How to Set New Year Attainable Fitness Goals
We’ve all done it – set a New Year’s fitness resolution and after a few weeks or months failed. But have you ever stop to think why you failed? Most likely it was because your goal was either too lofty or not well enough defined.
This year when you set your new fitness goal, make it SMART:
• S – Specific
• M – Measurable
• A – Attainable
• R – Realistic
• T – Timely
Let’s use a common New Year fitness goal “to get fit” and apply the SMART concept to it.
The “S” refers to the who, what, when, where and how of your goal. A better defined goal that is specific is to alternate between cardio and strength training five days per week, 30 minutes each day.
With a goal of “to get fit”, how fit is fit? You have to have some way of measuring your progress to know if you are making progress or not or to know when you have reached your goal. A measurable goal would be to be able to run and complete a half marathon.
Is your goal something that you can reasonably complete? It is counterproductive to set a goal that you have no chance of success. Be honest with yourself. Coming in first in your first half marathon probably is not attainable, but completing it is.
If you hate running, is successfully running a half marathon really a realistic goal? At this point no, but it could be if your view of running changes. Some non-runners actually come to like running once they start training for it. However if you have never been coordinated enough to run efficiently, choosing a better suited goal is probably advisable.
To be successful, most people need a timeframe to be at goal. If your goal is to run a half marathon, it is not timely, but to run in the annual Fourth of July Half is timely. Now you have a timeframe for which you can back plan. Based on your current fitness level, you can figure out milestones and when you have to hit them to be ready to run that half marathon on July 4th.
When a goal is set using the SMART system, your chance of successfully attaining that goal is much greater. While “to get fit” was our original goal in this article, the SMART system can be applied to any goal, whether business or personal fitness-related or not. Be SMART about setting yourself up for success.
Why You Shouldn’t Delay Your New Fitness Plan Until the New Year
Why do we wait until after the first of the New Year to implement our new fitness plan? We’ve known for months that we’re going to do it. It seems as though we fear that if we start before the festive season is over, we’ll undo all that we gained during that period of time, so we’ll start afterwards and not lose anything.
The problem with that line of thinking is that we start behind the curve. What would happen if we had started say 2 months before Thanksgiving? At a one-pound loss per week, we would have already lost 8 pounds before the holidays started. Even after the holidays you’ll still weigh less than when you started.
By starting your New Year’s fitness plan early, it will already have become a habit by the time the New Year rolls around. You’ve probably heard it takes about 21 days to a month for something to become a habit. Science tells us it takes longer if the action it is more complex and with multiple variables such is the case with establishing a new fitness routine.
Oh, and if you are waiting to start your new fitness routine until the time is right – it will never be right, so as the popular American sports and sportswear company Nike says “Just do it!”.
Do it at home or at a gym?
Your new fitness routine doesn’t have to involve spending a lot of money. If you can’t afford a gym membership, there are literally hundreds of exercise DVDs that you can buy and exercise in the comfort of your home. Some may require small pieces of equipment like a set of dumbbells or a stepper, but many will use just bodyweight and require no equipment. Or you may find the perfect workout for you on YouTube and those are free.
However, if you want a gym membership, go ahead and buy one. Most gyms offer reduced price memberships to new customers. Sometimes the act of “going to the gym” is motivation enough for people to get their money’s worth from their membership.
Regardless of how you do it, once your new fitness plan has become a habit, it will be as natural as brushing your teeth or going to work each day.
Don’t wait until after the New Year to start your fitness plan. Start now and get ahead of the game.