When you’re thinking about starting an exercise programme it can be overwhelming, particularly if your focus is weight loss and you have a lot to lose. It may feel like an impossible feat, one that you will never achieve, because the results are not immediate.
A great way to approach this, and to avoid the demotivating “why am I bothering?” is to set yourself some short term mini goals. This way, you’ll be able to track your progress and maintain your motivation.
1. Exercise x times per week
If you haven’t exercised for a long time, you may feel that one day a week is enough; that’s okay. You may not know how long you can realistically work out for, so try it out and see how you get on. If you only manage 10 minutes, that’s fine too. Just try to keep your exercise consistent for the next few weeks - 10 minutes once a week. Once you are comfortable with that, increase your duration to 15 minutes once a week, or try 10 minutes, twice a week. As your fitness improves, you can alter your goal.
2. Walk X miles in one go or Walk without a break for X minutes
If you want to get fitter by walking, you have many options. If you are only able to walk a certain distance before needing to rest, you can set your goal around trying to increase this distance. For example, currently you may only be able to walk as far as the post box before needing to stop, but you are on your way to the train station which is a mile away. Your goal could be to walk 1 mile without stopping. By slowly increasing the distance you walk, you will build your endurance and stamina, an achieving your goal before you know it.
If you know you can walk 10 minutes without needing a rest, you can slowly increase your walking duration till you achieve your goal.
3. Walk X steps a day
If you own a fitness tracker that counts your daily steps, this is an easy one to begin with. You may not even need a fitness tracker if you have a smart phone. Many iPhones have an inbuilt step counter. The recommended steps you hear people talking about is 10,000 steps but who says you have to stick to this? If you currently spend much of your day inactive, your step count is likely to be very low. You goal may therefore be to walk 3,000 steps a day. Once you start achieving this regularly, you should increase your step goal and continue to challenge yourself.
4. Increase repetitions (reps) of a particular exercise
This is a great goal if you have a particular exercise you want to get good at. It’s also a great indicator of muscular strength and endurance. The press up is great for improving pushing strength and many women struggle to do a full press up to begin with. If you are only able to do a wall press up right now, build your strength by increasing your reps. Once you are comfortable doing 20, you should change your elevation and start building up again.