A few times a year I send out surveys to our community around faith, fitness and food and the results are always so interesting but there are always some common responses shared and one of them is the struggle of having a plan. Most people can easily come up with goals like "I want to lose weight, I want to eat better, I want to spend more time reading my Bible" but it's having a plan to reach those goals where a lot of people seem to get stuck. I think this is so telling because we often know the results we want but we don't take time to put a plan in place that we can follow to lead us to those goals.
When creating a plan for your health goals they should include:
1.) a clear vision of where you want to get to
2.) setting daily attainable goals
3.) the steps that you believe will get you there
4.) the pain that will come from not changing
5.) knowing your triggers/ temptations and how to avoid them
6.) celebrating your wins
How badly do you want to be healthy, strong and energized? Is it important for you to get to a healthy weight? Do you want to live with more joy, peace, confidence and purpose? If so, then you're going to have to make the time investment to create a plan.
I have created this Fitness_Plan_Worksheet for you that you can print each month and spend a few minutes to fill in the blanks. Without a plan, you are reduced to flying by the seat of your pants every day and that just doesn't work for most people. Having a plan allows you to focus on exactly what you need to do by breaking it down into doable action steps each day. This leads to being consistent each week which adds up to a month of progress in reaching your overall goals. Before you know it, you have months of progress behind you and are seeing real and exciting results! To make this plan even easier, pair it with our monthly calendar where you will find done for you daily meal plans, grocery lists, inspirational messages and workout suggestions. You can access this month's calendar by clicking this link https://faithfulworkouts.com/calendar/
ClICK TO PRINT YOUR Fitness_Plan_Worksheet
Dream about what you want your life to like in the future. Imagine the quality that would be added to your life with a strong, healthy body. What could you do that you aren't able to do now? How would that make a positive impact on your life?
2. Set A Goal
While it's great to have a big picture goal like "I want to lose 50 pounds' or "I want to run a 5K" or "I want to be able to do a 1 minute plank" It's important to be patient with yourself and know that change doesn't happen overnight. You can't expect to lose 50 pounds in a month, that would be very, very unhealthy but you can set a goal to lose 5-7 pounds this month. You may not be able to hold a 1 minute plank today but by the end of the month you may be able to by working your way up to that each day.
It's important to set goals that you feel are achievable yet challenging. Make your goals specific and measurable. Instead of saying “My goal is to exercise more” say “I will exercise 3 times this week for at least 10 minutes. Next week I will exercise 3 times for at least 15 minutes."
Here are some suggestions to help you set goals broken down by beginner and for those that are ready to challenge themselves a little more. Of course theses are just suggestions feel free to set your own goals each week:
Getting Started - Beginner
Workout at least 10 minutes/day for 3 days. Drink at least a 12 oz glass of water each morning. Read 1 chapter in the Bible 3 days this week.
Workout at least 20 minutes/day for 4 days. Drink at least 60 ounces of water each day and limit my added sugar to no more than 24 grams/day. Read 1 chapter in the bible each morning.
Again, this is just a guide to help you get started. It's important that you see how having weekly goals will move you towards the life you want in the future. Each week, access your progress and see if you can challenge yourself to kick it up a notch by adding another day to your workout schedule, exercising longer or a more challenging type workout like HIIT or strength training. Make time today for writing out those goals and post them in a place where you will see them often.
3. Action Steps
Write down what you need to do to reach these goals. Maybe it's getting rid of all the sugar in your house, buying weights and exercise equipment, scheduling your workouts on your smartphone calendar so you don't have any excuse for missing them or forgetting, inviting a friend to exercise with you, buying a Bible, finding a fun mug you can carry with you to remind you to drink more water. What can you do starting today to make your vision a reality? Don't write down too many things. When starting something new it's best to not overwhelm yourself. Little changes over time add up to big results!
4. Pain Of Not Changing & Past Temptations
Write down the pain you will experience and how you will feel if you don't make these changes. For example:
"I will continue to put on weight which will affect my already bad knees."
"I will struggle with the most basic things in life like walking or getting out of a chair"
"The stresses I am feeling because of the chaos in the world will get even worse. It will be hard for me to experience joy because I feel so out of control."
"If I don't break free from sugar I will become diabetic which could cause serious health issues and I may die young because of this addiction." (yes, sugar is an addiction)
For “past temptations” think about what typically gets in your way of making healthy choices. Write them down and then write what you can do to prevent them from pulling you off course this time. It might be that in the past if you had a piece of cake you would tell yourself you're a failure and give up because quitting is better than continuing to fail. If that's your story you might choose to put this quote to memory, “Failure is not the falling down, it's the staying down” to remind yourself that one wrong decision doesn't mean you failed. You could also choose a Bible verse to offset the lie you are telling yourself. I love Lamentations 3:22-23
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
If your temptation is that at work people have candy and you are tempted to eat it you could wear duct tape across your mouth at work (KIDDING). Actually, you could bring a healthy snack to work so you aren't tempted with the bad foods others are bringing in.
5. Celebrate A Win
This is super important because the devil is going to constantly try to tell you that you are failing. That you can't do this. That the small steps you are taking will never get you there. THE DEVIL IS A LIAR. The truth of God's word says that you are loved, worthy of prospering and through His Son Jesus who died to cover you in His grace all things are possible. No win is too small to write down or celebrate. So during the month, write down your wins and celebrate them so you can remind the enemy who is really in control!
I hope you will take the time to do this. Having a plan is super important. When we write it down it also builds our confidence in actually being able to do it. It's also great to share your plan with someone else. Who can you ask to help you?
Of course, you need to go to God. Talk to Him about your hopes and struggles. Ask Him to give you the will power to make healthy choices. He is right there with you and ready to help.
I am praying that you are so full of hope that you truly believe you can move towards better health no matter your age, past, history or struggles!