So, we’re powering through the first quarter of the year; for most, New Year’s resolutions seem like a distant memory (even laughable)! Whilst others are onto the next idea. But what about those who are still planning on fulfilling their 2017 resolutions? There’s a huge push for ‘New Year, New You’ but by February 1st, the topic of discussion is Valentine’s Day and the concept of a ‘New You’ is old news.
Unless your will power is made of steel, it can be tough to keep going with challenges you have set for yourself. Motivation can start to drag, frustration can set, in or even worse, you can easily forget that you’ve set yourself a goal! Whether you’re in a rut or powering through, you can master your goals through a variety of ways.
It’s time to break things down. Think lots of small objectives to help you achieve that overall goal.
When it comes to resolutions, health and fitness dominates the thought process for individuals. According to Comres, our new year’s resolutions are dominated by how we look and feel. The interesting factor is that all the goals we set for ourselves to last a whole year, are huge! We bypass the idea of making things easier for ourselves and essentially head straight for failure. Exercising more (38%), losing weight (33%) and to eat more healthily (32%) are the most popular resolutions that we make and yet, we are setting ourselves up for failure because there are no goals in place. Before you even decide what you’re going to do, you need to be SMART:
“With the new year comes new beginnings, new goals, and for many, new gym memberships. The gym is a great place to build healthy habits and break through physical plateaus, but it is important to remember to have a goal in mind. Setting achievable fitness goals can be the difference between a new healthy lifestyle and several-week-long workout fad. The best way plan out goals is using the SMART system, which stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timebound.”
Tony Goldsmith, Personal Trainer at Fitness Formula Lincoln Park
We never do this! You want to lose weight? Be specific so that you have something to aim for!
Don’t: ‘I’m going to lose weight this year’
Do: ‘I’m going to lose weight in time for my cousins wedding in September and to do this I will lose 3kgs.
Give yourself a precise target then break it down so that you have manageable goals to work towards.
Don’t: Pluck a number out of the air and hope you’ll lose weight
Do: Work out how much weight you can lose in a healthy way over a specific period. Give yourself weekly/ monthly targets to hit. If you’re unsure, ask the experts!
Do not set yourself up to fail. It’s easy to make flippant statements as to what you want to achieve but the reality of accomplishing them can be heart-breaking. Think it through!
Don’t: ‘I want to lose 3 stone!’
Do: ‘According to my body fat percentage, I can lose a stone and a half and be in a healthy weight range.’
Think about all of the above factors and what your daily activity is like. Will the goal that you have set be realistic given your lifestyle? Do you need to change anything or more importantly can you change anything? If you work late and plan on using exercise classes to lose weight, this isn’t likely to happen as you’ll never make it to class.
Don’t: ‘I’ll run a marathon, that will shift the weight!’
Do: ‘I really enjoy running, I’ve joined a running club that fits with my current lifestyle’
A year is a long time when it comes to goals; good on one hand but tricky on the other. You have a whole year to achieve your goal but then how will you stay on track for a whole year?! Break it down, give yourself more achievable mini goals.
Don’t: ‘I’m losing 3 stone this year!’
Do: Set yourself mini goals, review and achieve more!
Keeping on track
Apps will be, if not already, your new best friend. There is one for pretty much everything these days and there are some amazing apps that you can use to help you hit your goals.
Whether you want a step counter, 10k tracker or gym management tracker, the options are available to you in the form of an app to keep you on the move. For daily motivation, give 0 to 200 Squats Trainer Challenge by Zen Labs a go.
Sharon Staves, Director Of Membership services at Fitness Formula states that “One of the many reasons why fitness resolutions don’t stick is a lack of a solid support system. Whether it’s a spouse or BFF, having someone to share the journey with will not only make the experience more fun, but it also creates an accountability point.”
Tracking your nutrition is also key! If you don’t already monitor your diet, you may have a shock when you add everything up. Not necessarily because you’re eating too much, but the breakdown of macros can be quite shocking when you don’t think about what you’re eating. But that doesn’t mean you must strip your diet down! Sara Dubler from Sara’s Healthy Kitchen says:
“Healthy eating shouldn’t be considered a “diet”, it should be a lifestyle you want to lead. It is misleading to think that healthy foods have to be plain and boring. Vibrant colours, spices, herbs, and textures can bring to life any dish, making it exciting and bursting with flavour!
This is ultimately dependent on you. What gives you the fire in your belly to get up and go? The goal itself may be a good enough motivation for you and with your realistic way of reaching your it, you’ll be there in no time.
Plateaus are part and parcel of the fitness journey. It’s how well you navigate the bumps in the fitness road that determines your final destination. Michelle Stratton of Fitness Formula Clubs Chicago offers great advice in her two ways to break a fitness plateau piece
“In some cases early success precedes a period of time where progress may be slowed – a fitness plateau period. Some people experience rapid results at first, which fuels their motivation. A great example of this in the fitness world, and especially with respect to common New Years Resolutions, is in the case of weight loss. People may go from doing nothing to working out several days a week. That, in combination with adjusting their diet, may be just enough change in their habits to experience weight loss right away.
Then, out of nowhere, these people who are seeking weight loss hit a fitness plateau. No weight loss progress day in, day out. They start to question their program, motivation, self-efficacy, and even if their goal is worth it. In addition, they begin to reevaluate how much work they are putting in towards their goal and debating on if their commitment is sustainable. Many of these situations result in people throwing in the towel before they make marked progress on their weight loss goal.
However, these thoughts can be avoided if we start to transform the way we characterize a plateau in our heads. Reaching a plateau in fitness is NOT a failure or a sign you are going to fail, but rather a sign that your body is ready to handle more. It’s an indication that you’ve progressed to a point where your body is ready to be challenged by a different or more advanced exercise program.”