As we leave 2019 behind and head towards a new decade in 2020, this is the perfect opportunity for a more detailed analysis of your health and fitness goals, not only for the coming year but for the entire decade ahead.
Many years ago now, a friend and colleague revealed to me that he was 4 years into his "10 Year Health Plan". Initially, I was quite amazed as I was used to setting goals with a 1, 2 or even 3-year timeline, so 10 years seemed just a bit too organised for me. Now, as a huge fan of mindfulness, I'm all for living in the moment however after considering the benefits he received from his plan, I became convinced of the advantages. There are some things in life you really don't want to leave to chance!
Why Do I Need A 10 Year Health Plan?
As maintaining our health and fitness is something that requires gradual and consistent efforts, you don't want to wake up one day and realise you are failing to maintain your health and rapidly heading in the wrong direction to where you would like to go. It's similar to setting a savings goal of having 1 million dollars in your bank account after 10 years. You need to have both an investment and savings plan in place to achieve your goal. For the majority of people, consistent effort throughout the 10 years would be required to achieve the goal. You wouldn't wait until the last 6 months of the 10 year period to start thinking about acquiring a million dollars and its exactly the same principle for your health and fitness. A consistent and gradual effort is required for optimal results.
What Do I Include In My Plan?
Begin by looking at the end goal. In 10 years from now, how old will you be? What level of health would you like to enjoy at this age? What are your current hobbies, sports or activities that you currently enjoy that you still want to be able to enjoy in 10 years' time? What do you need to do to be able to achieve this? The main aspects to focus on are diet, movement/exercise, sleep, mental health and physical wellbeing. Each of these areas is very broad so it's important to look at each category individually. Assess where you are currently and identify areas for improvement so you can achieve the best results possible for yourself. For example, if you love hiking holidays and can't imagine a future without them, look at what you would need to do to be able to continue experiencing these holidays. Another example is sleep quality. Poor sleep quality has been linked with numerous health issues, so if you know you aren't getting enough sleep or quality sleep take steps to regulate this and consult a professional if necessary.
How Do I Construct The Plan?
Write down your major health goals starting with your overall goal, then yearly, weekly and daily goals. This may sound a little daunting but it is much more manageable than it sounds. When you have evaluated the categories listed above, make a list of the areas where you need to improve and then set a goal for each one. Refer to your plan regularly to make sure you are on track. For example, you may choose Pilates for your movement and exercise category to assist with your goal of being strong enough to continue the hiking holidays you enjoy. Decide how many sessions you will need to do per week and whether you will practice at home in addition to your studio or private sessions. Schedule these sessions as you would any other appointment. If a home practice is part of your plan, take the free 10 day trial of JS Mind Body Pilates Online now and you can start straight away. The same principle applies to practice hikes. Schedule challenging hikes regularly so you are in peak condition for your holidays, reducing the chance of injuries and increasing your endurance. Once you have your plan, practice self-integrity so that you keep your promise to yourself to reach that end goal you have chosen. It's normal to lose momentum sometimes or have unexpected setbacks, but always return to your plan and keep that end goal in sight.
Taking the time to invest in your own health and fitness really is one of the best investments you can ever make. By maintaining your health and fitness as a priority you will also be extremely well placed to deal with any unexpected injuries, illnesses or accidents that you encounter during that time, making your recovery so much easier. So, as we ring in both a new year and a new decade, set aside some time somewhere quiet where you can reflect, to construct your personalised 10 year health and fitness plan. 10 years from now you will be very glad you did!
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