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Making Fitness Goals

To help you identify and home in on your fitness goals, try this introspective writing exercise adapted with permission from Body After Baby: A Simple, Healthy Plan to Lose Your Baby Weight Fast by Jackie Keller:

Think about the positive impact exercise has had on your life in the past-or how you hope it might impact you now. Then, fill in the blanks in the following sentence:

If I _________, then I _________.
For example: If I start walking daily, then I'll have more energy and feel better about myself.

Now, take it to the next level...
If I _________, then I _________. (If I have more energy and feel better about myself, then I'll be happier about how I look.)

And then to the next...
If I _________, then I _________. (If I am happier about how I look, I'll have more confidence overall and feel happier about my marriage and being a mom.

Another example we can think of to help you get started:

If I eat a turkey sandwich with mustard, tomato and cucumbers for lunch, I won't crash and burn by 2pm.

If I don't crash and burn by 2pm, I can sneak in a 30-minute yoga video while the baby naps.

If I can sneak in a 30-minute yoga video while the baby naps, I'll feel energized and accomplished, and will be motivated to take a long afternoon stroll tomorrow.

As you move through each level, you'll get to discover what's truly motivating you. Once you've tapped into that drive -- whether it's more calm, more confidence or even just a smaller size -- start leaving yourself little notes to encourage your new healthier habits. If you're constantly frenzied, try posting "I need five minutes" on your phone as a reminder to take some deep breaths. If you need a confidence boost, tape a note to your bathroom mirror exclaiming "You're a great mom!" All of these steps can help you change a negative mindset and remind you to take care of yourself (not just your newborn), to listen to what your body is telling you and to cut yourself some much-deserved slack. Consider them love notes -- to yourself!

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