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
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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