Currently, things are a little different than what they once were in relation to our daily structure. We're used to having structure in our relationships, work, play time, nutrition and sleep. How are you coping with the lack of structure in the past year?

Kids have been in and out of school, you may be chopping and changing your workspace or you might have no daily routine which makes it difficult to plan for some self-care or downtime. Maybe, you’ve got your ducks in a row but sometimes that constantly varied environments can make that weekly structure difficult and it can impact your goals negatively. Your favourite exercise class may be closed or your training buddy might not be around with current restrictions, but that doesn’t mean you can’t keep up your exercise routine.

Goal Setting:

Setting new goals can be important in order to keep pushing yourself forward. Setting goals in the right way allows us to see progress and not get frustrated or disappointed. Below are some tips that can help you stay accountable and structure goals so they are achievable in these current times.

  • Keeping it specific is important so you know exactly what it is you want to achieve e.g. I want to maintain my weight over the next four weeks and I want to increase the amount of daylight I get each week
  • Make your goal measurable so that you can celebrate the wins and look for areas to improve e.g. I want to increase my daylight by 2 hours per week (setting a weekly metric to hit)
  • Make them achievable and realistic. If you have to work for 12 hours a day Monday to Friday and you say you set a goal to exercise for 2 hours a day it may not be conducive with that goal considering your work schedule
  • Set a time frame when you set the goal in order to stay focused and disciplined
  • Writing your goal down and keeping track of your progress can also be beneficial. This can act as a source of motivation when looking back and seeing the improvements you make.

Self-Talk

Can be another important tool for performance. How talking to yourself both inside and outside your exercise environment can have a dramatic effect on your performance and mood in relation to your goals. Two types of self-talk can help you stay motivated and keep you accountable.

  • Instructional self-talk
    Effective when working on improving skills and habits in your daily routine. Ask yourself questions throughout the day to keep you accountable e.g. “have I drank any water in the past hour?”
  • Motivational self-talk
    Can be effective on a daily basis. It can help when building confidence toward a specific goal. Tell yourself what you can do to today to achieve that goal you have set

Imagery

The use of mental imagery is another popular tool used in sports psychology in order to improve performance. Visualizing in our minds eye can be an effective way to prepare for a situation before it has played out. 

Goal - Get an additional 2 hours of daylight per week

Apply it in the first person perspective – Imagining how you want to act from a first person perspective. Experiencing the situation from your own eyes as if it was actually happening. This can be an image of a sunny day walking in your local beach/park.

Making it realistic – Imagining a realistic situation is important. The closer your imagery is to the real situation, the better your mind will be prepared to do the task at hand.

Focus on process, not just results – Imagining the whole process is important and not just the outcome. Preparing yourself to act the right way and make the right decisions is key.

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The final point that can help in improving both in exercise and in day to day life is to constantly remind myself that comparison is the thief of joy. We are all on different journeys and at different stages. Whether it's in our physical/mental health or in our day to day of living. If you allow comparison to rule your life, then there will always be someone new in your life that you’ll end up comparing yourself too. Don’t compare yourself to others! Just embrace your journey whatever that is.

The world is filled with pessimism. Take a minute to focus on gratitude to help you find perspective in eliminating negative thoughts. Focus on being the best version of you!

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