Set up for Success : How to make your New Year goals achievable
2016 has struck and it’s safe to say it's brought with it an influx of New Year’s resolutions, from lose 3lbs to run a marathon; however large or small your fitness goal may be, if it’s S.M.A.R.T, it’s sure to succeed.
As a Personal Trainer I’m used to hearing “I want to lose weight”, “ feel fitter” or “eat healthily” with every January that passes. Whilst all these are fantastic New Year’s resolutions, we need to dig a little deeper into what we are truly aiming for to guarantee New Year’s 2016 is nailed. To do this we’ve got to make our resolutions S.M.A.R.T.
So what is a S.M.A.R.T goal ?
To make a goal S.M.A.R.T we break it down until we know exactly what it is we want. This way we can plan specifically what needs to be done to smash our target, because we all know ‘planning and preparation prevents a poor performance’, which leads to the first letter of our acronym :
S is for Specific
This is where we take our goal and extract precisely what it’s aiming for.
For example what started as: “ I want to lose weight” might become “I want to lose 5kg”, “feel fitter” might evolve into “I want to be able to run 5K in under 30 minutes” and “eat healthier” into “I’m going to eat 5 portions of green leafy vegetables daily”.
Thinking about what motivated you to create your goal will help develop its specificity.
M is for Measurable
What would be the point of creating a goal if we couldn’t decide whether we’ve smashed it or not?
In order to make a goal measurable, we need to link it to a numerical target, for example: “ I want to lose 5kg in 5 weeks”. This way we have a clean cut answer as to whether we’ve failed or hit target.
Making your goal clearly measurable makes certain you can stay on track and of course most importantly, celebrate your success once you’ve hit it!
A is for Achievable
Stay motivated by keeping your goals realistic. Gradually increase the intensity of your targets so that they are always within reach. Think more running 10K in under an hour, less replacing Usain Bolt in Rio 2016.
Achieving your goal will give you the confidence boost ready to smash the next one too!
R is for Relevant
Put simply it’s you vs you.
The only person who can make sure you succeed is you, so make sure your goal is relevant to you and your life, rather than the latest fitness trend or celebrity endorsed workout.
T is for Time
Whilst it may be true that ‘good things come to those who wait’ ; it’s important to put a deadline on your resolution. This gives you a clear target to work towards and will keep you firmly on track.
If your New Year's resolution is S.M.A.R.T it will be clear, precise and planned to perfection . All you need now is focus, determination and the confidence to know you can and will achieve it.
Good luck and get started…... the clock's ticking !
New Year, New Challenge, New You
Happy New Year!
We have all over-indulged over the festive period, and we allowed too. The start of a new year is always the time to make promises and resolutions about everything we want to achieve. However these, most often, just fall to the wayside as old habits slip back.
The trick is knowing that you are falling back into your old life, when you really want to keep on track, so here are our top tips on how to keep it going after the shine has worn off.
1) Keep going! - Keeping track of your progress is a great way to see how far you have come. On day one, you exhausted yourself, but by day 14 everything was just that much easier. You have worked so hard to get to here, don't let that all slip away now!
2) Make it habit - There is no point in starting healthy eating, only to end up having processed foods four weeks later. Make the choice to keep healthy eating as normal, and takeaways as treats. Think of meals the whole family can enjoy together.
3) Change your rewards - We all think we deserve treats when we work hard. So instead of cake after the gym, why not book a spa or a haircut or a hot shave? Rethink what you need as a treat and work it to your advantage.
4) Beware the plateau - Prepare yourself for marvellous results, but then be aware of the plateau that will follow. This is not the time to stop, it is just a sign that you are doing it right. Your body is just adapting and it will soon start to lose weight again, just keep going.
5) Do it in the morning - Exercising first thing has some great benefits. Firstly, it is difficult to talk yourself out of it, just get up and go. Secondly, it doesn't have to be too hard. A quick 20 minutes is enough to help you burn fat. And thirdly, you will feel energised for the rest of the day.
Staying healthy and active is the key. You will look and feel better by setting and achieving goals. Look ahead into the year and plan some sporting events for yourself, whether it is a running sportive or cycling for charity. Having a goal for mid year will ensure you keep working in the coming months. Make those resolutions life goals and your body will be happier this coming year.
Winter is the time of year when we naturally want to slow down and take it easy. It is also the time where we are much more likely to over indulge in excessive eating and drinking, so it isn't really the time to reduce our training. I have never been one to stick to a training plan over the winter months, I just tend to go out when the weather looks promising or I feel like it.
However, having learned the hard way, training over winter does set us in good stead for the new season. Having a regime over winter is much more beneficial in the long run.
Being disciplined at this time of year is difficult. The weather is against us, cold fingers and extremities are off putting and the ground can be slippy. There are a few options open to those of us who want to leap into spring in a pique physical condition.
Tips for outdoor exercise:
- Get kitted out. You want fabric that will keep sweat away from your skin. A good waterproof jacket, Roubaix tights and a merino baselayer will all help keep you warm. Don't forget to dress brightly for high visibility. Layer up and wear a hat and gloves.
- Be Careful. Be cautions and be aware of the surfaces outside. Leaves litter the ground making it slippery, not to mention ice. Be cautious of drivers and their stopping distance and visibility.
- Stay hydrated. Drinking in winter is as important as drinking in summer. Just because it is cold and you don't feel thirsty, it doesn't mean you are sweating less. Keep that water bottle handy!
- Keep it sustainable. You are training but also having fun. Don't push yourself to new limits, but do stretch yourself.
Tips for Indoor exercise:
- Join a local gym. If the cold isn't for you, then train indoors. A gym instructor can make a program for you based on your needs, you can circuit train and keep your fitness levels up.
- Get fit with friends. Start an indoor badminton, tennis, squash (you get the idea) team with friends. Make it fun and competitive.
- Swim for it. Swimming is a low impact option and works out the whole body. Do a few leisurely lengths or join a class for a real workout.
- Get mindful. Do something a little different and join a yoga or pilates class. These are great for keeping you supple, as well as focusing your mind.
Tips for at-home exercise:
- Get some equipment. If you have a bike, get a stationary trainer and you can cycle indoors. Otherwise get some kit and put together a home gym. You can buy new or second hand and buy as much as you can fit in your home and afford.
- Do your housework quickly. Make chores fun and part of a workout. You can build a sweat hoovering, running up and down the stairs etc. Just put some good tunes on and have lots of vigour.
- Buy a DVD. There are a multitude of exercise DVDs on the market. Pick one that you will like, it can be as long or as short as you like and is a cheap way to keep fit at home.
- Circuit training. Yes, you can circuit train at home. Star jumps, steps, skipping, dancing, stair runs, sit ups, chair dips, wall lunges and so on. Make a routine up and go for it.
One of the most difficult things to do is to stay motived. We have some tips for that too!
- Stay sensible. Choose a gym or activity near your home. Travel can put you off and give you a reason not to go, so don't let it become an obstacle.
- Keep it social. Train with someone who has the same goals as you do. This will make committing to a run, cycle etc much easier and you are more likely to do it. Plus the company will make time fly and you will have fun.
- Keep your expectations realistic. There will be times when it is difficult, or you miss a session. Don't let it set you back, just keep going. If you set your expectations too high, then you can let yourself down. So keep your goals real and achievable.
- Go go go. Don't talk yourself out of it. Get in the habit from autumn and the winter won’t seem like such a huge obstacle. Commit, have fun and spring into spring when it comes around.
What’s your next challenge? A triathlon? A weight milestone? A time on a bike? 30 situps?
Sharing your goals and lettings as many people know about your plans as possible is a great way to self motivate and actually achieve your goals. For example if you're planning on doing a triathlon in a few months time, but you know that your life will find lots of things to get in the way, if you tell lots of people you're going to do in, in a way you're more motivated to complete the task and not let everyone else down. You don’t need to get sponsorship either to use the motivation of a ‘share’. Pop it on your Facebook. Or just mention it to people at work.
If you work towards something in silence, then it is much easier to back out. But when a friend asks, ‘how is your training going’, that may be all the motivation you need to step it up a gear.Give it a try!