Now I know that Christmas hasn't even started properly yet, but I'm sure lets of us have just started to have a little think of what we want to achieve in 2017.
Have you ever set yourself a goal at the start of a brand new year, only for it to be a memory by March?
Well in this article I am going to give you some tips & advice to help you achieve the goals we want.
1. Don't just set the goal - I find everyone has a main goal in mind. However we seem to miss the main parts in between. I find the best way is to pick your main goal and pick a realistic time to achieve it by, and then work backwards creating monthly & weekly goals. For example say I have someone who wants to achieve a common goal of weight loss. Say they wish to lose 2 stone (28 pounds) by the end of 2017. We could then break this down as a monthly target of 2.3 pounds and a weekly target of 0.53 pounds.
2. How are we going to get there - This is probably more important than the actual goal itself. We need to know how and what we are going to do to achieve our main goal. Let's go back to weight loss example. Usually we would say eat healthy and join the gym (they'll be more on this later on). This is great start, but there are other changes one could make. Walk a couple of days rather than taking the car, cut a not so good dietary habit out of weekdays (sugar or alcohol for example) etc. If we choose to go down the healthy eating then it’s important to plan what exact changes we are going to make to eat healthy (might be worth investing in a session or two with a qualified nutritionist). If we join the gym, plan what exactly we are going to do there (most gyms should have fitness instructors who should make you a programme to follow as part of your membership).
3. Be careful of the gung-ho approach - One the most common faults in my opinion is as soon as January the 2nd comes we hit the ground running, going to the gym everyday and dramatically changing our diets. That’s the easier part though. The hard part is maintain this approach and more often than not it’s simply too much to continue throughout the year and we can slowly slip into our old habits. So what can we do? Make small gradual changes. Let’s look at the weight loss example again. Why not just start with the health eating (gyms are normally packed out in January anyway). A good technique I used when my members where changing eating habits was by changing just one day in the first week, then two days in the second week, three days in the third week and continuing that trend until we got to 7 days a week. Then when we have achieved this, we could than gradually add in our gym sessions (it’s quietened down by then) again by going once in the first week, twice in the second etc. I found these small, gradual changes helped them maintain these habits a lot long than the gung-ho approach.
4. Do what you enjoy - To me I would say this is the biggest one. I remember once receiving a phone call from someone (when I was a personal trainer) who wanted to lose weight but told me they "hated going to the gym". I then asked them "why do you want to do and pay money for something you hate?". We then met up for a chat and during our chat we went through alternatives of getting fit by doing something that they enjoyed. We found a couple of activities for the gentlemen to try. Firstly he tried water sports (paddle boarding & surfing) but didn't really enjoy this. Secondly we find a climbing centre nearby, to which he did enjoy and got very into. In fact he got so into it, he ended up going every day for one to two hours, made a whole load of new friends and also got fit whilst losing weight. I’m sure you will agree a much better way to achieve his goals rather than doing something he "hated".
I would say if you dislike the gym, consider something else. Think about it, if we plan to go for an hour a week, four times a week, that’s 208 hours a year doing something we don't enjoy. That’s not including how much it would cost doing something we don't enjoy. There are so many other activities that can help us stay fit and active: football, netball, fitness classes, swimming, dancing/dance classes, climbing, trampoline, gymnastics, volleyball, surfing, paddle boarding, cycling, running, walking, crossfit etc. I find most clubs are open to complete beginners and create a welcoming, motivational atmosphere.
Another alternative to consider if we don't like the gym would be seeking the help of a personal trainer. That way all your workouts will be made for you and most will keep them fun, enjoyable and progressive. They can also provide that motivation we need to keep on going.
These are just a few steps to consider when planning our goals. Please feel free to contact me should you need any help at all. At Pilates Performance Therapy we have a range of services and activities in the area we are in partnership with so we will be able to direct you into safe hands. Some also offer discounts to our class participants.
Thanks for reading.
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Pilates Instructor & Therapist, helping you understand why we do what we do!