Happy New Year! It’s that time again for new year’s resolutions which, depressingly, less than 10% of us manage to stick to.
Resolving to lose weight and get fit is easy when you’re in the post-Christmas bloat. But willpower will only get you so far. What happens in mid-January when you’re cold, hungry, bored of your new exercise regime, and just fancy pie, mash and red wine in front of the TV?
You need to plan a strategy for success. So grab a pen and paper, and let’s start. Seeing your thoughts in your own handwriting is very powerful and helps get things clear in your mind. You wouldn’t do a big food-shop without a shopping list, and this is no different.
The six steps to ensuring your new year’s resolutions actually work:
- Be specific about what you want. Do you want to be a certain weight; train for a sporting event; give up smoking; get stronger and fitter? You cannot spend too long at this stage working out precisely want you want. How can you get want you want if you don’t know exactly what it is?
- Keep asking yourself ‘why’. Say, for example, you decide you want to lose a stone. Ask yourself why 1 stone? Would you actually prefer to fit into your clothes more comfortably or even drop a dress size? Make sure your goal is relevant to the outcome that you are hoping for.
- Be realistic. For me, this is the most important point. If you didn’t exercise 5 times a week and live on steamed veg last year, you won’t this year either. If you only have time to exercise once a week, then plan for that. You’ll be disheartened and give up if you can’t reach your goals because you’ve been over ambitious.
- Know where you are right now. By that, I mean take body measurements if you want to lose weight (waist and hips measurements at their widest points), test your fitness if you want to improve your fitness (time how long it takes to walk a certain distance or count how many repetitions of a certain exercise you can do), or count exactly how many cigarettes you smoke if quitting is your goal. These test results will help you measure your progress to ensure you keep heading towards you goal.
- Give yourself a deadline. Saying “I’m going to get fit” is too open-ended; you need a time limit to your resolutions. But make it realistic! For the weight loss example, aim for about 1 pound per week and work out your deadline from there. If you’re entering a sporting event, someone else will already have given you a deadline! Or your deadline could be a daily or weekly objective, like lowering your alcohol consumption.
- And finally, be kind to yourself. Please don’t give up just because you ate all those biscuits or you’ve missed your workouts for a week. Tomorrow is another day and you’ll do better then. Take another look at your goals, re-focus and know that you can do it!
Below are a few of examples of goals, to give you an idea of how to set your own goals:
- I will comfortably fit into my favourite shorts for my summer holiday in August 2016.
- I will be able to walk 3 miles in under 1 hour by June 2016.
- I will reduce my alcohol intake to 10 units per week (2 units = standard 175ml glass of wine) by May 2016.
- I will have breakfast of porridge, muesli or a boiled egg everyday.
- I will hire a personal trainer by the end of January 2016 to help me reach my goals! 😉
The first step to reaching your goals is planning. And it starts right now! What will you be planning for?