When looking at New Year’s Resolutions or setting goals for a new year, it is easy to get caught up in the excitement of what you are going to achieve rather than going deeper into what you want to achieve and the process of how you are going to achieve this.
Setting a finance goal or new year’s resolution fits in this category. If you are struggling with your fitness levels or looking to drop a few pounds you could approach the New Year’s period by outlining some goals or resolutions you are looking to achieve in the upcoming year.
Setting goals and resolutions is a great part of taking charge of your life and making changes. It’s only the first point however, you need to have a plan of action to get you to achieving these.
Below we go through some tips to restart your fitness journey and more importantly achieving your fitness goals and resolutions.
1. Know what your starting point is
If you do not know where you are starting from, your journey to your destination will be more difficult. To truly make some significant gains in your training and fitness you need to undertake an honest evaluation of where you are starting from.
This means being realistic for your current strength and fitness levels, realistic regarding your current flexibility and any injuries or niggles. Be realistic with your current diet, weight and body fat levels (if this is to be part of your health and fitness goals and resolutions). Also be realistic as to your current health, fitness and diet knowledge.
The more realistic your starting point, the quicker you will start to see realistic results.
For example if you overestimate your strength levels and your starting point for your weights is a lot higher than it should be, not only could you put yourself at risk of injury, you are likely to put your yourself well behind where you should be and could even affect your participation levels and likely early abandonment of your fitness goals or resolutions.
If anything understate your starting point, you can always skip ahead to your correct position.
Finally when figuring out where you are starting at make sure you get a full health check from your doctor or license medical professional. This is doubly important if you have had a significant break from training and/or being in an older demographic.
2. Set realistic goals and make sure you set challenging small term goals
This goes hand in hand with the above point. The more realistic your health and fitness goals the likely you will achieve meaningful results and improve your life.
A suggestion would be to set a long term (i.e. yearly) fitness goal, then set smaller challenging short term goals that align to your long term goal.
An example could be a weight loss goal. You may not have trained in a while and noticed your weight has crept up and are looking to lose 20 pounds for the year. Ideally this amount will be a challenging goal for you and to further challenge yourself you can break this down into losing 5 pounds each quarter.
By setting smaller long term goals you can check to see if you are on track to achieve the longer term goal.
Going back to the above 20 pound weight loss goal for the year, if by 3 months you are nowhere near losing 5 pounds (with an exception being limited or no weight loss to initial muscle gains due to weight training) then it may be time to re assess your long term goal or reassess your training and planning to achieve this goal.
3. Plan your diet and training routine
The more planning that goes into achieving your goals or resolutions the greater likelihood you will achieve what you set out to achieve (all other things being equal).
You will find that once you commit to a long-term health or fitness goal there will be times when it will be a struggle. A struggle to perform your regular cardio, a struggle to get to the gym for your weights workout, a struggle to stick to your healthy eating plan to get to a weight loss goal.
The more detailed your planning and routine, the less likely you will “fall off the wagon” in regards to your long term goal or resolution.
If you had a diet component to your health and fitness goal, you are less likely to stray from this goal if you have a detailed healthy meal preparation routine in place.
The same goes for a goal revolving around training at the gym or in a fitness class. The less you have to think about it the more likely you are to stay on track. If you are constantly researching a particular weights program to do or trying to find a cardio routine to complete every session you are more likely to cut corners or eventually skip days and put the completion of your goals or resolutions in serious jeopardy.
4. Do your research and seek qualified help
You’ve outline your goals, planned out your new routine, your all set right? Maybe not. Unless you have significant knowledge in the training and diet space how do you know if your planned programs and routines will get you to your goal?
In this case (where your budget allows) look to use a professional in the area you are seeking to achieve in to help you determine a suitable program or training routine.
Your first option is to hire a qualified and experienced professional such as a personal trainer or a nutritionist/dietician. Aside from the obvious benefits of getting quality advice to get you to achieve your goals, you are also getting the added benefit (in most cases) of someone keeping you accountable.
If your budget doesn’t include personal training or personalized diet advice then get online and research a suitable training and diet program that seems to work for people who achieved what you are looking to achieve. There is so much quality (and not so quality information) available online, do your best to find something that worked for others (ideally at a similar starting point to you). If you are looking for online help, look for someone who has significant experience and also significant results in helping many achieve fitness goals, such as someone like Jeremy Scott (from Jeremy Scott Fitness).
Other ideas to get your fitness goals (while keeping the budget down) is to enroll in group fitness class in your gym that are run by a quality instructor. This will enable you to get a quality session while not doing too much damage to your budget.
5. Find a training or accountability partner
As we touched on above, the deeper into your goal or resolution the more obstacles that you will encounter. Having someone doing something similar working with you will help you immensely. When you wake up to go for a morning run and you are feeling sore and it’s cold outside, knowing you can’t let down your partner will help you push through.
The same can be for a night gym session or group training class. You might have had a stressful day at work and want an early night, not letting down your training partner gets you to that session!
If you can’t get someone to work out with you, reach out to someone close and ask them to help be your accountability partner. You can confide your fitness and training goals with them and they can then check in regularly with you to see how you are travelling. When things are harder on your journey reach out to your accountability partner to talk you through it.
Many goals and resolutions have been saved by having a training or accountability partner or at least someone to share your journey with.
6. Listen to your body and program rest time
One of the easiest things to fall victim when striving to reach your health and fitness goals is overtrain or do more than your program entails. Whilst it’s important to train hard and eat well, it’s just as important to get sufficient rest.
If you are falling behind in your goals, training harder or dieting harder may not be the best solution, in fact it could be making the situation even worse.
The improvement or gains you are looking to achieve don’t just come from your training, they also come from the rest you give your body after the training. Your body grows, heals and improves based on the quality rest you give it after exercise.
When we say listen to your body we don’t suggest that you rest every time your body hurts a little. We are saying that with the new fitness and diet regime if you are starting to get over tired or very sore, then you need to listen to this. This may mean a tweak to your routine, an added recovery activity such as a massage or it may be a short break from your training.
This will be easier to determine if you are completing your health and fitness goal in conjunction with the qualified health professional.
Making fitness and diet resolutions or goals can be a great step to improving your overall health and wellbeing. No matter what your starting point there is no reason why you can’t achieve challenging health or fitness goals.
Creating a strong and balanced routine, have a thorough health check before embarking on your goal, do your research then set challenging (yet achievable) goals. Don’t lose hope if things get hard or if you hit a slump or plateau, reach out to your trainer or someone close to you for strength and guidance and stay the course.
Finally when setting and achieving your health and fitness goals, don’t go all in on these so much that these become detrimental to other areas of your life. Maintain balance (where possible) in your life. Spend time with friends and family and enjoy the journey. your fitness goals or resolutions to the detriment of the rest of your life and do your best to enjoy the journey no matter how tough it may be at times.