No excuses

Tips for getting your fitness plan on track

- January 24, 2008

Christine Darrah gets some positioning tips from Anne Leblanc, a personal trainer at Dalhousie's Athletics and Recreational Services. (Nick Pearce Photo)

It’s the time of year when we decide to make changes in our lives and getting fit and healthy is atop many resolution lists. This is a tough one, but it is possible to accomplish your resolution, so long as you are ready for the change. Much like writing a business plan for a new venture, making a “fitness plan” will be crucial to your success.

Mission statement

Write a mission statement for yourself. Something like: “Fit for life,” “Just do it,” “Healthy living is a daily goal for the rest of my life,” or “I will treat my body with respect.” It doesn’t need to be complicated. Make a statement that defines what you want to accomplish or who you want to be. Put it on a card, laminate it and put it in your wallet photo section. Use it as a daily reminder that motivates you to keep going.

Needs assessment

Now you need to figure out what your body needs. Do you need to make nutritional changes, start a fitness plan, figure out how to get more sleep at night or deal with your tobacco addiction? Brainstorm an exhaustive list of what you think would make you a healthy person. You may also want to seek out a professional assessment of your health.

Now plan

Now take your list and take action! Create a timeline of when you are going to tackle each item. Do not try to deal with them all at once because that can be very overwhelming. Choose dates when you’ll begin to tackle each action item, and then decide what help you will need. Will you buy a book, look for a good website, hire a professional or do you already have the knowledge to get started? Your fitness journey is now laid out for the next day, month, year and beyond. Keep your fitness plan somewhere handy and refer to it often.


Set an evaluation date every month to review what is working and what is not. Determine if there are any barriers to tour success and how you will break them down next time. This can be done weekly too, maybe a quick 5 to 10 minutes every Friday to see what has been accomplished. Evaluation is very important and maybe you ask someone to do this for you. Why do you think the life coaching profession is growing in leaps and bounds?

Reward yourself

Plan some fun rewards for accomplishing the goals you have set. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this just don’t always make it about food.

Other tips

  • List physical activities you enjoy and choose from this for your daily exercise.
  • Be conscious of what goes in your mouth. You choose whether you will succeed or not.
  • There are a million excuses and “I am too busy” is not a good one. You will always be busy, so make the time and “just do it.”
  • Believe in yourself.
  • Enjoy the process.
  • Stay positive during plateaus, they will happen, so be mentally prepared for this.
  • Talk positively about your plan — do not see it as a burden.
  • Hire a trainer, life coach or nutritionist to help.
  • Book your activity in your day planner, Meeting Maker or whatever you use and let nothing take its place.
  • Find a coworker or friend who is interested in the same activities and use the buddy system.
  • Talk to your supervisor and discuss how you can make it fit into your workday.
  • Join a gym close to your place of work or home. (Hint, hint — Dalplex!)

Remember, your health is very important; unfortunately for many people, it takes a health scare before they make a change for the better. Don’t be one of those people — get started today.

Here is a recap: make a plan, get help, see this as a long-term life process and stay positive about it. We wish everyone success either sticking with or starting their business, err, we mean, fitness plan!

Darren Steeves is the fitness coordinator and Anne Leblanc is a personal trainer with Dalhousie’s Athletics and Recreational Services.


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