Most people are least thinking about getting fit in the lead up to the New Year, right?
If you’re not used to training regularly but want to dust off your trainers come January 1st, here’s my guide to using the SMART model (an acronym that gives you the basic criteria to set objectives for a certain goal or goals) to starting a new regimen. Fit
The first rule of SMART goals is to be specific with what you want to achieve. Whether it means simply saying the goal out loud or writing your goal down. Only instead of saying “I want to get fitter in the New Year” you could say “I want to exercise for 20 minutes, three times a week”. It gives you much more direction for the next stages of the SMART model.
Next, is your goal measurable? How will you know you’ve accomplished it? How do you know what steps it will take to reach it? This can mean, for example, the way you measure that you’ve completed three walks a week, (i.e. tick it off of your calendar) or it could be as simple as using your watch to measure the total time you’ve walked each session so you know when 20 minutes are up (because you may only regularly walk for 15 minutes currently and this is your way of measuring the increase). If you want to complete a 5km run in the summer you can use a tracking app to measure the distances you complete in the lead up or you can go one further and encourage your friends to measure together using a leader board at work or online.
If you commute to work for a 2-3 hour round trip and don’t get home until 8-9pm every night, then setting yourself a goal to exercise for 2 hours per day probably isn’t something you’re likely to achieve (unless of course, you’re Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson who sets an alarm at stupid o’clock in the morning to get up and train before a day’s work and more training in the evening).Evaluate your lifestyle and adapt a plan around it so you are setting yourself up to succeed.
This one is quite self-explanatory. If you are the type of person who doesn’t like to be off in the great outdoors or you will more than likely stay in if there’s so much of a sniff of the chance of rain …it’s probably not realistic for you to commit to jogging 5 nights a week. It’s so important to choose something you are realistically going to stick with. This, to me, means finding something you enjoy doing. It could mean trying new classes or ideas, some you like and some you hate, but when you find that healthy obsession it makes keeping fit 110% easier! Likewise, if you have a chronic medical condition or injury that will hold back what you can and can’t do, set realistic mini-goals. This works hand in hand with the “achievable” aspect and sometimes the two blend together.
Giving yourself a time to work to can help you stick to your plan and give yourself a little nudge with a sense of internal competition. Saying to yourself “I’d like to run 5km” doesn’t inspire you to commit to training like “I’ve booked myself on to a 5km charity run, I know I can walk it but I’d like to run the entire thing on the day” does. It not only gives you a date but a goal and a distance to work up to. Other examples of time scales are “I want to fit into the next size down trousers by the wedding in May” or “I’d like to feel confident in my swim-wear for my holiday in September”.
Don’t forget, if you’ve set yourself the goal with all of the best intentions and you feel it start to dwindle, there is nothing wrong with taking a different approach and re-evaluating your SMART goal. This model can be used for one long term goal and many short and medium term goals. Life gets in the way sometimes and that’s okay!
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