We set a goal, a deadline, write it on a piece of paper, stick it on a fridge door, buy a gym membership, maybe even splash out on a personal trainer to keep us accountable, you know the drill, right?
We are doing everything right. Bedtime is more regular and a new shiny pair of trainers resting by the bedside. Comes the morning and we are ready to face the hardship. All in all, we are equipped and sure that this will be OUR YEAR…until the second week comes, where workouts tend to be skipped, salad dipped in chocolate sauce (maybe not exactly), and we find that ‘liking’ our friends Facebook photos is just as exhausting as training with that trainer, who is trying to get in touch with you for the last few days. What happened?
Studies completed by Public Library of Science and Psychology Open state clearly that setting goals is a good thing, which can help us lose more weight and keep it off for longer, but it can also have a few drawbacks, as shown in the study done by Harvard Business School.
We tend to focus on the small picture and details, which have very little to do with the overall journey. Setting up too many goals can cause us to focus on the ones that are not our real priority.
Sometimes you can overestimate the importance of the goal, causing yourself to feel overwhelmed by achieving it and end up daydreaming about the final destination, rather than focusing on the steps necessary to get you there.
So, how to make sure that you stick to your keep-fit resolutions in 2015?
Start by setting yourself a goal. If you don’t have an important event that pushes you for this, such as wedding or a big birthday party, then don’t worry too much about the timeline. You want to get where you want with the right habits that will keep you in your best shape for a long time rather than stop as soon as you achieve your goal.
Imagine, or research, what people who are able to achieve a similar goal to the one you set up for yourself do every day. What kind of habits they have or don’t have?
Think of the habits you need to develop that will take you to the final destination.
Pick a few small habits, which can be something like “I will start going for a walk in the morning, or read a book after dinner, instead of having a glass of wine”. The habits don’t have to be big, but try picking a few that are the most important.
Finally, get into a routine. You will have ups and downs and that’s ok. The most important thing is to focus on the big picture, not details. As an analogy, if one tyre goes flat whilst driving, you wouldn’t get out of the car to slash the other tyres, would you? You would carry on. So if you do one thing you shouldn’t, don’t blow the rest of your day or week - just start afresh again with your next meal, and don’t worry.
'Greg Mikolap, BSc in Physiotherapy, and a Personal Trainer based in Maidenhead, England. Greg is also a founder of www.PTFolder.com, training solution for people who want to get fit or for people who help others get fit. With almost 10 years experience in the industry, Greg is also a course director for Faster Health & Fitness and is working on his volleyball performance book.'