Reshape your life: Get a goal and go for it

Alex Vietinghoff - Reshape your life (Tom Bateman/AQ)

This is my last column, and if there is one thing I hope people take away from it, it’s that you can achieve anything if you set goals.

Pick a goal for your health or fitness level, and decide when you want to achieve it by. Then all you have to do is plan how you’ll achieve it, and work toward it until it’s done.

I weighed 150 lbs from most of high school to this past summer. At six feet, I was pretty skinny. I set a goal to gain enough muscle mass to weigh 180 lbs by the end of the school year, and I achieved it. I ate a lot more protein, a lot of healthy foods, and gave myself time to sleep and recover after workouts.

If your goal is to burn off excess fat, pick a date when you want the corners of your abs to show. After that, consume less calories than you use during the day.

This means lots of exercise, and meals that fill you up with healthy proteins and healthy fats (eggs, nuts, beans, etc.) Your body will need as much energy as it can get if you’re eating less than you normally do.

Goals are powerful motivational tools, too.

Studies have shown that when you commit to a goal by telling friends about it, you’re a lot more likely to stick to it, because of the fear of failure in front of your peers.

It also helps to have a constant reminder.

Write yourself a note to put on your computer screen so you see it every day. Rather than approach your goal with the big picture in mind, focus on getting through each day. Say you’re quitting smoking or cutting out a certain food, just remind yourself you only have to make it to the end of that day. Then repeat the next day.

We all have some relapses; it’s perfectly natural, so don’t feel horrible about it. Just don’t let your relapse become a habit. The same goes for skipping a workout. It’s fine if you have to miss one once, but not if you’re missing that day every week.

Keep in mind that when you set these goals, you need to have a realistic timeframe. I knew that gaining 30 lbs of muscle couldn’t be done naturally in a couple months, so I gave myself eight months. At the same time, you don’t want to give yourself a goal that is too far away in the future. You might not spend enough time chipping away at it, or lose interest.

I want you all to set a goal for your health and fitness levels, no matter how impossible it may seem.

If another human body can do it, then it’s very likely that with the right training and motivation, yours can too. Once you make healthy modifications to your life, the rest will all fall into place over time.

Alex Vietinghoff is a certified ski instructor, works at the J.B. O’Keefe Fitness Centre and is currently studying to be a personal trainer through Fitness NB. He is also vice-president student life of the St. Thomas University students’ union. Questions or comments about his column? Contact him at

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