Developing a Plan of Goals for Your Walking Program
There's never anything wrong with dreaming big in any area of your life. However, no big dreams are ever reached unless smaller goals are put into place.
These small goals add up to reaching the bigger goal. Plus, when you break down your larger or long term goals into smaller ones, you achieve a "can do" mindset.
This is one of the ways that helps people achieve what some see as impossible dreams. For example, if you dream of taking part in a walking event that's 15 miles long, you can certainly have that dream.
But you wouldn't leave your house and walk 15 miles if you've never walked that distance before. Instead, you would break that 15 miles down by 3 or by 5 and you would gradually build up to it.
To go all out and attempt to walk 15 miles when you've never walked more than 2 is setting yourself up for possible injury and disappointment. This is one of the reasons that so many people set resolutions - which are really just goals by another name - and then don't meet those resolutions.
They set the goal too big and too broad. Goals need to be broken down and easily defined so that they can be easily attainable. If you set a goal to walk 60 miles in a week, you'd have to walk just over 8.5 miles a day every day to reach that goal.
If you're someone who's currently walking 40 miles a week, then that goal would probably be within your reach. But for someone who's currently walking just 2 miles for the entire week, that goal would be more difficult for you to reach.
Don't let your excitement over a walking program push you to over the edge of a goal that's reasonable for you to achieve. Think progressive instead of aggressive.
Aggressive goals are usually full of zeal and run on emotion versus planning. Look out for things that can sabotage your goal. These are things that you have to take into account that must be handled as you attempt your goal.
For example, if you plan to walk 6 miles every day without fail, but you have child care issues, that can throw off your time. Your goal should be something that's concrete and easy for you to state.
The more specific a goal is, the better it is. You should be able to state in your goal why you want to walk. Some people write down that they want to get healthy.
Others choose to write down weight loss or because they want to prevent possible health problems for the future. But vague goals don't help you be specific about why you're on a walking program.
Instead of saying that you want to lose weight (if that's your goal), write down instead that you want to lose 2 pounds a week. Or that you want to lose 20 pounds by losing 2 pounds a week.
Remember to set small goals that contribute to a larger one. This way, each time that you achieve one of your smaller goals, it helps motivate you to continue striving toward your long term goal.
A goal should also be something that you can measure. When you're able to measure how you're doing on your walking program, this can help pull you back if you start to slack off.
A goal with a measure can involve time or distance, such as being able to walk 10 miles in a week within four months of beginning a walking program. Your goal should be something that's within your reach.
If you set a goal that's impossible to reach because of extenuating circumstances, it will discourage you. For example, you might be someone who struggles with health problems that makes it difficult to lose weight as fast you'd like.
If this is something you have an issue with, then you want to be careful setting time limits on how fast you want to lose weight with your walking program. A walking program is a good way to lose weight, but it needs to have goals that work for you.
It might take you longer to reach your goals if you have a greater struggle than others, but that doesn't matter if you set goals that are right for you. You do want to set due dates on your goals.
This gives you a length of time that you can aim for to accomplish it. Otherwise, it's too easy to shrug off the goal and fall into the mindset that you can try again tomorrow.
By having due dates for your goals, it helps keep pushing you forward. To get started, decide your overall goal and then break it down. Take a chart and decide where you want to be as your final goal.
If that's to walk a certain number of miles in a year, then you know you need to break down that goal by monthly goals, and then further break it down by weekly, then daily goals.
You can create a calendar where you mark down each day's steps. This will help you because you'll have a visual reminder of the progress that you've already made.
So when motivation lags, and this does happen to everyone, you'll be able to use how far you've come to push yourself to keep on going. It will be helpful for you to see that at the beginning of the month, you started out with 2,000 steps - but by the end of the month, you're already up to 5,000.
This can be especially helpful if one of your goals during your program is weight loss and you don't feel as if anything is changing. This lets you see the positive steps you're making before you'll necessarily see any changes in your body.
What some people do is base a walking program on the number of steps that they take every day. This is a great way of achieving a long term goal, but it should still be broken down into smaller goals.
The more steps that you take every day, the greater the benefit that you'll gain from that. But what most people do is aim for a certain number of steps without actually knowing the best way to reach that goal.
They try to up their step level in a day or two. There's a better way. You need to start by figuring out the number of steps that you currently walk. You can do this by wearing a pedometer for 3 to 5 days.
At the end of your determined usage, you'll have the total number of steps that you average. Once you have that, divide by the number of days that you recorded the steps.
This will give you the actual amount of steps you take a day. This number is going to vary. Some days, you might walk 3,000 steps. Other days, you might walk 5,000 steps.
The key is to use the average amount that you walk per week and increase your percentage to get your 10,000 step per day goal. It may take you a few weeks to reach that count, but you can do it by slowly adding 20% to 30% increases each day.
So if you were walking 2,500 steps a day, add 500 steps if you're using 20% increases. When you add the 500 steps, you'll be at 3,000 steps. By adding 20% to that, you'll have an additional 600 steps - or 100 more than the 500 you just added.
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