muscles will scream at you for using them again. Do you have some Epsom salts for a bath? Having a heating pad can help as well. Believe it or not, when you are hurting using those muscles again will help them heal faster by getting the blood flowing through them.
10. Do you have a motivational quote that keeps you going that you can keep repeating to yourself when you feel like it isn’t worth it to continue?
Having something that means something to you is sometimes all you need to go the extra distance when you think you’ve had enough. Keep that in plain sight when doing your workout.
One of whole ideas of a challenge is for you to grow. People naturally have a need to compete, whether it’s with someone else or just to show someone up. Seeing a challenge to the end is different than completing a challenge. Both will give you a sense of accomplishment and personal growth. It’s okay to modify the challenge to fit you as long as each day you do a little more than you did the day before. Another thing to keep in mind, habits can be made in as little as 21 days. One challenge may be all that is needed to get you on track of having a healthier lifestyle.