Always set a SMART goal
You need a goal. If you don’t have a goal, how do you know where or what you’re aiming for and how you get there? But... the goal has to be clear and definite and it must be realistic.
The trouble with most fitness resolutions? They are too vague, non-specific or just over-ambitious. Just saying 'I want to lose some weight' or 'I want to build up muscle' will get you nowhere fast. The best way to realise your resolution is to set a SMART goal - one that is:
Rather than a goal of 'I want to lose some weight’, a smarter goal would be: 'I want to lose one stone (specific) of body fat in four months (measurable, achievable, time-bound), so I can turn up to my wedding looking in the best shape of my life' (relevant to your overall goal).
Once you've set your goal and you have a specific time-frame, write it down, stick it somewhere you'll see every day to keep it at the front of your mind, and make it a priority in your life.
A lot of people will use SMART goals in their working life and in order for your SMART fitness goal to succeed, treat it like you would at work by committing to your meal plan and schedule workouts in your weekly schedule as if they are important work meetings.
Next you will need an 'Action Plan'
It is all very well setting a goal but if you don’t have a plan to get you there, you probably won’t succeed in meeting the goal. This is where a plan comes in, which should be a path for how you reach your goal.
An example of a plan should look something like this:
'I will maintain a 300 - 500 calorie deficit every day. I will do this primarily by eliminating all high-calorie beverages such as beer, wine, sugary soft drinks and only drink water, tea, or coffee (mostly black). Secondly, I will reduce the amount of carbohydrates and processed food in my diet. I will also aim to exercise at least 3 times per week and walk more than 10,000 steps per day.'
Where many people go wrong is by setting a plan that is too excessive or extreme to maintain, i.e. going to the gym seven days a week or only eating minimal calories on certain days. Plans like these would require an iron will and intense determination, and in most cases, people do not have the time or energy with their busy lives to maintain such an extreme plan, which is why plans like these would probably only last about one week, if that.
Create the right habits
Consistency is key when it comes to achieving your New Year fitness resolutions. In order to achieve that consistency, you need to build good habits into your lifestyle and daily routine.
Whatever your specific goal may be, there are a number of habits that all successful fitness goals follow:
- Eat every two to four hours.
- Every meal should contain protein
- Eat vegetables with each meal
- Eat a mix of healthy fats daily
- Stick to lower-GI carbs, ideally after training and/or before bed
- Drink a minimum of three litres of water per day
Hiring an experienced personal trainer
is the most obvious method to help you stay focussed and motivated to achieve your goal. Having a professional overseeing your progress can help you realise and maintain great results.
For some people, it is helpful to tell your family and friends what you're trying to achieve. This will instantly make you more accountable and more likely to stick to your New Year goals.
Another good way to help maintain your plan and achieve results, it to buddy up with a friend, work colleague or family member as a training partner, who is just as driven and as motivated as you. If you're not feeling in the mood to train after a hard day at work but your training partner is, you're going to be less likely to let them down by not showing up. Equally, if you struggle with sticking to a diet, find yourself a 'diet partner' - someone who is on the same journey as you, or just a family member who is willing to keep you accountable.
Set performance goals in the gym
If you're going to maintain progress towards your fitness resolution and keep going to the gym, training needs to be fun and have a focus.
When your motivation inevitably runs a bit low, regularly setting yourself a performance goal is a great way of helping to sustain the path that you are on. For example, add in extra performance goals such as 'I want to be able to run 5K within six weeks and/or perform 10 bodyweight pull-ups with perfect form by week 10.'
Creating these micro-goals will give you small wins week-by-week which will encourage you to keep going and make it more likely to push on to achieve your end goal.
So when your initial goal(s) is achieved, give yourself a major pat on the back and start again. Pick a new goal, a good plan to go with it and start the process over again. You’ll find that one success will build on another.
When you have a clear, precise, measurable goal, with a good, realistic action plan, you will give yourself a much stronger chance of success in meeting a New Year Resolution fitness goal. All you need to do then is follow the plan, and supply the will power!
For more from Scott, find him at sogetfitessex.co.uk
or call direct on 07944 322828