I love the beginning of a new year and setting myself resolutions and goals for the year ahead like so many of us do. However, I have come to really dislike the new year, new your mantra that is so often plastered on the front of every magazine at this time of year. This is often accompanied by diet and exercise plans which promise amazing results in a very short time-period, capitalising on how many people are feeling after the excesses of Christmas. These plans are often very hard to stick to leaving many of us abandoning our resolutions come January 31st.
So how can you ensure your resolutions are still in tact and you are still working towards your goals post January and beyond? Here are 6 tips to help you.
1. Be kind to yourself
Goals which stem from positive intentions such as paying closer attention to your mental and physical health or incorporating self-care into your daily life are much more likely to be successfully achieved over goals which stem from punishing yourself for everything you ate or drank over the Christmas period.
The punishment approach often results in hitting the gym more times in January than the whole rest of the year put together and spending most of the month battling hunger pains from an extreme diet. This is not sustainable, neither is it being kind to yourself.
Remember results come from making small but sustainable changes. Ask yourself can I realistically keep this up all year? If working towards your new goals is making you miserable then the answer is probably no.
2. Build a foundation
I love stretching goals and we’ve all got to dream big but it can be hard to keep the motivation going once the initial novelty has worn off and that goal still seems so far away.
Setting yourself some smaller, more easily achieved goals and getting the foundations right will not only keep you motivated but also protect you from injury and fatigue.
So, if you aspire to run a marathon but are starting from scratch, train for a 5k first and build it up slowly from there, every km you manage to run is an achievement of a smaller goal towards your overall aim. Likewise, if your goal is to squat a certain weight, make sure you can perform bodyweight squats with good form before you head for the squat rack, that is a vital step towards your bigger goal.
3. Beware of fads
Many of the latest exercise and diet fads that promise to CHANGE YOUR LIFE are extremely short term focused and if they result in any weight loss at all it is normally water or even lean muscle that is lost and not fat.
So how can you tell if something is a fad or if it is genuinely a long-term option that might help you towards your goals? Its not always easy but I would be wary of any exercise programme which encourages you to do something every day (rest days are vital) and diet programmes that cut out certain food groups or promise rapid weight loss (1-2lb weight loss per week is safe and manageable in the long term).
4. Get supported
I am not just talking about sports bras (but ladies, if you are new to exercise and don’t have one already please, please get yourself a decent one) but family, friends, work colleagues etc. I have many clients whose best intentions are put to the test by work colleagues and their no doubt, delicious baking or persuasive friends and partners who haven’t realised the importance of the goals to the client.
Making a change is not easy and the more people that know what you are doing and understand your goals and how important they are to you the more likely you are to succeed with their support.
5. Make it a habit
They say motivation is what gets you started but it is habit that keeps you going and I wholeheartedly agree. You are more likely to make a habit out of your new goals if you effectively fit the changes into your life.
I have tried fitting exercise sessions in at crazy early times in the morning in the past and it is not sustainable for me (sleep is important too!) What does work is being realistic about the pockets of time you have available or the barriers which might stand in your way and planning around them. Once you find something that works for you and fits in with your life, the changes will become part of your normal routine without you having to think about it.
6. Know your goals and why they matter to you
It sounds obvious, but I spend a lot of time on goal setting with clients because clearly articulating a goal and why it matters to you is so important.
These conversations generally start with “I just want to tone up a bit” or “I want to lose some weight”. There is nearly always a lot more behind these seemingly simple statements and very rarely are they to do with just aesthetics but much deeper issues, experiences, worries or even fears.
By thinking or talking this through you will be tapping into your source of motivation and this is what will keep you working towards your goals beyond January.
I wish you every success with your 2018 health and fitness goals!
If you would like to discuss how Personal Training can help you towards your goals please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.