People ask me all the time, "How can I stay motivated and stick with my exercise routine during stressful times in my life?". I'm always completely honest in answering that question by saying that it's normal and comfortable to fall into old habits when life throws you a curveball (like right now as we transition from a summer to a fall schedule). The path to a healthy and active lifestyle is a marathon, not a sprint. All of us have periods of time where we don't adhere to the activities that are helping us reach our fitness goals. If you find that life's stresses are preventing you from moving forward with your fitness goals, take a moment to examine your goals and see if you can't alter them slightly to prevent backsliding into old habits.
All of us at Mobile Health Team are fans of SMART goals because they can keep you motivated and focused despite the chaos that life brings. We have talked about SMART goals in previous newsletters, so here is a brief review of what makes up a SMART goal:
S = Specific M = Measurable A = Attainable R = Relevant T = Time Bound
When you use SMART goals as stepping stones to achieve a longer-term goal, you set yourself up for success. I used a SMART goal myself this summer during our family vacation to Nashville, TN. I enjoy running and a goal I always have in my mind when I travel is to run as much as possible to take in the sights and sounds of my new location. The goal of "run as much as possible" is certainly not a SMART goal, so I re-framed my expectations of myself into the SMART goal format. My goal then became "during our 7 days of vacation, I will run 3 miles on three occasions for a total of 9 miles". By having a realistic expectation, I was able to spend quality time with my family, have lots of fun and meet the goal I had set for myself.
The next time you feel that life is getting in the way of your health and fitness routine, review your ultimate goal and set a SMART goal to keep you on track.