Wednesday, July 17, 2013

You Reached Your Fitness Goal! ...Now What?

You set a fitness goal, for weight loss, to run a  10k or fit back into your favorite jeans. A lot of time, energy and focus goes toward reaching your goal. At last, you reach it. Hurray! Time to celebrate! ...But then what?

Right after the victory of reaching a goal we often experience post goal blues. It's the let down after the excitement. It's that lost feeling of not being sure what to do next. It's often the time we fall off track. We may start eating all the foods we deprived ourselves. We may stop working out. We lose motivation and may even feel a bit depressed. So, how do you avoid this post goal slump?

The key? Have another goal ready. Ideally any goal you set should have a deadline. As the deadline for the current goal approaches start thinking about what you want to do next.

Assuming you've done a good job setting your current goal (see this post for more on setting fitness goals) you have a good shot at reaching it. So, set your next goal with the idea that you have already achieved your current goal. Have the mental image of yourself 20 pounds lighter or having successfully run that 10k. What would you like to do next?

I've found that this strategy has a couple of benefits. First, it gives you the foundation to create a plan for exactly what you're going to do after your current goal no longer requires all your time and attention. You've got a new goal to inspire you and give you something to look forward to and plan of action to go with it. No time for post goal blues!

Second, it can actually increase your motivation for reaching the current goal. When you work really hard toward something, sometimes you hit bumps along the road, especially toward the end. You start to get tired, a little burned out,  maybe you get sick of the routine. Setting that next goal and doing it with the mindset that your current goal has already been achieved can really help. It allows you to more vividly imagine your goal as complete and that can be really inspiring, just when you need a boost.

You might think this approach seems a little too "type A", constantly chasing goals without taking a break. But your fitness strategy doesn't need to be an endless push toward new accomplishments in order for this to work.

Another advantage of having the next goal already in mind is that you can create a plan that works for you. When the goal you're working on now is complete have a break included in your plan for what do next. Allow yourself a week off from hard workouts or have a cheat meal or two. Since it's part of the plan, you know you won't go too far off track.

When break time is over get going on the next goal. If you need a little more down time, then set your next goal as a maintenance goal. Maintenance is an important part of fitness too. Your maintenance goal might be to maintain the weight loss you've achieved or to continue running a certain number of days a week.

Whatever it is, the point is to keep moving forward with purpose and focus. Making fitness a lifestyle is often challenging, but always having something to work towards and a plan to get there will help.

No comments:

Post a Comment