A New Year can be a great time to reflect and analyze what goals a person wants to achieve moving forward. And a lot of us set health-related goals! Like running a marathon. Lose the holiday weight. Finally schedule the hip replacement surgery and get moving again pain-free! However, research indicates that 80 percent of New Year resolutions fail or are abandoned by February. Embarking on a journey to achieve our goals can often feel like scaling an impossible mountain once we start to climb it. However, the key to turning your aspirations into real-life results lies in setting and taking small, manageable steps to achieve your big, lofty health goal. In this blog post, we’ll explore the impact of breaking down your fitness goal into smaller steps and how this approach can lead to lasting overall health.
When health or fitness goals are established as too large and lofty, we often feel frustrated when we can not achieve them in a desirable amount of time and give up. So, an approach with small steps provides clarity, focus, and an opportunity to feel rewarded for achieving your larger goal. Defining specific, achievable actions makes the path forward more apparent and rewarding.
For example, as instructors, we get asked, “How often should I do Pilates?” A common expression to remember is “One time a week to maintain. Twice a week to see change.” A big and lofty New Year’s resolution might be to lose the holiday weight. One way to break that down would be to focus instead on going to Pilates twice weekly. That’s it! You don’t have to do more. Be realistic about your schedule availability so you don’t burn out trying to do too much. We can concentrate on one step at a time rather than facing the overwhelming prospect of a massive goal. This clarity reduces stress and enhances motivation as we progress to the final goal.
The Snowball Effect
Small steps are the building blocks of momentum. Just as a snowball gains speed and size as it rolls downhill, achieving small goals creates momentum that propels us toward more significant milestones. This sense of accomplishment fuels motivation, making tackling more challenging exercises, levels, or fitness goals easier as we progress.
Each Pilates class has small steps built into each exercise, helping you achieve larger goals. When we move more regularly, we keep our joints lubricated, strengthen joint stabilizing muscles, help avoid injury, and move with less pain in the body. This, in turn, helps us keep moving, propelling us towards the big lofty goal of losing that holiday weight per se.
Treat Yo’ Self
Get a small dopamine boost every time a smaller goal is achieved; don’t be afraid to reward yourself. What is a small reward (that doesn’t negatively affect the goal at hand) that helps solidify your achievement? Acknowledgement and community! We are an education-focused studio and strongly believe body awareness and movement knowledge are empowering. We want to celebrate each small achievement with you, acknowledging these victories to boost your confidence and reinforce the belief that you will achieve your larger health goal. Celebrations, no matter how modest, create positive associations with the process, making us more likely to stay committed for the long haul.
Accept Failure and Adapt
When embarking on a new resolution, failure can sting particularly badly. Therefore, smaller goals allow for greater flexibility in adapting to failures and an easier ability to pick yourself up again. If a particular approach isn’t working (such as moving too fast into a Pilates level 4 class and feeling frustrated!), it’s easier to pivot and adjust when the goals are manageable. The Pilates method is a mindful form of functional movement. This unique approach to exercise encourages you to build better body awareness, balance the nervous system, and regain healthy motor control and flexibility. Going harder, doing better, or moving faster and stronger is not part of the Principles of Pilates and may be contrary to helping you achieve your health goals. Pilates rewards the constant practitioner. So, recognizing and adapting smaller steps, like a 10-minute daily release practice or trying a level 1 instead of a level 4, are all towards a larger overall health goal. This adaptability ensures that setbacks become learning opportunities rather than roadblocks.
Control the Variables
Sometimes, to build a habit, variables must be controlled for it to become routine. The most common variables are your available time and personal environment. It will be tough to achieve your health goal if you cannot stay consistent with your practice and maintain some control over the external influences that affect your environment. Make your workout the same day and time every week, no matter what. Perhaps wear the same outfit to your weekly workout. Have the same small snack each week before the workout. Whatever works for you to trick your body into a routine, make it happen and make it consistent.
The Procrastination Monster
Procrastination often stems from the feeling of being overwhelmed by a monumental task. Breaking down goals into smaller steps, say establishing a consistent practice on Tuesdays and Thursdays, makes the overall goal to lose the holiday weight less intimidating and more approachable. This, in turn, reduces the likelihood of procrastination, as each single workout becomes a manageable and less daunting commitment. Getting the motivation to work out can be hard, but perspective can help! Keeping track of your workouts can be a good way to see your progress and make attending each class more doable.
Start your healthy habit!
How Pilates Can Help You Achieve Your Health Goals
Setting and maintaining goals in small steps is a powerful strategy that transforms resolutions into achievable realities. Pilates is a gentle yet incredibly effective exercise method that is safe to do regularly, anywhere from once a week to three times. Built into the exercises are small steps and cues that help your body build strength and motor control and improve flexibility and mobility each time you work out. Plus, the sense of community within the studio helps build camaraderie, accountability, and better body education, empowering you to keep moving! By focusing on the journey rather than the destination, we cultivate resilience, build confidence, and achieve your health and fitness goals. Just give yourself patience and grace in the process.
THE INFORMATION EXPRESSED ON THIS SITE IS FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. WE DRAW ON OUR EXPERTISE AS PILATES AND MOVEMENT SPECIALISTS BY EXPANDING OUR PROFESSIONALISM THROUGH CONTINUING EDUCATION AND PERSONAL EXPERIENCES. WE AIM TO PROVIDE VALUABLE INFORMATION CONCERNING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, PILATES, FUNCTIONAL MOVEMENT, AND FITNESS. YOU TAKE FULL RESPONSIBILITY FOR ALL DECISIONS NOW OR IN THE FUTURE CONCERNING YOUR HEALTH, LIFE, AND WELL-BEING. THIS INFORMATION IS NOT TO BE USED AS MEDICAL ADVICE EITHER TO DIAGNOSE, TREAT, CURE, OR PREVENT ANY DISEASE OR AILMENTS. YOU SHOULD CONSULT A PHYSICIAN BEFORE BEGINNING ANY EXERCISE PROGRAM.