Recently I made an attempt to create a four week workout program for the staff at the hospital where I work. I called it the 4×4 fitness challenge (you can check it out by clicking here) because it was four workouts each week for four weeks – clever, huh? The reason for the challenge was to emphasize the importance of setting clear goals that are measurable in order to be successful with exercise. I have gone into more detail about this in a prior post that you should check out called The Importance of Measuring. I think that my experience with this challenge illustrates why having clear, measurable goals is so important.
I had finished three weeks of the challenge and was doing well. I had improved my time every week. Then came week four. Week four would have to be done in California while I was on vacation. We’ve all been there. Vacation rolls around and we are overwhelmed with a long list of really good reaons why we don’t need to exercise. Hey, we’re on vacation, right? Feel free to substitute all of life’s happenings that can be excuses not to exercise for vacation. Hey, it’s Friday. Hey, it’s been a tough week at work. Hey, I successfully tied both shoes this morning. Yadda yadda. I am definitely a sucker for this.
So there I was basking in the beautiful California sun thinking to myself, Hey, I’m on vacation… Then I realized that I was in the middle of the challenge. I had set a goal and I wanted to finish what I had started. Furthermore, since the goal of the challenge was to improve my time week to week, I didn’t just want to get through the workouts, I wanted to get better. I did all four workouts in between trips to the beach and the pool (I even did some next to the pool) and it turned out I had my best of the four weeks. Not only that, but I felt so much better after working out that I had a better time on my vacation.
If I didn’t have the goal of completing the four week workout I would not have worked out at all. If that goal did not involve some sort of measuring, I would have never pushed myself as I did. These two things, having a goal or plan and having it involve measurable outcomes are the key to success with exercise. If you don’t know where to begin when starting on your fitness journey, start with these two things, stick with your plan (even on vacation), and you’ll do great. Good luck!