Yes, it’s that time of year again – magazines and newspapers are full of “5 steps to a better you”, “how to lose a stone in 1 month”, “get fit for the New Year”…… and while it’s true that having a goal is a great way to start on a new exercise, fitness or eating regime, we all know that keeping to our New Year’s Resolutions can often be a losing battle….
One of the most common problems is setting unrealistic goals and then feeling disappointed when you can’t stick to them – This is setting yourself up to fail and will discourage you from trying again – we need to find ways of preparing to succeed!
Setting realistic, achievable and measurable goals is the way to go! Here are a couple of examples:
“I’d really like to lose some weight this year….”
When starting sessions with a new client, I always try to reframe this particular thought, as what it usually means is “I’m going to go on a completely unrealistic diet that doesn’t suit my body or my lifestyle, and sign up for an expensive gym membership that I’ll let lapse after 4 weeks….”!
Realistic/achievable/measurable: Psychologically it’s much more effective to say to yourself, “I’m going to try eat more healthily this year and commit to doing some regular exercise”. Of course, you’re going to need to actually do these things – you need a clear goal before you start scheduling gym classes and stocking up on lettuce though! Actual weight loss can also turn out to be less important than getting fit and changing shape though – clients often find that losing weight and having a more streamlined physique (whatever size and shape you happen to be) is a natural consequence of having regular sessions with me, but they find that the numbers on the scales are less important than how they feel and look. Having said that, it’s very common for clients to say something along the lines of “I want to lose a stone this year” and, if they do commit to diet, lifestyle and fitness regimes, there’s no reason they can’t achieve this.
“I want to change my diet, but I’ve tried Atkins, 5:2, Weight Watchers, etc, and I can’t keep the weight off”
This is difficult, as most of us generally underestimate the number of calories we take in during a day! Unless you have an underlying medical condition* the ONLY way that you will lose weight is to create a calorie deficit – that is, take in fewer calories than you are using during a day. There are two ways to do this:
Realistic/achievable/measureable: Ideally, we’d want to be doing a combination of these two! As you’ll see from the front page of my website, I’m a qualified Sports and Exercise Nutritionist and I have any number of ways that we can address nutritional matters that don’t necessarily involve training like and athlete and giving up chocolate altogether…! On the other hand, it’s no good going on some kind of crash diet and yo-yoing about – it does take a concerted effort (and believe me, I really do know what it’s like to carry extra weight about) but as soon as you can see the first tiny results, you’re halfway there to achieving your goals 🙂
*there are some medical conditions and treatment regimes that make it extremely hard to lose weight, but diet and exercise can play an incredibly important role in treatments for everything from recovery from surgery, mental health challenges, hormonal issues, etc.
“I’d really like to be more mindfull/chill out a bit/be less stressed this year, but I’m so busy and don’t have time”
Yay – yoga is for you! I really do know what it’s like to come in from a hectic day, put the TV on and flop – and really, one of the best reasons for getting in touch with me is that I’ll provide your motivation for you! If you know I’m turning up in 10 minutes, you can’t just stick another episode of Downton on and have a biccie 🙂 The good news is that you don’t have to think about it – I turn up, we work hard for an hour and then it’s all done till the next session 🙂