Should You Even Be Setting Health Goals Now?

Last week, I wrote about some things that were working for myself and my clients as we all learn to acclimate and navigate our lives due to limitations with quarantines and the virus.

This week, I want to touch on the kind of goals worth setting during a time like this.

Something I’ve made a point to mention over each passing week is the fact that certain people can take our current set of circumstances and truly thrive when it comes to weight loss goals. For these people, they have just enough predictability in their schedule and routines and very little distractions or chaos to slip them up.

For others, chaos is the new norm. There is the fear and uncertainty of how long this will all last as well as the adjustment of family dynamics when many are spending time with their loved ones and children far more than they had before crisis hit.

My friend, fellow coach and podcast host, Heather Robertson of Half Size Me, recently made a comment on her show about the notion of thinking of your future self. In other words, maybe now is a time that you think your goals for your health need to go on the backburner. Heather offered an affectionate alternative. Think about your future self and where you want your health to be when things begin to resume some semblance of normal again.

Do I think things will go back to the way they were prior to March 2020?

No. Not for a while and not the way we’re used to.

However, that’s not a doom and gloom statement. I think we will be reevaluating the importance of our health and the way we engage with others in close proximity for quite some time.

I was speaking with one of my clients on our weekly coaching call last week. While she has been doing an excellent job of keeping up with her training while at home, her diet has been less than spectacular.

Many foods she normally has no problem moderating in her diet are now being consumed in copious amounts. Much of this has to do with not just heightened anxiety with what’s happening in the world but the fact that she is around this food all day long being at home (as opposed to being at her office where it wasn’t readily accessible).

I reminded her that what she’s going through she isn’t alone with. Many of my clients are in exactly the same position. One thing I asked her to consider was just trying to focus on maintaining her weight right now. That may be all of the effort and time she can place on herself without shutting down completely.

I do think that now is a great time to focus on other goals though. I noticed after we were ordered to temporarily close RevFit down, that my daily step count went from about 15,000 steps a day to barely 5,000. That’s a huge decrease. I now make it a point to close the gap and get myself closer to 10,000 so I can keep my body moving as much as possible even though it’s not on the training floor.

So, here are some goals (in no particular order) I’d like you to consider that you feel you can implement right now:

  1. Add in a workout. No matter where you with your current training plan, look at where you can increase it. We’re not looking at things like from 1 workout per week to 5. We’re looking at 1 workout per week to 2, 2 workouts per week to 3. Ideally, you want to space your workouts so that you have ample time to recover. This won’t always be the case. If you absolutely have to train two days in a row, go for it. Otherwise, spread the days out so you have a day of recovery (or light cardio) in between days of resistance training.
  2. Set a water goal. During normal life, many of my clients struggle to get in enough water. Now is a really great time to change that. Similar to my thoughts on training, you’re not necessarily going from 20 ounces a day to 120 ounces. If you’re starting with 20 ounces, try doubling it and going for 40 ounces. Stay there for a couple of days and add in another 20 ounces. Try not to get the majority of your water intake towards the end of the day (otherwise you’ll be dealing with the issue of interrupted sleep).
  3. Reduce your news/social media exposure. With frequent updates on both state and federal levels, there is absolutely no shortage of news which means there is no shortage of stressful and anxiety provoking stimuli. For myself, I don’t watch any news at all. I skim headlines and I find one or two sources of information that don’t make my skin crawl. If you were to guess on the amount of time you spend taking in mindless social media scrolling or news watching, make a goal to reduce it in a quantifiable way. Maybe you limit yourself to 15 minutes (set a timer) each day to get what you need and get off. Limiting the things that make you anxious or stressed can do worlds of good for your mindset right now.
  4. Purge, purge, purge. We could all take a page from a Marie Kondo style of living. There’s certainly an upside to it even if you don’t go to her extents. Purge your fridge, your pantry, your freezer, your closet, your attic, the guest room you keep saying you’ll get to, the subfolders in your email, your car, your garage, etc. If you want to sell something, sell it. If you want to throw it away, do so. Occupy your mind and your hands so you’re not thinking about the plethora of other things that might be leading to your stress levels. One thing most of us seem to have an abundance of right now is time. Use it. Wisely.
  5. Set a recovery/rest goal. I mentioned the abundance of time. I actually have several clients who are extremely busy right now. The pandemic has not decreased their workload, rather they are busier now than ever. In that case, and for individuals like that, I would set 1-2 days (or half days) as rest/recovery/self-care days. No work, no exercise (unless stretching is relaxing), no stressful environments. Take that time to do your nails, take a bubble bath, read a book or take a nap. Do the things you don’t normally do because you’re already busier than you can handle. Take the time to decompress.
  6. Slow your pace. This is one that affects me personally. I have always been a painfully fast eater. It stems back to the years I spent in retail when I wasn’t sure I would get a proper break and I would spend 5 minutes standing and wolfing food down as fast as possible. I haven’t worked in retail in 12 years and I still have an issue with this. Over this past weekend, despite always knowing better, I practiced putting my fork down in between bites. I actually spent time chewing and tasting and smelling and just experiencing food rather than inhaling and swallowing faster than my system could catch up with me. The added bonus for those who need it? This can be a fantastic way to cut back on calories consumed because your body can register fullness better. Make a goal of slowing your eating pace down each day. Don’t eat in front of screens (TV or phone) if you can help it.
  7. Set a goal for gratitude. No matter how this pandemic has affected you, if you’re reading this blog right now, chances are you have things pretty good: a roof over your head, food to eat, internet to use, and a life worth being grateful for. Write down daily the things you’re thankful for. Refer back to them as often as possible. Many of us are aware, especially now, that others are in a more dire position than we are. Be grateful for what you have, how you have it and why it matters.

Below is a shot taken of our clients well before the virus hit. Ending this blog with a note on gratitude, I know I’m thankful we still get to train these folks virtually. We are all working with similar degrees of “less than ideal.” We’ll come out of this better for it.

(L to R: Brandon, Kelvin, Jean, Adam, Charlie, Eric and Anthony)

“We Make Great People Greater”