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Health And Wellness Goals Are Marathons, Not Sprints

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When it comes to setting health and wellness goals for yourself during the week, you may be surprised to learn that trying too hard in the short term can actually be quite detrimental to your overall progress. 

Sure, when you get fired up about getting healthier, you may feel like you want to go on a crash diet, begin some kind of crazy intense workout routine, or take some other extreme measure to get yourself on track. 

But all too often, such extreme measures naturally dissolve down into hardship and overwhelm. 

And guess what?

When this sets in, you’re going to be really, really tempted to go back to ‘normal.’ 

And without a clear plan and/or a sustainable course of action, you’re highly likely to do exactly that. 

You’re highly likely to default back to normal and give up on those super extreme goals. 

That’s kind of the nature of humans. 

We tend to get fired up with ambition and inspiration. But then, when the rubber hits the road, and we figure out how extremely difficult and miserable it is to stick with an extreme plan…

Well, our emotions win out. We give up. We eat a box of cookies and binge a show—and proceed to feel pretty horrible about our failure to make any progress.

But see, it’s also true that we’re not really being fair to ourselves when we operate like this. 

When you set unreasonably extreme expectations for yourself, you’re doing two different things that hurt you. 

  • You’re putting too much pressure on yourself
  • You’re not giving yourself the time you actually need to accomplish the goal

Therefore, it’s always more helpful to think of goals as marathons, instead of sprints. 

Making small daily changes that won’t have a massive impact on your emotions, feelings, or quality of life, but that will add up to big changes over time, is usually the key to succeeding at your most pressing health and wellness goals (like losing or gaining weight, controlling calorie intake, or getting enough exercise). 

Instead of trying to rewire your entire life structure at once, it always makes more sense to start small. 

Instead of trying to fit a 6-hour run into your day, every day, when you’ve never run for more than 5 minutes before—well, you may mean well for yourself. 

But in reality, this goal is probably going to do you more harm than good—because it’ll probably prove to be too much. Then, you’ll give up. Then, you’ll feel like a failure. 

So instead, commit to running for 5 minutes every day

When that starts to get easier, stretch it out to 10 minutes per day. 

Eventually, you’ll work your way up to an hour. 

And guess what?

That’s a whole 60 minutes per day more than you were running before—which adds up to 7 hours per week. 

Do you know how many calories that is?

If you manage to get up to the point where you’re running just one hour per day—you’ll burn somewhere in the neighborhood of 606 calories per day. 

That’s over a pound of fat burned every week, even if you don’t make any changes to your normal diet! 

See, it’s always better to think about health and wellness in terms of small, manageable steps. 

What good habit can you adopt today and stick with for the next 30 days?

Once you stick with it and you make that habit a regular part of your life, it’ll be time to move on and bring on another good habit. 

These small steps lead to big changes over time. 

And that’s really the key to making health and wellness progress in the long run.

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