As 2021 begins, you’re probably seeing plenty of exciting new year’s resolutions being set by your friends and family. As a personal trainer and pole dance instructor, I see a lot of folks who want to make extreme changes in their fitness routines at the beginning of the year, and I’ve got a couple of goal setting tips to share with you big dreamers.
Self-confidence and self-efficacy are muscles that must be built up over time - just like your physical muscles, doing too much too fast can cause lasting damage. If you can strengthen those “belief” muscles over time, you’ll be better able to keep up your momentum for the long haul, and therefore more likely to achieve your fitness goals.
If in the past you’ve struggled to stay motivated, or haven’t met previous goals, it can feel impossible to meet new ones, even the ones you’re excited about. So-called “failures” in your history can cloud your confidence and make the first steps toward a new goal feel overwhelming. And something as small as skipping a day of practice can feel like an erasure of all your progress.
So take a moment to think of your new year’s resolution as a delicious pie. You might be tempted to try eating the whole pie at once. However, if you can’t finish it all, you may feel pretty bad about letting it go to waste - or if you can, you may not feel so good afterward. Instead of biting off more than you can chew, cut your pie into slices, or even bite-sized pieces. If you want more when you’re done with your piece, you can always have another.
Let’s say you currently exercise a few times a month, but want to set the goal of exercising every day. Instead of aiming for 30 minutes every day starting on January 1st, start by aiming for 15 minutes once per week - just a sliver of that goal pie. Later, you can increase that to 30 minutes once a week, then twice a week, and so on, until you’re chowing down on that whole pie, a goal setting champion!
Any goal can be broken down like this. Maybe you want to start studying pole dance seriously. Instead of jumping into a class blindly, spend a few days researching studios and trainers in your area. Or, maybe you want to be able to do the splits. Instead of immediately attacking your poor groin muscles, add a few extra minutes of leg stretches to your daily yoga practice, then a few more the next week.
Keep a journal of your progress. Be specific with your goals for yourself, and write down changes that occur in your routine. Talk to your friends about your goals, and how you’re working towards them gradually. Build that accountability, build those belief muscles, and keep going.
Remember, it’s NOT “all or nothing.” Try to avoid the mindset that rescheduling or skipping a day equals “failure.” If you can’t make it work once or twice, all is not lost! Pick up where you left off when you can, and you WILL make progress - I promise!
Ready to work towards a goal in a supportive environment at your own pace? Book a virtual or in-studio session with us today!
Jessica Chernicki is a gender-queer Certified Personal Trainer, Corrective Exercise Specialist, and pole dance instructor.