The month of March is upon us, a time of year when spring is in bloom and our New Year’s resolutions are but a distant memory. I tend to shy away from locking myself into resolutions, but I did set some goals for myself for 2014, with a caveat.
My three goals:
- Exercise three times a week (gym, yoga, dance, walking)
- Eat healthy meals at home and only go out to eat one time per week
- Avoid alcohol except on special occasions and if so, only one glass
- I will stick with this from Jan. 1 to March 15, 2014
Why the caveat you might ask? Because over the years, I have discovered not only what motivates me, but how I am motivated. It turns out that I am motivated by short-term, project-based goals that have a clear beginning and middle, and emphasize a tangible end within reach. At work, I thrive on projects and really sink my teeth into the process of arriving at a final goal that is realistically within my grasp.
When it came to my New Year’s resolutions this year, I decided to see if approaching my fitness goals in a project-based manner might lead to success with respect to my health outcomes the same way that I have seen success at work.
I chose March 15h as my deadline, as I will be leaving for a two-week holiday on that day. I decided that: 1) it would be nice to build up my strength and immune system before travelling abroad, and 2) I would have a difficult time sustaining my healthy behaviours while away.
I am now just two weeks shy of my final goal and I feel great! I have in no way been perfect but maybe for the first time, I feel as though I really succeeded at something and can see and feel the positive results.
This month, I invite you to think about what motivates you, and how. Perhaps you are motivated by competition or by teamwork. If that is the case, be sure to join the Healthy UBC Challenge 2014! Grab your colleagues and spend four weeks working towards individual and collective health goals. The challenge offers competition, teambuilding and great prizes!
Now that I know what motivates me, my next step is to set new goals for when I return. Perhaps a personal yoga challenge or a workout regime focused on endurance. Maybe I will finally work up the courage to bike to work or to enter the Sun Run.
The most valuable lesson of it all is that I proved to myself that I could do it. I had the self-determination to stick with a goal and to see it through. I was aware that the sacrifices made would not last forever, and this pushed me to sustain my healthy behaviours that much longer.
Want to learn more about motivation?