Set Yourself Up Yourself for Fitness Success in ‘22
Every January 1, hundreds of thousands wake up groggily, gingerly, and gently, to make the proverbial New Year’s Resolution to lose weight or get fit. After a month of munching on gingerbread and sipping on holiday cocktails, of having less me time to destress or exercise, of nerves frazzled from holiday travel and traffic, perhaps you find yourself a bit more bloated, a bit less toned, and very uncentered. And so you swear to yourself, starting tomorrow, you will wake up every day at the crack of dawn and run like a marathoner, lift weights like an Olympic heavyweight champion, and bend yourself into an upside-down pretzel like an enlightened yogi who sips air and lives in a cave. After a few days of beating up your body, you throw the alarm clock across the room and go back to sleep (Ok your phone alarm, does anyone even have alarm clocks anymore?). Perhaps later in the day you will berate yourself and believe you failed. Perhaps you will go back to waking up at a more godly hour, grab a cappuccino, and transport yourself to work with the rest of the mortals, only to completely abandon your project.
But before you consider yourself a complete failure, ask yourself why you failed. Were your goals practical and achievable, or did you set the bar too high for yourself? Were your goals tailored to your needs and your personality, your lifestyle, your schedule? If you have never run long distances, for example, is it fair to force yourself to start off with a 5K Jan 2 run? Is scheduling early morning weightlifting sessions a good idea if you are a night owl? In short, are you setting yourself up for success, or failure? And finally, ask yourself, do you want to get off the hamster wheel of karma and tap into success? If the answer is yes, then keep reading.
SUCCESSFUL PEOPLE ARE SMART
The first key to fitness success is to be SMART. And I don’t mean book smart. I am talking about George T. Duran’s famous article which appeared in the 1981 Management Review discussing the importance of objectives and the difficulties of setting them. He came up with the acronym SMART to describe a process we could follow to set goals that we can achieve and that will allow us to tap into that hard to grasp success that we so sorely desire. Soon, SMART was not just a buzzword in lofty corporate offices or esoteric business school halls. It became a buzzword for everyone, every day, a veritable key to success. And so it is that we apply SMART to our new year fitness goals. But what exactly is SMART?
To be achievable, a goal must be S.M.A.R.T. – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time bound. Let’s take a look at each one to see how it can help us to achieve our new year fitness goals. In order to achieve a goal, it must be specific. To say I want to get fit or I want to lose weight is not enough. You need to be more specific. You can say, for example, I want to be a better runner, or I want to lose ten pounds. Next, your goals must be measurable, so now you can add to it, I want to able to run a 5 K by June and 10 K by December, or I want to lose 10 pounds by next Jan 1. Next, your goal must be achievable. Don’t ask your body to run a marathon by June if you’ve never run long distances, look at the smallest race and start there. Be honest and realistic with yourself. If you need to, ask a friend, or someone who knows you well, if they think your goal is achievable. Or do some research. Or ask a trainer.
Same goes for the losing weight goal. Don’t set a goal to lose ten pounds by the end of the month. Again, ask a friend what they think, consult your doctor, or check out reputable websites about losing weight in a healthy, sustainable manner. Most guidelines recommend losing no more than 1-2% a week, so take a deep breath, weigh yourself (in the morning, and in your birthday suit of course!) and calculate how much is realistic for you to lose each month.
Next step, make sure your goal is relevant. Some afficionados of the SMART method also interpret the r as realistic as well, so once again, be honest with yourself. Do you really need to improve your running if you have back problems, just had a baby, or live in a very hot, humid, climate and can’t stand running in that kind of weather? Do you even like running? If the answer is no, then maybe you should try another sport like walking, swimming, or rowing. Do you really need to lose ten pounds? Maybe you just need to lose the 2-3 holiday weight and get toned. Or maybe you don’t need to lose any weight and just get toned. Are you just getting on a bandwagon? If not, then you are just wasting mental and emotional energy that could be expended elsewhere.
And finally, we get to the t, which is for time. Set the end date for your goal to be reached. It’s not enough to make a resolution that you will be a better runner or that you will lose ten pounds in ’22 – you need to set an end date for when you will achieve these goals, as well as markers along the way to reach them. To set running goals using time, you can, for example, sign up for races throughout the year with increasingly longer distances – a Spring 3k, a Fourth of July 5K, and a 10K Turkey Trot for Thanksgiving, for example. Resolve to lose 10 pounds by Dec 31, and then break it down further, so maybe 3 pounds in the winter months, 3 more pounds in the spring, then 2 in the summer and 2 in the fall, and behold, 10 pounds!
Making your goals SMART will help. A LOT. But it won’t happen, as you know by now, overnight, and without considerable grit, determination, and focus. You need to revisit your goals each day, repeat them like a mantra, else how will you peel yourself off that cozy couch or resist the scent of freshly baked croissant when you pop into your favorite café to grab your small skinny cappuccino? Girl, you’re gonna need all the help you can get, so read on for some more tidbits.
WRITE IT DOWN
That’s right. Write it down. Right. SMART goals. Slap it on your bathroom mirror. Post it on your fridge. Make sure you see it to believe it.
SHOUT IT OUT
Shout it from the hilltops of the Facebook Metaverse to make yourself more accountable. To make it real.
BREAK IT UP IN CHUNKS
Setting up small milestones along the path to your end goal not only motivates you, but also helps ensure that you reach your end goal.
CONSISTENCY IS KEY
If you want to run a 10K, then you need to get off the couch. Every. Day. OK, maybe not every day, but whatever you deem necessary in order to achieve your goals. Consistency is boring, but it is a tried-and-true recipe for success that rarely fails.
SCHEDULE IT IN!
If you have to work, pick up the kids from school, and grab that prescription that’s running out at the pharmacy on the way home, you will NOT get that work out in unless you schedule it in, so, as silly as it sounds, do just that. Schedule. It. In. Use your phone to set a reminder. Give yourself enough time to get dressed, stretch, and run. Same for losing weight. Plan your breakfast – even if you eat it on the go – so that you don’t end up making bad choices because you are starving and don’t have a healthy alternative nearby.
DON’T SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF
Missed a day of running because you were just too tired? Succumbed to some sweets or salty treats? So what! So get back on that horse! Small setbacks are negligible provided you are consistent and stick to your goals in the long run.
Find a friend and schedule that early morning run with her. You will be less likely to skip it if you agreed to meet her in the park. After you are done, you can grab a coffee together and have a quick catch up and celebrate your small success.
CELEBRATE YOUR SUCCESSES
Didn’t we just say that? Be sure that you do celebrate your successes by rewarding yourself. Did you get that 5K done? Treat yourself to new running shorts. Or whatever else floats your boat. Celebrate with your friends and family, too, so you can get their support and motivate them as well.
The reason that so many set goals in the early hours of the New Year is that they are long term goals, and for long term goals, we need a game plan. Setting long term goals without a long-term plan is a recipe for failure because it doesn’t hold you accountable and leaves you feeling unmotivated and deflated when you do not achieve your goal. While your goal itself may be specific, the path to achieving it must be well marked, as must any path. Setting yourself up for ’22 using SMART goals and following the tips above will help you stick to your fitness goals, or any long-term goals for that matter, will help to ensure that you actualize your goals.
THE SKY'S THE LIMIT WITH NEORAFIT!
Hopefully, applying the SMART method and reformulating your goals and heeding our top tips for ultimate fitness success will help you to achieve your goals in ’22, but in case you want to take it up a notch, be sure to use NeoraFit to help you support all your fitness goals and adopt healthy habits for a lifetime. Purchase NeoraFit here or the New Year Reset Program here for a sustainable approach to managing your weight and living fit not just in ’22 but beyond.