Katie Burrows and Lamont Paris both had active childhoods. They were encouraged to get moving by having fun – whether through playing sports or imagining and creating games or activities.
Now, as UTC basketball coaches, they share a similar philosophy for motivating others – or themselves – to develop and maintain healthy habits. Both coaches agree that no matter who you are, or where you are in life, finding a sense of community – and leaning on that network for support – is at the heart of making progress.
Katie and Lamont recognize adulthood brings changes, and challenges, that have forced them to adapt. They’ve learned it takes flexibility to keep good health at the top of their to-do list.
So if you’re looking to set and achieve goals for better health, here are some things they say you should keep in mind:
1. Decide what your big picture looks like.
Everyone’s different. That doesn’t mean you can’t look to others for support or guidance, but it’s important to take a close look at your life to determine what success looks like for you. What are you already doing well and how can you build on that? What would you like to improve and why? Asking yourself these questions can help you focus your efforts in a way that makes sense for you.
“I know I can’t go out and run a mile in a really good time right now,” says Katie. “But to be able to be active with our kids is really important to me and my husband. I just want to feel good in my own skin and keep up with my kids – that and managing stress when life gets busy is all I’m looking for right now.”
Developing your core values for your well-being and keeping them in mind will help you stay motivated when change feels tough to accomplish.
2. Be realistic about your timeline.
Small changes can make a big difference over time, but staying motivated can be hard if it feels like you’re wasting your time. Remember, the bigger the goal, the longer you might need to get there, but incorporating smaller goals along the way might help you feel successful over time.
“I think it’s easy for us to see time as our enemy – that it goes by too quickly to make a change,” explains Lamont. “But if we’re patient with time, we can see the success it can bring us without having to be perfect when we get there. Gaining 25 pounds doesn’t happen overnight and losing it probably won’t happen that way either.”
Make time your ally and remember whatever target date you set, that day will come – there’s no stopping it.
So you’ll wake up that day on one of two timelines – one in which you didn’t do anything or one that you did.
3. Ask for help, guidance, or accountability.
Change isn’t always easy and knowing how to get started can seem overwhelming. So while creating your own vision for better health is a good first step, it’s important to seek out experts and resources in your community who can offer guidance or support when you need it.
“We get into the season and things get busy, so it’s challenging to stick to a consistent routine,” explains Katie. “And it’s also hard to find something I really enjoy that won’t tear my body up, but our strength coach gave me some suggestions that worked well for me so that’s been helpful.”
Finding a friend or family member who understands and supports what you’re trying to achieve can help you stay motivated and accountable to your goals.
4. Don’t forget to have fun.
Making healthy choices doesn’t mean you can’t have fun. If going to the gym by yourself doesn’t sound appealing, consider an activity that you can enjoy with your friends or family.
“I try not be completely restrictive,” says Lamont. “Finding enjoyment in what you’re doing can help you stay patient with your results. And if you keep doing these things because they’re fun, chances are you’ll start seeing those positive changes become permanent habits.”