THE FITNESS PRIORITY BY KRISTIN MCNEALUS, PT, DPT
Can you break the goal down into three smaller goals you can work on to get toward your big
goal? Now give a timeline for those three goals. Giving a time frame will hold you accountable.
Think of a goal you would like to accomplish – is it that you would like to lose five pounds? (or 50?) Would you like to lower your cholesterol by 30 points? How about complete a 10k? This can be for other aspects of your life, like your finances. Do you want to pay down some debt? Or save up for a piece of medical equipment that is not covered by insurance?
Working towards something helps you stay on track, and seeing the success of intermediate milestones also motivates you to keep up the good work. Everyone has days when they just don’t want to work out, and there will always be days when turning down dessert seems impossible, but if you see these as road blocks getting in the way of where you want to go, then you’ll have fewer days like this. This holds true with keeping to a budget.
So I ask you: what is your goal??
How long do you think it will realistically take to reach that goal?
Write this down.
Can you break the goal down into three smaller goals you can work on to get toward your big goal? Now give a
timeline for those three goals. Giving a time frame will hold you accountable. Write these down too.
For example, if I want to complete a 10k race in three months, my shorter-term goal would be to be able to push my wheelchair for two miles without stopping in one month, four miles in two months, and six miles in three months.
If you are working toward a financial goal, divide the amount you are aiming for and divide it into a timeline. Try to put aside a specific amount of money weekly to get you closer to that amount.
What key things do you need to change to get started? What is standing in your way? Ralph Waldo Emerson said “challenges are what make life interesting. Overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.”
How about sticking to achieving your goal? You are more likely to stick to a workout schedule if it is put into your calendar. Just like you put dentist appointments, or PTA meetings on the agenda as booked time, putting your workouts on the same level of importance into your schedule will help make that time a priority. If you are trying to achieve a financial goal, consider setting up your account to automatically move money to a separate account weekly.
Some people are motivated by other people’s encouragement. If you like this, maybe finding local workout classes would be helpful. Exercise with other people who are focused on a similar goal, and can keep you on track by making sure you get to class (even on those days you don’t really want to!) If you do not enjoy working out with other people, or you have difficulty getting to exercise classes, consider sharing your goal and progress on social media. Every Body Fitness allows people to share their workout on Facebook, for people who may not like to exercise with others, but still like friends and family to know that you are working towards a goal and they can cheer you on.
If your goal is related to a budget, tell your friends and family what the goal is so they can encourage you when it gets tough or frustrating.
Some people are motivated by awards. There are a number of wearable tech options to track steps or minutes of exercise, however these generally do not work well for many people who have mobility limitations. There are some options in the works for people who use wheelchairs, but they are still being finalized. Every Body Fitness has added a dashboard that provides the same visual feedback without a wearable device! You can enter the number of minutes that you spent working out that day, and this is not tied to our videos, so you can enter any time you spend swimming, dancing, cycling, etc.! You can see a graph of your entries, and you earn points for every workout. There is even a built-in allotment of bonus points if you exercise more than 20 days in a month – to motivate you to workout five days per week! And you can trade those points in for prizes! If this is something that may keep you motivated, check it out.
Many banks’ online services now offer dashboards to track your spending habits. You could also use this for the visual feedback of your savings.
Write down your goals to keep you motivated. Are you trying to stay healthy for your children? Are you trying to cut down on medications you have to take? Again, are you saving for a specific item? Write down any and all of your goals, and then be sure to write down any progress you are making toward those goals! Having your physician lower your blood pressure medicine dosage would certainly be just as worthy of bragging about as losing pounds. Celebrate your progress!
Get out that pencil and paper (or open your Notes app) and get started! Make a game plan and achieve that goal. •
THE FITNESS PRIORITY
Kristin McNealus, PT, DPT, ATP received her Masters in Physical Therapy from Boston University then went on to earn her Doctorate in Physical Therapy from MGH Institute of Health Professions. She has been a staff physical therapist on inpatient rehabilitation for people with spinal cord injuries at a number of hospitals in Southern California, as well as Director of a community adaptive gym for people with neurological injuries. She is a member of the International Network Spinal Cord Injury Physiotherapists, and has contributed to the APTA Guidelines for Exercising with a SCI. She has completed 3 marathons, and 25 triathlons, including the Ironman! SCI Total Fitness is designed to promote health and wellness for people with physical disabilities.