Most of the time, a change in lifestyle is needed to achieve an overall long-term fitness goal. While it may take a lot of preparation, determination, hard work, and not to mention time spent at the gym, running outdoors, or simply doing whatever exercise routine you are most inclined to before you can reach your long-term goal, there are always those little achievements you can take pride in and celebrate.
Taking stock of these achievements will give you the motivation that you need. It will give you a reason to keep pushing and keep going (even when things get a little tough!), and a reason to believe that you are capable of getting to where you want to be. This will not just motivate you, but it will also make the whole journey more enjoyable!
Below is an excerpt from the Experience Life Team which talks about celebrating fitness successes. Taken from http://experiencelife.com/article/celebrate-your-fitness-success/
Rather than beating yourself up about how long it’s taking you to reach your destination, take a peek in the rearview mirror and consider for a moment just how much territory you’ve already covered. OK, so maybe those accursed love handles haven’t yet melted away. But perhaps you’ve started eating a little healthier, and you’re feeling a little more energetic and confident as a result. Maybe you’ve also managed to put a few miles on the bike you bought three years ago but never rode until last spring. This is the kind of stuff you need to acknowledge as forward progress, not evidence of a job undone.
The point is, if you’re doing anything at all, even if it’s just shifting your attitude, making some smarter choices or developing your health-and-fitness knowledge base, you’re building momentum and opening up pathways to bigger accomplishments. And if you fail to credit yourself for that, you’re setting yourself up for unnecessary hurdles in the future. You’re also cheating yourself out of a lot of well-deserved satisfaction.
“If you really want to succeed, you need to start viewing your fitness accomplishments from a positive perspective,” asserts Jennifer Davis, MS, a health psychology counselor for the Duke Center for Living in Durham, N.C.
Viewing last year’s successes in sharper relief can also help prime you for even more success in the coming year, Davis notes, because it helps you assemble evidence that you are, in fact, making health and fitness a greater priority in your life. This helps upgrade your goal-oriented pursuits from the dreaded “should” or “have to” status (or worse, “total failure” status) to a progressive and positive part of your current identity.
“Taking stock this way helps you clearly communicate to yourself that being active and living a healthy lifestyle are truly important to you,” says Davis.
But this whole looking-back endeavor isn’t just about a fluffy, feel-good review. It’s also about plotting out how you can build your current momentum into new accomplishments for the coming year. Once you can confidently say to yourself, “Hey, I did accomplish a lot after all,” and accept that every long journey unfolds incrementally, you’ll be primed to start drafting a health plan, perhaps with some ideas you gather here.
Reflect back on your year with a view to what you feel were your biggest successes, achievements or areas of progress. Take a moment to document them here, along with your areas of continuing challenge, then use the lessons you’ve learned from your breakthroughs to generate new momentum in the areas where you feel most sluggish.
- List your top three accomplishments over the past year.
- Name three lessons you learned from these successes (about what works best; how you’re wired; what conditions, support or timing best predispose you to success)
- List your top three areas of challenge.
- Name three lessons you learned from these challenges (about what clearly doesn’t work for you, what types of obstacles you’re most vulnerable to, any tendencies toward self-sabotage, etc.).
- Consider how you can apply these lessons to the new goals you intend to set. Write yourself a brief note summarizing what you’ve learned, and tuck it into your journal for reference down the road. When you find yourself at an impasse or detour, take the paper out and read it. You may be surprised at how wise your own advice sounds just a few weeks from now!
Take note of what you’ve accomplished, what you’ve learned and what you want to do more (or less) of in the coming year. Then take pride in the fact that over the past year, your good intentions actually took you somewhere you wanted to go — in the direction of your hopes, your values and your most promising future.