How do you eat an elephant? One piece at a time

Goals are like elephants: they can easily become overwhelming and seem too big and unwieldly to control. So to succeed at your goals, especially in fitness, you need to break them down into manageable bites.

Whether you're looking for weight loss, muscle gain, overall toning of your body, increased strength, or improved endurance, keep in mind that nothing happens overnight. It's a process. So just as eating a whole elephant would seem impossible at first glance, starting with just a small bite is completely doable. So don't overwhelm yourself by obsessing over how long it will take or how fast you can achieve your goal. Take it one day-one "bite"-at a time. You might not be able to do a 12-mile hike tomorrow. But you can do a half-mile walk, which will lead to you being able to walk a mile up a sloping hill next month. Then in two months you can go on an hour hike. Before you know it, a year will have gone by and you're tackling advanced hikes at national parks.

There is a certain cadence to achieving your goals, a rhythm of your activities that progress you daily towards your goal. For example, to achieve health and well-being, you have to watch your stress levels daily, make an effort to sleeping well every night, work out several times a week, and care about your mind and spirit as much as you do your body.

The motivation to reach your goal has to come from within you. You won't succeed if you're doing it to make someone else happy. Suppose you commit to getting up one hour earlier every day to add a fitness regimen into your busy schedule. To keep getting up instead of hitting the snooze button for that hour, your motivation has to come from deep inside you. Without that drive, you won't stick with it.

It is also a good idea to occasionally change things up so you don't fall into a physical or mental rut. Boredom is a goal killer. Routine is great, but too much of it kills its purpose and the passion for your goal.

Keeping your interest piqued will make it easier to stay motivated and keep working towards your goal. So learn how to cook some quick, easy meals that are both delicious and healthy. Learn a new skill or try a new activity, like boxing. Challenging yourself to any physical or mental activity keeps you eager to take that next bite and stay motivated for reaching your long-term goal. Just like a book is a series of individual pages, big goals are really the culmination of a series of small successful daily goals.

Magdalena is the owner of the "Be Fit Fit" Personal Training and Wellness Coaching Studio (www.befitfit.biz). Her "Be Fit Fit" blog can be read on www.verdenews.com

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