IMAGINE WAKING UP ON JANUARY 1, 2021. YOU SECURE A CUP OF COFFE, TEA, SODA, GREEN SMOOTHIE, OR OTHER MORNING BOOST BEVERAGE and sit down to plan the day. There are the usual ‘housekeeping’ tasks to perform of course, which might include deciding what to eat, completing a personal hygiene routine, tidying up, and responding to recent communications. These are activities of daily living.
However, this being New Year’s Day, you might also venture out and buy a new calendar, find one online, or pull out a plain pad of paper/blank document and decide to begin scheduling the next month or quarter. There might be several regular general New Year resolutions, the ones made almost every year regarding healthy living, that need translating into actions. Or a special few fitness goals that you promised to make a dedicated effort to achieve.
There’s a big snag; Covid-19 is still around, and this January 1 previews a year that will continue to be much more complicated than ever before. Gym memberships may have been cancelled (or the gym shuttered), studio fitness sessions may be less accessible, or your budget for such splurges has shrunk or disappeared due to decreased work hours, layoffs, or other pandemic related shut-down restrictions. Or you may face filling in at home as full- or part-time schoolteacher or day-care provider for children who aren’t reliably going to attend school in person.
That morning, the first day of 2021 will be barely 6-12 hours old, and you might find yourself already discouraged by circumstances. The potential obstacles to improved physical fitness in 2021 are too many to cover here. The point is this: you may be defeated by them much earlier in the upcoming year than ever before. The solution may be to begin serious and specific planning now, in 2020, the year so many have declared they want to see behind them.
Earned-Runs encourages, as it has in previous years, the use of the last December week to formulate a MENTAL fitness and health plan for 2021. Start thinking about 2021 in 2020.
Decide now NOT to set New Year’s Day as the kick-off date for acting on hastily conceived resolutions. Instead, spend early January developing the specifics and finalizing the details of a manageable program which extends only through the end of the first quarter of 2021. Set a start date of January 9-10, a weekend.
Commit to begin planning NOW the fitness activities of January through the end of March 2021. In mid-March progress can be assessed, and goals can be reviewed and adjusted for the next quarter, April through June. And the process can be repeated for the third (July through September) and finally fourth (October through December) quarters.
Challenges to consider in this first NEW YEAR quarter can include long-view general goals that must by nature be followed through during the remainder of 2021, like starting to run, run/walk, or walk long distances, generally building strength or balance, or gaining/losing a certain amount of muscle/fat. The key is to transform vague dreams into concrete outcomes, by structuring a progression of daily/weekly/monthly/quarterly activities that move you closer to ultimate goals over a full year of four seasons.
A good first step is honestly assessing current (outside the hectic holidays) fitness activities and plan to build on them. Beware, it’s crazy easy to overestimate work performed and underestimate inactive time.
Need some goal setting ideas? The list below starts with lower expectations and progressively increases:
Consider using this last calendar week of December 2020 to mentally start planning New Year fitness and health resolutions. Hold off starting the clock on keeping them until you have a fully developed program, about a week into 2021 rather than January 1. Those who have the opportunity to enjoy down-time and are going to be relaxing can use it to research ideas in depth.
Avoid making a mistake at the end of 2020, one that could increase your risk of not following through on 2021 health resolutions. Begin investigating and devising a reasonable approach to improving fitness for the year, with detailed scheduling of only the first quarter.
Be ready to kick-off that plan after week 1 of January rather than day one, and enjoy the holiday with a light heart and firm resolution to succeed in 2021.
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
*Many runners and walkers dream of gaining glory by completing a marathon. Equally satisfying experiences can be had from finishing other distance races. An article from runnersworld.com reviews 10 marathon training programs. The developers also offer shorter distance plans, and some are free.
BRIDGE TO PHYSICAL SELF
Running, walking, and fitness activities enable us to experience our physical selves in a world mostly accessed through use of fingers on a mobile device.
EARNED RUNS is edited and authored by me, runner and founder. In 1978 I began participating in 10K road races before 5Ks were common. I've been a dietitian, practiced and taught clinical pathology, and been involved with research that utilized pathology. I am fascinated with understanding the origins of disease as well as health and longevity.
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