Small goals = big suc­cess

REACH FOR THE STARS... SLOWLY COSMO’S HOTTEST WORK­OUT TRENDS THE SHOCKING SUGAR-COATED TRUTH BUST OUT OF YOUR EX­ER­CISE RUT

Cosmopolitan (Australia) - - Contents -

Go­ing af­ter big, new goals (like, say, run­ning a marathon, quit­ting junk food or learn­ing to speak Span­ish) may be de­sir­able… but it’s also daunt­ing and you’re more likely to give up. Your solve: mi­cro-goals. Set­ting su­per­s­mall, stupidly achiev­able ob­jec­tives is the key to rock­ing your 2018 life tar­gets. Quickly mak­ing progress, even if it’s in baby steps, is more mo­ti­vat­ing than achiev­ing some­thing ma­jor, ac­cord­ing to a re­cent study in the Jour­nal of Ap­plied Psy­chol­ogy.

BIG FAIL Be asleep by 10pm ev­ery night. SMALL WIN Get up at roughly the same time ev­ery day.

Let’s be real: sleep is ev­ery­thing. But not ev­ery­one’s in­ter­nal body clock al­lows them to conk out at 10pm on the dot, says sleep spe­cial­ist Michael Breus, au­thor of The Power of When. If your nat­u­ral cir­ca­dian rhythm doesn’t align with a cer­tain strict bed­time, you’re set­ting your­self up for fail­ure. Go­ing hard and forc­ing your­self won’t help.

A smaller, eas­ier hack is to set your alarm for around the same time each morn­ing. ‘The mo­ment you open your eyes, light turns off the faucet in your brain that con­trols the sleep hor­mone mela­tonin, and that helps you wake up,’ ex­plains Breus. ‘And when you al­ways get up at the same time, your body will fall into a rhythm that will help you feel sleepy at a con­sis­tent time each night.’ Start with the week­days and then even­tu­ally rise and shine at the same time on week­ends, too. Do­ing this will help keep your new snooze sched­ule on fleek all year long.

BIG FAIL Live at your stand­ing desk. SMALL WIN Walk for 30 min­utes a day.

You’ve prob­a­bly heard be­fore that con­stant sit­ting is worse for your well­be­ing than smok­ing. How­ever, com­mit­ting to be­ing on your feet 24/7 isn’t the an­swer. ‘Stand­ing for eight hours straight isn’t that much bet­ter than sit­ting for that long, since your body still isn’t mov­ing much,’ says cer­ti­fied per­sonal trainer Krista Stryker, founder of 12 Minute Ath­lete.

Bet­ter: Ditch your too­in­tense goal and go on a mis­sion to walk around for 30 min­utes ev­ery day. ‘This can make a huge dif­fer­ence in your health by get­ting you out­side and mov­ing,’ says Stryker. There’s no need to knock out the full 30 min­utes all at once; walk­ing to the supermarket, tak­ing a post­din­ner stroll and cruis­ing around with your pup can all add up, says Stryker.

If 30 min­utes starts to feel too easy (you over­achiever, you), then set your next bench­mark at one hour, and get mov­ing first thing in the morn­ing, dur­ing your lunch­break and af­ter din­ner to hit your mark.

BIG FAIL Med­i­tate twice daily. SMALL WIN Do a few fiveminute guided ses­sions per week.

Med­i­ta­tion – es­pe­cially sans guid­ance – can feel be­yond frus­trat­ing or just straight­up im­pos­si­ble. So, start with briefer tri­als, and en­list some help. Apps like Sim­ple Habit and Med­i­ta­tion Stu­dio (both avail­able from iTunes and Google Play) of­fer tu­to­ri­als for in­ner peace, en­abling you to boost your calm in short bursts. Ev­ery lit­tle bit counts, says Kress. Low­er­ing your heart rate for five min­utes re­duces your stress hor­mones. And by kick­ing off your om habit in a small way, you’ll learn the skill with­out get­ting restless, slowly build­ing up your tol­er­ance for longer ses­sions.

BIG FAIL WORK OUT EV­ERY DAY. SMALL WIN EX­ER­CISE 90 MIN­UTES A WEEK.

Be­sides be­ing un­re­al­is­tic (some days you #JustCant), working out daily is bad for your bod. It pre­vents mus­cle re­cov­ery and ramps up your risk for in­jury, says cer­ti­fied per­sonal trainer Anna Victoria, cre­ator of The 12 Week Fit Body Guides. To get af­ter your goals with­out go­ing HAM, start with 45 min­utes of car­dio and 45 min­utes of strength train­ing per week. You can combo the ses­sions into 90 min­utes or break ’em up over two days. You’ll see results, even if you’re cur­rently do­ing nada, says Victoria. ‘Start­ing small makes hit­ting the gym eas­ier to fit into your sched­ule and gives your body time to ad­just. If you’re con­sis­tent, those work­outs will add up.’

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