With New Year a distant memory, Elite Trainer Luke Worthington explains how to re-up your resolutions and achieve long-term success this year
Starting a health kick on New Year’s Day is easy. It’s a line in the sand after festive indulgence and you can mentally prepare yourself. You can buy in healthy food, join a gym, invest in a new pair of kicks – all ready for the big day. A definite start date is a non negotiable.
It’s the indefinite – or should we say infinite? – end date that becomes the stumbling block. In fact, 73% of fitness resolutioners (yes, that is a word) will have given up by the end of January. The key is to find a way to keep going.
What Makes People Quit?
Drastic and wholesale changes to exercise or eating habits are tough. They grind you down. If you’re relatively inactive and suddenly commit to six intensive sessions per week then it’s likely you’ll burn out. Similarly, if you’ve grown up on three square meals a day then switching to six meals that you carry around in Tupperware can consume your life. The faff will soon weigh down your diet plan resolve.
The major problem with such severe and drastic changes is that when (not if) you slip up the perception is that you have failed. The towel is thrown in because, you know, what’s the point anymore? Too often a resolution intended to last an entire year is derailed by a missed workout or particularly brutal white wine hangover.
And so, with the glow of January subsiding, it’s time to reassess, and in many cases reset, your targets. Here we explain how to plan for total 2018 success.
How Should You Set Goals?
Like all good things in sport, health and fitness, goal setting has its very own acronym to help you get it right. When figuring out your February resolution re-up you should therefore ask the question, is this goal SMART? Namely:
Specific – ‘Be healthier’ is too vague. Join a netball team, complete a 10k, or even drop a dress size lends some specificity to the goal. Humans are task driven animals and we need to know exactly what we are striving for.
Measurable – Neatly tying in with the above – goals must be measurable. It is only then that you can know when it’s been achieved and you can give yourself a well-deserved pat on the back or, more likely, pizza in the face. ‘Looking better’ is subjective, but ‘add 5kgs to my benchpress’ or ‘perform 10 pullups’ is objective. Once it’s done, it’s done and it’s mission accomplished.
Attainable – Time to be honest with yourself. If you’re pushing 40 then maybe it’s time you let that dream of playing centre forward for Spurs slide. *Sighs. But a realistic goal for the gym would be to work on mobility to stop back pain, or simply head to yoga once a week.
Relevant – Think of this one when you’re setting smaller goals to match any overarching ones. If your goal in January was to lose 5kg, then hitting a step target of 15,000 on your FitBit is a good way to get there.
Timed – This one’s simple. Unless you put a timeline on your achievements then it’s too easy to simply kick things into the long grass and delay. Lock in a time limit of a month – whether you complete it or not, it will give you a chance to reassess and go again and will stop it falling off your radar altogether.
One Last Thing…
The best advice is to remember that you will slip up. You will miss a workout. You will order a take away. You will have an impromptu night out. But that doesn’t mean you will fail to become healthier and fitter this year.
As long as you’re not too hard on yourself, accept that’s part of life and get back on track then you’re already one step closer to becoming more consistent. And that is the key to achieving your SMART goal. Good luck!