5 Key Steps to Achieving Your New Year's Resolutions
New Year again. Where has the last year gone? Time flying? Life is drifting past your eyes? Waist expanding, rear getting bigger? Sound familiar? Don’t panic! Let me explain the 5 key steps to achieving your New Year’s Resolutions.
I’ll cover the 5 key steps you will need to focus on in order to succeed and make 2018 the year that you forget all your fitness worries and finally achieve what you’ve been trying for the last gazillion years (it’s not that many, but I’m sure it probably feels it).
The more difficult you make things for yourself the harder it will become, and you’ll ultimately fail, so keep it simple, and you’ll realise just how easy it can be to succeed in your new year’s resolutions.
Walk before you can run. If you haven’t exercised in ages, then 10 minutes running on the treadmill will probably have you searching for the nearest fire exit. Do what you can. If you’re new to a gym, take an induction and find out what exercises suit you. If its weight loss you’re aiming for, then weigh yourself. Don’t have a weight in your head that you think you are, when realistically you’re now heavier after the turkey and Christmas pudding. Stepping onto the scales at the end of January will only result in disappointment. Be realistic, work out where you are, and take it in small chunks.
This is probably the most common mistake that individuals make. Have your long term goal. Make it big and ambitious. It’s great to have that ultimate place you’d like to be. The goals like ‘I want to lose 3 stone’, or ‘I want to complete a 10k run’. However, to achieve this you must set shorter term goals. Goal 1 may be to clear all the chocolates out of the kitchen. Goal 2 may be to remove the 2 bottles of wine hiding underneath your bed. Let’s take the 10k example; if you are starting from scratch, the best way to start is some interval training. You may run for 2 minutes, walk for 2 minutes. This may be achievable, or even a bit of a push at this stage. Work out what is manageable for you and progress from there. Setting unrealistic goals such as completing a 30minute run by January 2nd is going to have you on that foot long Jaffa Cake bar by January 3rd. Aim to be realistic and you’ll feel good about yourself and won’t turn to the possible negatives of previous years.
Be prepared for tears
Nothing in life (or very little) is going to be achieved without that hard work and dedication (unfortunately). Some days you will feel like you can fly, but unfortunately there will be days that will be a real effort and struggle. It’s amazing how the psychological aspect will be more difficult to conquer than the physiological demands. If you find yourself struggling psychologically, your motivation will dip, your goals will seem further away than ever, and you’ll be contributing to that traditional quiet gym in February because you’ll be joining the cancellations queue at gym memberships. There will be tough days! Sweat that bit more than usual, struggle whilst contemplating that bottle of wine that’s staring at you in your local supermarket and then realise why you’re going through this particular bad day, and that you will be better for it. You are on the path to achieving your goals, and if you can get over this bad episode, the good one is so much easier to get through.
Have a good support network
This is your journey. Your resolutions. Your life. But I’m sure for most of you, there is a support network of some sort. Family, friends, work colleagues, whoever it may be. At times, these people are going to be the key to you achieving or not. The hug that you’ll get from your partner when you’ve had a bad day and want the chocolate cake in the fridge. The children who are about to tip you over the edge during one of their many fights and make you want to put on your running shoes to sprint to the off license. Or the work colleague that’s encouraging you to stay for the kebab after your typical Friday night after work social. Your support network can work positively or negatively. Be open and honest with them and make them realise just how important your resolutions for 2018 are for you. I’m sure your partner will want a happy you, your children a happy parent, or at work your colleagues will find it easier to work with you if you’re happy. If your network can embrace you and what you’re looking to achieve, you will find it so much easier, and won’t be alone during the difficult moments. People – particularly loved ones, will want you to succeed.
This last one is probably the point that is delivered so very wrong in the health and fitness industry and why so many individuals do not achieve what they are hoping to. I’m going to use weight loss as an example. To achieve the loss you desire, you must change your behaviours. However, are you going to go from drinking 8 pints and eating a kebab to having a night in playing Cluedo and eating lettuce whilst drinking mineral water? No!! Moderation. This word is one that I repeat to my clients so much they probably want to punch me. Keep it simple, especially to start off with. Goals need to be flexible. To lose weight you could go cold turkey (pardon the pun) and give up all the foods you enjoy. However, my experience tells me that you will not be able to sustain it for long. Much more realistic would be to change your behaviours slightly. Ditch the family size bar of chocolate for a snack bar. Swap the share bag of crisps for a multipack (yes – just the one), and swap the bottle of drink for a can. You can make further changes down the line as and when they are needed, but initially make small changes that will have a big impact. Most importantly keep it simple. If you can reduce calories in, and increase calories burnt, a deficit will be in occurring and weight will reduce.
Make it a successful 2018
That’s the 5 key steps to achieving your resolutions. My aim for this year is to complete my first marathon in April. As mentioned above, I’m going to have to build up to achieve this. I’ve started by increasing my running distance each week, however without the support of my wife, who understands I’m disappearing every Sunday morning for a run, and the children who don’t see me some evenings as I’ll be training, it would be difficult. I’m not a great cook, so it will be the family that will be feeding me, another great support in my network.
Lastly, when my legs are heavy and I’m feeling like giving up, the high five I receive by the elderly lady, or the gentle smile from the man on his canal boat keep me going as I run along my training route on the canal. You will find support in the strangest places, and people want you to succeed.
Happy New Year. Make it a successful 2018. Look out for my next blog and don’t be shy to get in touch, it’s great to hear your journeys, both positive and negative.