Advice & Hacks
How to set fitness goals for the new year and smash them
With the new year fast approaching, most of us are already thinking about our new year resolutions – unsurprisingly, improving our health and fitness is high up our list of priorities!
But here’s the truth…
According studies, 80% of New Year resolutions fail before February, thanks to a lack of clear goals, feeling overwhelmed by the size of the task, or simply not being mentally ready to make a change.
So, I guess the million-dollar question is, what do we need to do to ensure we smash our goals this time round, and stop ourselves from sinking back into old habits?
If you’re seeking inspiration and determined to make this upcoming year a life-changing one, this article is for you.
They say that a goal without a plan is just a wish. So, whether your goal is to lose weight, train for an upcoming event, or get shredded, your resolutions will quickly dissolve into nothing without a clear strategy... and what better plan than a SMART plan – an action plan that incorporates 5 characteristics of a goal: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based.
S: Specific: Your goal must be detailed and easy to understand. To simply say ‘I want to get fit’ is too general. How fit do you want to be, exactly? Fit enough to run a 10k marathon? Fit enough to play 2 5-a-side games a week? Fit enough to swim 50 lengths in one session? The more detailed your goal, the easier it will be to manage.
M: Measurable: Tracking your progress is crucial to see how close you are to achieving your goal. It will give you a clear insight into what changes you may need to make as well.
For example, if your target is to gain 10 pounds of muscle, you can measure your goal by taking measurements of your weight and the size of your chest and biceps every fortnight from the beginning of the timeframe you choose. Write them down for extra clarity.
A: Attainable: Aim high but keep your feet on the ground. Setting unrealistic targets will only drain you out of motivation, and could massively knock your confidence. Only you can figure out whether your goal is attainable, but it does help to do some research before you set your goal.
For example, research suggests that a 5-10% weight loss is attainable for the majority of overweight individuals. Thus, if your goal is to lose weight, a measurable, attainable goal could be to lose 8%.
R: Relevant: Make sure your goal is meaningful to you. If not, you’ll quickly lose determination and end up quitting when times get hard. If you have multiple fitness goals, make a list of them in priority-order, and focus your time accordingly.
T: Timebound: There’s nothing that gets us motivated more than a deadline. By setting a deadline you’ll help yourself to stay focused on the task at hand, knowing that time is running out. The closer you are to the finish line, the more determined you will be to keep on pushing. On the contrary, working towards a goal without a clear end-date in mind will lead to a lack of urgency which leave you demotivated.
Here are some action-oriented SMART goals that you might want to add to your game plan:
• I will go the gym on Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning this week.
• I will eat a packed-lunch 4 days this week, instead of eating out.
• I will drink 6 glasses of water everyday this week.
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