It’s that time of year again when everybody is determined on making a change. You’ve eaten/drank too much over Christmas and feel like crap. A new year brings a new start and new opportunities.
The gyms will be packed come next Monday and there will be new faces galore – that’s brilliant. I love seeing people willing and wanting to get healthier/fitter/stronger etc.
The problem is a large number of people won’t last past the end of the month. There are a number of reasons for this but a major one is that they have set goals but haven’t planned out how they are going to achieve them. ‘A Goal without a Plan is just a Dream’.
The first thing to do is set SMART goals – specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time specific.
Specific – make your goals specific and well-defined. There is no point saying I want to get fit or I want to lose weight. What quantifies being fit or what quantifies losing weight?? Set yourself more specific goals. I want to be able to run 5k in 30 minutes; I want to lose 10lbs. Whatever it is make it so specific that you know exactly when you reach your goal and then you will be able to set new ones. A specific goal has a much greater chance of being accomplished than a general goal.
Measurable – this is similar to making your goals specific. Instead of saying it is my goal to exercise regularly, make it your goal to exercise 30 mins x 5 times a week. Establish a set of criteria by which you can measure your goal against. Ask questions such as how many? How much? When will I knowwhen I achieve my goal? etc.
Achievable – There is no point aiming to run a marathon in February if you have never even gone for a walk longer than 10 minutes. Base your goals around restrictions in your life, not just aspirations. Based on the present restrictions such as your schedule, workload, and knowledge, do you believe you can attain the objective you set? If not, then set a different goal, one that is attainable for you in the present.
Relevant – Make sure your goal is relevant to your life and your dreams.
Time specific – set yourself a time frame in which to complete your goals. This will provide focus and motivation e.g. I want to fit into a size 12 dress by Jan 31st.
Once you have set out your goals then it is time to put a plan together. Take all factors into consideration when doing this i.e. time available to you, facilities, your current level of ability etc. Depending on your goals these factors will change. Write down the plan and make it as detailed as it needs to be. This plan will definitely change along the way as circumstances change but such is life.
Once you have a plan of action put in place then there is nothing left to do but to do it!!
This method of goal setting is brilliant for the start of a new year but shouldn’t be limited to it. Anytime I am starting a new training phase or nutrition plan I follow this routine. I set out SMART goals, formulate a plan to help me achieve them and get to it. I don’t always achieve the goals I have set out but when I do I know the planning has played a massive part.
Happy New Year Everybody.