An inner athlete's manifesto.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Tuesday Tip--How to Turn October into "Goal-tober"

Because setting kickass goals is what I excel at, people.

Today marks the one month and three day countdown to the ING NYC Marathon, and for me, that means starting a month of sobriety so that I can run the race at my optimum performance. I'm okay with it--I actually think pumpkin beer tastes like battery acid with cinnamon. I'll hold out for the porters and stouts come November.

You don't have to promise yourself a "Sobe-tober", as I am doing, but October is actually a terrific month to do something to pave way for the holiday season. Here's why:

1. October can be a short month. It's okay to end whatever goal you pick on Halloween--in fact, I encourage it. If you start your goal tomorrow, you will still have 29 days of being awesome, and that is awesome enough.

2. Because it is impossible to set healthy goals in November and December...why not make October your golden month? This way, whatever happens from Thanksgiving through New Years is fair game because you were a little more strict with yourself  this month.

3.  Here's hoping that whatever healthy thing you choose to do can carry into as much of the holiday season as possible. October can set you up for success by helping you build healthy habits that even if you only continue for a few days into November, a few days here and there is better than nothing.

4. Literally speaking, October is a great month for assonance and alliteration, which makes goal setting easier. Why not have a "Veg-tober", a "Fit-tober", a "Bike-tober" get the idea. Any word with a hard "c" or "k" sound, a hard consonant sound, or any "o" sound just fits nicely into the place of "oct". You cannot do this with all months as smoothly as October, and you definitely can't do it with, say, March. (No-Meat-March is really the only good one).

Now that you have the reasons why to have your own Goal-tober, here's a few strategies for picking a goal that is doable and reasonable:

1. Pick something small. Even if your goal is to have Meatless Monday every Monday in October (which you can STILL do!), there is no goal too small. Small goals=reachable goals. Reachable goals lead to greater confidence.

2. Pick something that is not a pain in the ass to do. If you cannot get up early if your life depended on it and your building was on fire, then setting a goal of making a 6:30am spin class two days a week is not going to work. But you could research and find a class or two that you could make two nights a week.

3. Try to ADD something, as opposed to taking away. In today's society, we want more, more, more. Since that message is being drilled into our skulls constantly through social media, advertising, etc., word your goal with this in mind, and word it carefully. For example, instead of telling myself "no booze", I am telling myself that I want more tea, more water, more tart cherry juice, and more room for ice cream.

4. Remember the real benefits of your goal, rather than the struggle. If your goal is to find twenty minutes a day in your busy schedule to work out, and you're finding it to be a big hassle, take a step back and think of why you're really doing this for yourself. Remember that twenty minutes is going to help you sleep better at night so you don't waste time tossing and turning in the sack It will also relieve stress, which will help you make clearer decisions. It will also boost your metabolism, your confidence, etc. Fitting in 20 minutes a day, no matter how jam packed your day is, also makes you better at (drum roll)...time management! Yeehaw!

Good luck with your own "Goal-tobers", everyone, and below are just a few sample goals for the month.

Sample Goals:
Meatless Mondays
Stretch before bed every day (google 5 min stretch routines)
Add-in a healthy snack in place of 3pm coffee (almonds, yogurt, fruit, etc.)
A small, "Monday-Friday" goal (so you can have the weekend "off")
Four weeks, four different small goals (more veggies one week, more fruits next week, more activity third week, more sleep fourth week)
Cook something at home at least three nights a week
Pack a lunch three times a week
Switch up your normal exercise routine once a week
Invite a buddy to try something new--like rock climbing--once a week (use those groupons!)
Ten pushups every day
One minute of planking every day
Jumping jacks during commercials when watching your favorite sitcom
One night no TV and swapped with the gym/yoga/or boardgames (mental fitness is important, too!)
Dance while getting ready every day
Find a way to eat kale\
Eat seasonal veggies twice a week (squash, mushrooms, etc.)
Cook something with quinea once a week and use the leftovers as a snack
Drink a gallon of water each day
Walk on your lunchbreak
Swap one starbucks trip for a quick power walk
Get off your ass and volunteer! (mental fitness)
Swap your bagel for oatmeal
Eat breakfast
Find a healthier late night snack
Swap your potato chips for popcorn

etc,etc, etc.