This time of year we are inundated with the latest fitness, health and diet fads. We have advice coming out of our ears from documentaries on TV to friends and family member telling us how great they feel since they started their new diet or exercise plan.
It can sometimes feel overwhelming and two common questions that we hear at Hatt’s are Where do I start and How do I make sure I succeed? I’m Danny, one of the Senior Pilates instructors at Hatt’s and I’m here to guide you with how to do just that:
Where do I start?
Start with a goal. It’s really important to know firstly what change you want to make but also why you want to make that change. Knowing and understanding the WHY is the most powerful way to get started. For example, you have decided you want to get fitter this year. Ask yourself why? What difference will this make to your life or other people’s life. Just like the goal, the why will be different for everyone, yet everyone should have one.
How do I make sure I succeed?
Make you goals SMART. SMART is a frequently used acronym in the corporate world but it works equally well in the world of health and fitness. It is a tool to help you build a plan around your goal to help keep you on track. It stands for:
Let’s explore this in more detail:
Specific – Identify exactly what your goal is and make it as specific as possible. For example, the above example ‘I want to be fitter’ is a relatively vague goal which often makes it harder to stay motivated. Have a think about what you want be able to do that your current level of fitness is preventing you from doing. That then, is your goal.
Measurable – This is strongly linked to being specific. It’s important that you’re able to measure your progress and achievements. This could be a distance you want to be able to walk or run for example. A great way to start is by measuring and understanding where you are now so that you can look back and see your progression as you work towards your goal.
Achievable – Ask yourself ‘Is my goal realistic?’. If a goal is unachievable then your motivation is likely to wane quickly. If you’re injured and have no prior running experience, then the London marathon 2020 might be an unrealistic goal to set at this time. As above, it’s important that you understand your starting point. It is hard to be objective with this, so using data, or seeking a professional opinion is often a great way to start. Achieving goals is very satisfying and motivational, so I often recommend breaking the end goal into smaller sub goals you can tick off along the way. Or alternatively, you can re-assess yourself periodically through the year to track your progress.
Relevant – You’re probably wondering what I mean by relevant? In this case, I’d encourage you to set a goal that really means something to you or others around you. Make it impactful. Very few people are motivated to do something just because someone told them to. When setting your original goal, keep delving into why you want this or what impact it will have on you or your friends and family, then tell them. It will help keep you accountable and they can even help you along the way.
Time – I always advise putting a time scale on your goal so that you have something to work towards. Not only is this a big factor in staying motivated, it also enables you to work backwards and plan your sub-goals or re-assessments to make sure you’re on target. This is a great time to reflect and look back at where you started and the progress you have made. You can also use this as a launchpad for your next goal.
Struggling to make your goal SMART? We’re here to help. To speak with myself or another member of our team, please call us on 01380 730473.