Research shows that almost half of us will have given up on our New Year's fitness goals before it's even reached February. So here at Sundried we've come up with 10 ways we can make sure you don't give up on your goal, unless of course, it's because you've reached it!
Strength in numbers
Got a fitness goal? So do plenty of others. Setting up a training plan with a partner increases your chance of achieving your goal and makes your journey more fun along the way. Organising gym sessions and fitness dates together means you’re less likely to quit, as you have the extra motivation of not letting the other person down. With twice the motivation you’re twice as likely to succeed.
Set SMART Goals
SMART is a very familiar acronym in the world of Personal Trainers and it helps us develop fitness goals into almost a clear set of instructions, which gives them far more of a chance of success. Smart stands for, Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time. To make a goal SMART we look at it in relation to each of these area’s. Specifying your goal means making it clear exactly what it is rather than a vague idea, this way we can decipher whether you’ve achieved it or not with a yes/no answer. Eg, lose weight becomes lose 5% bodyfat. The next area to target is measurable, so this means instead of saying perhaps improve fitness, we’d day increase VO2 max. Achievable addresses whether your goal is far fetched or realistic, reflect upon whether you can actually make this happen. Next we address the relevance of the goal, by this what we’re talking about is whether the goal means something to you, or you’re following a trend, or a friends goals. If your goals are relevant to your lifestyle it’s far more likely to succeed than if you’re just following trend. The final part of a smart goal is the time frame, setting a goal within a specific timeframe can help to make it clear whether the goal has been achieved or not and can help you to monitor whether you are on track for your finishing date. Always set a timeframe.
Understand the stages of change
The stages of change are a way in which we can monitor whether or not you are actually ready to achieve your goal, before any major life change, we tend to go through phases of thought, which ultimately lead to our end goal:
Precontemplation: At this stage, we’re unaware of any change we need to make and the thought has not even crossed our minds. At this stage of change a result is very unlikely.
Contemplation: This is the stage where the idea is made, however you’ve not committed yourself, you’re simply considering what effort it would take to make the specific change and whether this is something you are prepared to do.
Preparation: This is the stage where you’ve decided that you will change a habit, starting next month. So if you’re thinking about your New Year’s resolutions now, this is probably you.
Action: This is the good part, here you are consciously making the effort to change your lifestyle and achieve your goal.
Maintenance: Perhaps the hardest stage of all, this is where you may have achieved your goal, but you need to work at it to ensure you don’t yo-yo back. Mentally and physically it is the hardest stage to be at, as we like to reward success, which can often lead to us dropping back in the cycle to the contemplation stage, understanding this cycle can help to avoid relapse.
Break it down
With fitness goals, the easiest way to make sure you achieve your goal is to break one main goal into smaller, easier targets. For example, a SMART goal of deadlift 100kg by March may mean aiming to increase your deadlift by 2.5kg per week. This makes the goal easier to digest on a day to day basis.
It seems all too easy to stay to achieve a goal you need to stay motivated, as we all know, sometimes it can be hard, really hard. In fact, it’s so tough I’m actually going to write an article all about how to stay motivated. Some of our top tips include: Follow fitness channels, try new moves, reward progress and rest when you need to.
How ready are you?
Following on from the stages of change, how ready are you to achieve your New Year’s resolution? Make sure you are ready to commit the time and effort to the goal before you set yourself up for a fail. If upon reflection you haven’t got the time for your initial goal, why not downsize it to something more manageable. Achieving one smaller goal is motivating and will encourage you to go for the next. Failing is never motivating and will almost always leave you wanting to give up. Don’t let that happen by making your goal something you know your ready to commit to.
Hold yourself accountable
Ever seen that show secret eaters? They proved that we eat far more than we actually realise when we record our eating habits. For health and fitness goals, hold yourself accountable. Keeping a food and exercise log will help you see clearly whether you're on the right track or not and makes it difficult to cheat yourself. I use MyFitnessPal and as much as it pains me, I record even my dirtiest cheat meals, so that I am honest with myself and can monitor my progress. You don’t have to show anyone, so you can be completely truthful.
Share your goal
With social media, sharing your goal is as simple and as easy as a few clicks and once you’ve announced your goal to the world, you’re far less likely to go back on it! Participating in #hashtagcampaigns can help you to connect with other people with similar goals and you can share tips and troubles to keep you motivated towards success along the way From progress pictures to Facebook groups, social media can be a great tool to achieving your New Year’s resolutions. According to a study published in Translational Behavioral Medicine, strong social circles can be very effective in combatting obesity and helping individuals succeed. When dieters participating in a weight loss study shared their plans and progress with others on social media, they lost more weight than those who kept their goals to themselves.
The easiest way to track your progress for a fitness goal is to grab yourself a fitness wearable, to me they are invaluable. Activity trackers pick up your daily movements as well as your workouts, making it easy for you to track data and see where you need to improve. Always keep a record of your starting point, be it a weight lifting PB, a run time or a starting weight, even if you are not happy with where it starts, you need to be able to see if you are progressing or not and so you’ll need a starting point.
Ask for help