How to set fitness goals and keep them

Nikki ParkinsonHealth 33 Comments

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My name is Nikki and I’m missing my regular exercise routine.

Yes, I don’t know who I am either.

On my recent holidays I was definitely active. I managed a couple of quick yoga sessions using an app on my iPad and we did some serious walking most days (hello 7km in one morning in Paris … just to get to THE Chanel store and to the Eiffel Tower for lunch) but my regular routine is calling me.

Arriving home with an unknown respiratory virus also set me back last week but this week, I’m back ON.

If you’ve been following along with my health story updates, then you’ll know that I really do mean business.

I also know that four weeks off the routine will make for a hard slog getting back on track.

You too may have been on holidays? Or the call of your doona has been too deafening on these super chilly mornings? Or you’re just not sure where to start to set fitness goals and keep them?

I’m not a personal trainer … but you knew that, right? 😉

I’m just an *ahhem* mature chick who’s tried to stick to an exercise routine many, many times over her adult years but without success … until digging deep two years ago when I realised that without prioritising my health, I would not be able to keep up with my increased workload in my business.

Here are my five simple tips for how to set fitness goals and keep them … from one woman to another. From a woman who’s been where you may be now. I hope that at least one of them gives you the motivation to set fitness goals now (in winter) that will be habits by the time that summer arrives.

Remember, they don’t have to be big goals, just goals you know you can be consistent at maintaining.

5 simple tips to set fitness goals and stick to them

Female for Life Lovely and Loose top | Sunset pants 

1. Talk to your GP before your start. I don’t want this to be a stumbling block for you but it really is important to have a full health check-up. My GP has been very much a guide for me in the type of exercise (and frequency) that I can do with my Hashimoto’s autoimmune condition.

2. Think about what types of exercise you enjoy. If the answer is none, I’m laughing with you too, but trust me if you can somehow marry what you enjoy with an exercise or activity then you’re more likely to stick at it. For me, it was a combination of the suggested exercise types from my GP (yoga and walking) and giving it a go. I’ve always loved walking – it’s meditative for me – and a chance to check out other people’s houses. Yoga is a more recent obsession. I love how strong it makes me feel and how it calms my mind. You may be more a marathon runner or spin-class lover.

Female for Life Ciara top and bottom

Female for Life Ciara top | Ciara pant

3. Map out the times in your day/week that you can schedule for exercise. This was a big one for me. It is way easier now that we are no longer a commuting family. I used to have a small window very early in the morning before my husband started his commute; evenings were out as he wouldn’t get home until late. After playing around with all my “spare” time last year after our move to Brisbane, it quickly became apparent that exercising in the morning was best for me and our new family schedule. Evenings placed stress on my husband to get home from work to tag-team the parenting. Mornings mean I’m done, dusted and set up for the day. I also maximise the time my son spends at swim squad twice a week and walk while he’s churning out the laps. If it were a public pool, I’d swim while he swims.

4. Work out your “why”. I can honestly say this has been the main reason why I’ve been able to create a fitness goal plan and stick to it. I really do want to wake up each day feeling the best that I can, knowing I’ve done as much as I can to help create that feeling through regular exercise and a diet that suits my condition and subsequent metabolism. Sure, I’m only human, and the call of the Champagne on a Friday afternoon is usually a loud one, but 90% of the time I’ve got my eye on the WHY.

5. Create a fitness wardrobe that makes you feel fabulous. An old t-shirt and a saggy and baggy pair of leggings are less likely to motivate you than active wear that fits, flatters and is supremely comfortable to wear. More on that below.

Female for Life active wear

Female for Life Chillax top (black) | Bengal pants

Your fit-robe

As brand ambassador for Female for Life, I’ve been exclusively wearing this label for almost 12 months now. Even before that pieces from this range very much dominated my fit-robe.

I love that Female for Life offers a size range of 6-24. I love the quality fabrics that have been used in designs that flatter. I love that the pieces are comfortable to wear. To me this is crucial – you do not want to feel uncomfortable while you are in a downward dog position or powering up a hill. You want to feel amazing in what you’re wearing.

Here is an example of a starter capsule fit-robe from Female for Life that will work for you across a range of different activities. The only thing I’d add is a supportive underwire sports bra to suit your bust size. I need one for walking but for yoga I prefer a non-underwire crop like the one pictured so twists and bends are not uncomfortable.

Create a fit-robe for all fitness activities | Female for Life | #loveyourbody180

1. Pilates-style top | 2. Chillax Grey top | 3. Ocean pants | 4. Solero pants | 5. Smart sports jacket | 6. Blaze sports bra top

Special offer

Female for Life has just had a revamp of its online site – check it out here. It’s super user-friendly and easy to navigate to create a fit-robe of your own. You can also now shop by activity, shape and size to enable you to make quick choices.

Female For Life currently is offering a “buy two pieces, get the third free” special deal on its seasonal pieces. Shop HERE.

Want to stock up on the basics? Enter the code nikkilovesffl (valid until Friday July 31) at checkout to receive a 15% discount on your basics order. Shop HERE.

So tell me, if you’ve got great fitness goals in place, what advice do you have for others looking to get on track in the exercise department? What’s your favourite way to exercise?

Comments 33

  1. I’m trying to get my old running pace back after a long break. Instead of taking it slow I expect to be able to jump back in at the same fitness level I was at my peak. Time to be a bit more realistic I think. Thanks for the reminder. Bron x

  2. moderation and consistency, she says to convince herself. A life long daily exerciser, yet still need a boot in the pants to change things up a bit every now and then. Love yoga and walking, fit in some TRX classes because strength training is good for you. I do think a new fitness wardrobe might be the key to renewed enthusiasm, love the ocean pants above. x

  3. Great tips! I recently ventured into a barre class and, while it’s a real physical challenge for me, I’m really enjoying it! Next step is to update my fit-robe, now that I know this is going to stick 🙂

  4. Just wondering what the sizing is like? I fit into generous 10s (eg Sussan)… or is sizing regular and I’d be better with a 12? Thanks

  5. This is great Nikki. I’m really struggling at the moment. And when I say struggling I mean NOT DOING AN EFFING THING! I’m not even walking as I’m carrying so much weight I get shin splints in about 5mins. I can’t believe I was gymming 4-5 days a week when I arrived here and now it’s come to this. Argh!

  6. I don’t love exercise either but I’ve found a couple of PT sessions a week at the same time, a few days apart has been maintainable for a couple of years now. I prefer to go in the morning too before I get showered/ready for the day. x

  7. I love your tips small, sustainable and consistent steps are the way! Also doing things you enjoy! And finding a workout buddy or class/group of people that egg you on and keep you accountable!

  8. Love this post Nikki, thank you, once again for sharing. And the capsule wardrobe is great.
    I am a member at my local Fernwood gym, which I love, as it is just all women!
    My favourite class is Body Pump, so motivating and makes me feel stronger each and every time.
    Being a bigger lady with an E cup bust, I was finding it very difficult to find a sports bra that fitted well and was comfortable. One day we had an instructor that was more shaped like me than the usual, YAY!
    So after class I asked her if she would mind sharing where she gets her sports bras from…and low and behold it was Mary Holland lingerie. There is a store at my local mall, but having seen all the lacy sexiness in the window, I had never ventured in, as I just saw it as a “petite large” store (one where their “large” is actually a real life small) But my instructor let me know that I should certainly venture in…so I did and was pleasantly surprised by how helpful the girls were, and how much range there is there for a voluptuous lady like me! I even ended up leaving with a sexy bra and knicker set 😉 But the sports bra which was recommended to me was the Panache. It is AWESOME! I will never go back. This bra locks those boobies down, they won’t move a centimetre, its comfy and is designed for you to be able to move freely while exercising. I can’t recommend it highly enough.

    Apologies for the length of my reply.

    xx Manda

    1. Oh that’s just awesome Manda and thanks so much for sharing with us – I know it will help others with girls that need locking down and strapping in for exercise! Love that you have found a formula that works for you too, exercise wise.

  9. good on you nikki!
    holidays always change things!
    I just keep moving constantly! but my daughter goes to zumba and pilates/yoga and boxing! said I could go with her! … ahem! … maybe! I do dance and incidentals are my favourites!;0 … but always yoga and we walk a lot! we will be walking all over the sunshine coast and Brisbane soon! … and eating Morton bay bugs! … helloo! enjoy your day hun! love m:)X

  10. It was only two weeks ago that a neighbour asked me if I met my husband doing some kind of exercise, because they see us being active together so often. Which is hilarious to me, because I only started exercising when I wanted to look great in my wedding dress. Now however it’s very much a habit.
    These days my routine is to do a mixture of cardio and strength training at the gym 4 times a week. Then we walk 6.5 kms twice a week around Blackwattle and Rozelle Bays- with a coffee as the treat at the end. I would very much like to get back into pilates but I’m not beating myself up about that.
    My goal is to move everyday, so if all I manage is to walk for 15-20 minutes at lunchtime, that’s job done. For years I have always told myself I only have to go to the gym for 5 minutes and if at the end of that time I’m hating it, I can leave- but once I’m there I always work through for at least 3/4 hour. So my tip would be to just start and do something: don’t wait for the perfect time or weather or week, it won’t come.
    Good habits are just as easy to develop as bad ones.

  11. I just love yoga and Pilates, so good for strength, calm and focus. I would say find the right instructor, somewhere close by and wear great workout wear that fits, is comfy and has a few bells and whistles. I’m a sucker for hidden pockets, ties and great prints…just motivates me.

  12. That’s great Nikki, you are doing so well and can I say you are glowing since you have taken up yoga!
    I do incidental walking a little bit of tai chi stretches and yoga stretches but that’s all I’m allowed,hopefully after my neck operation and I’ve healed I may be able to undertake some sort of exercise routine.I think whatever exercise you do should be something you love,then you will stick to it and enjoy it Xx

  13. Umm oh I hear you Nikki!! After a month in Europe of complete food/wine indulgence I need to get back in my exercise routine. I woke up this morning and thought right today it is & ironically looked at SY & saw your latest blog – therefore it must be a sign right?? My motivation is a big one. I’m doing 60km walk over two days in November for End Women’s cancer weekend for Chris O’Brien Lifehouse which is a charity close to my heart. So enough typing and once kids are off to school I’m going …. !!

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