This is an excerpt from Active Living Every Day-3rd Edition by Steven N. Blair,Andrea L. Dunn,Bess H. Marcus,Ruth Ann Carpenter & Peter E. Jaret.
A journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step, as the Chinese proverb says. Short-term goals, in other words, are important if you want to go the distance. If your long-term goal is to walk an hour a day, five days a week, don’t expect to reach that goal all at once. A good short-term goal might be to walk for two 15-minute bouts on Saturday, Tuesday, and Thursday. Then gradually increase the number of minutes and the number of days per week that you walk. Short-term goals can be as brief as one day or several weeks. You can set your long-term goals for a month or two in the future.
For inspiration, let us share the story of a participant in Project Active. Like many high school athletes, Carlos tried to stay active after he started a career and family. Before long, however, he found himself watching more sports than he played. He felt out of shape and frustrated. Then Carlos saw an ad on television about Project Active, and he decided to join. He started by adding two-minute walks to his day and then added longer walks. Instead of his usual fast-food lunch, he packed his lunch and took a 20-minute walk.
Eventually, he set a goal of walking and running in his neighborhood three nights a week. Then he challenged himself to run a 10K race and, later, to play in a charity basketball event. He had some setbacks along the way—everyone does—but before long he made physical activity a regular part of his life again.
Use the My Goals form on page 36 to set a goal you intend to meet. Remember to be as specific as you can. Determine exactly how you will monitor your progress. Decide how far into the future your long-term goal should be. Some people set a one-month goal. Others prefer a longer goal, such as two months. You can also download a copy of this form from ALED Online.