Veronica is a personal trainer and licensed massage therapist who specializes in realigning patterns of movement as a means to strengthen the whole being, releasing patterns that no longer serve, and building physical and mental strength to move beyond current limitations. As one of my best friends, she’s helped me tremendously set and achieve my goals — so I asked her to give some advice to my readers, too.
At the end of every summer, I send a brief questionnaire to my clients. While most of the questions have to do with logistics, the questions of true concern and interest have to do with states of mind and body, with a bit of reflecting and projecting.
What have you achieved this season towards your goals?
What did you want to achieve but didn’t? Is this still important to you?
What new goals do you have for the fall? (be very specific)
I don’t take blanks for answers. We’ve all achieved some things and not achieved others. Writing them down or otherwise communicating these to someone is key to moving through to the next step. As a trainer, I develop fitness goals for my clients based on what I see and hear, but I can never feel what my client feels. In addition to ongoing communication at each session, I need my clients to step back and look at their experience as a whole, and answer my few questions. I answer the same questions as well, from my perspective, for each client. When we bring together the two views, we can plan appropriately for the next steps in our work together.
Have you checked in with yourself lately? Ask yourself the questions above and write out the answers. Go ahead… what have you got to lose?
If you don’t have a baseline–as in you haven’t defined any goals–I suggest you set some and write them down, share with a friend, or post them some place where you will be reminded they exist. Goals can be large or small, with achievable components and a suggested timeline–don’t worry, you’re in charge and can always revise, but an initial plan can help you get moving.
Example 1: I will eat more fresh vegetables
How to do it: Find my local farmer’s market and check it out. (This week)
Choose 3 vegetables that are in season and learn how to prepare them and introduce them into my meals. (This week and cook over the next month)
Make dinner twice a week instead of watching a tv show. (Start at the end of the month when I’ve chosen and know what I’m doing)
Example 2: Prepare for a decrease in income due to job loss in six months
How to do it: Set up a current and projected budget (next weekend)
Track all expenses and income (Month 1)
Cut budget to 80% of current after first month; continue to reduce monthly; save any amount possible to a contingency fund (Beginning of next month and through next 5 months)
Research areas of interest to me and possible careers (Month 2)
Develop new resumes for various fields (Months 2-3)
Considering having a roommate for a period of time (Month 2)
Set up interviews and informational sessions (Months 3 and on)
Example 3: Lose 10 pounds
How to do it: Measure and weigh myself (Today)
Create a weight and measurement log for the next three months to work towards my goal (Today)
Talk to my doctor about exercise that is safe for me (Appointment in 3 weeks)
Make a list of all the physical activities I enjoy which I can do for exercise (This week)
Schedule two 30-minute walking sessions per week, progressing to three by next month (Beginning day of appointment)
Rent an exercise DVD or get a book from the library to get ideas of exercises I can do at home (Next Thursday)
Consult a trainer or check out my local gym or recreation center (After appointment)
… You get the idea. Take your big idea and break it up into little ideas that will get you there. Timeline expired? Re-up your commitment to yourself at checkup time! Most of all, enjoy the journey!