How to make sensible health and fitness goals for 2016
Reeling from all the food and drink we have recently consumed, a little dazed, over fed and partied out from the Festive season and we are finally on the cusp of 2016.. Personally I am completely sick of ALL THE FOOD (I have no will power at this time of year – Quality Street for breakfast anyone?) and looking forward to January for some normality and routine again. Don’t get me wrong – I LOVE Christmas, the FOOD, family time and the chance to switch off from work… But as 2016 beckons, our thoughts turn to a brand new, blank canvas that is the NEW YEAR – the chance to be the “best” versions of ourselves once again….
I don’t know about you but I used to be very big on New Years Resolutions…. I would make a great long LIST of inspiring and exciting and wholesome things I wanted to achieve in the New Year. And did I keep any of them I hear you ask? Er – nope. Millions of us make New Year Resolutions but apparently 80% of us fail to stick to them…. (so at least I wasn’t the only one then).
So, should we bother making any resolutions? Well, yes, I believe a new year is a good time for a fresh start so why not (although I also believe in seizing the moment – any time is a good time for improving ourselves so don’t limit yourself to just a new year thing! Revise and renew resolutions regularly through the year).
The best resolutions in my opinion are related to our health and well being. Because, really, why make bold resolutions about our career/travel/houses/ambitions if our health is not being prioritised? Our health is most definitely our wealth, and vowing to get promoted at work if you are not fit and healthy is pretty pointless.
Two of the most common resolutions people make are to “lose weight and get fit”…. That’s a no brainer really. Something we fitness professionals see first-hand as our exercise classes become packed out in January and the gym is swarming with people with good intentions..
Sadly come February, things start to die down and those 80% who’s resolutions were to “get fit” and “lose weight” fall off the wagon.
The main reasons for setting ourselves up to failure is because we make rather general, unrealistic resolutions with no real plan for following them through. The best way to set goals is to make them SMART…..
The two resolutions –“ I will get fit” and “I will lose weight” are definitely not SMART goals
- Specific – there is no indication HOW you will get fit or HOW MUCH weight to lose
- Measurable – yes, you can measure the weight loss, but there is not a designated goal weight – how will you measure fitness??
- Attainable – Yes – you can lose weight, you can get fit – but again no specific goal
- Realistic – Perhaps – depending on the amount of weight and the time frame??
- Time-sensitive – no time-frame is assigned to these goals
So let’s be realistic with health and fitness goals and keep things simple and specific. Whatever your health and fitness resolutions may be, make sure they are SMART.
- Change one small thing at a time, write your goals down and stick them to the fridge/around the house for you to see
- PLAN everything down to the last detail – make sure you know EXACTLY how you are going to stick to your goals and make them happen
- Develop a support network – friends, family and colleagues can all help you – talk to them about what you’re planning to do and tell them how they can help or even join in with your goals
- Measure your success will keep you motivated and on track – it’s good to have short term goals as well as longer term goals to break things down (if your aim is to lose 1 stone for example, a 3-4 month period is realistic and you can break it down as 1-2Ib per week so you can keep on track)
- Reward yourself (with a non-food related!) treat when you achieve your short term goals to stay motived. You could have your nails done, buy a new book/magazine, go shopping with friends etc
- Be aware you ARE going to fail from time to time. This is unavoidable but don’t despair! Learn from the setback: what situations made you slip? Can you avoid them next time? Don’t obsess over small setbacks – it won’t help you achieve your goal. Start fresh the next day. We are human afterall and we slip up from time to time. The key is not to give up – stay focused and get back on track.
- Make your resolution stick. After a couple of weeks, the changes you’ve made will become a habit and part of your routine, so don’t be discouraged if you’re still finding it hard after the first week or two. Stick to it and it will only get easier!
So what are my resolutions for 2016? Well, as a PT I should really have the fitness and health thing nailed – but of course there’s always room for improvement! Following a 4 month back injury I am going to continue participating in a weekly Pilate’s class to help with my recovery and to practice what I preach!
Less physical but just as important is I hope to learn more about and practice “mindfulness” – I have downloaded the app Headspace – apparently it’s a gym membership for the mind – sounds good to me!
Good luck and here’s to a fit, healthy and happy 2016 for us all!