Plan for a healthier 2014
Tis the season to…make New Year’s resolutions and for many people these will be based around getting fit and losing weight. But making your resolution is just the first step on your journey to a fitter, faster you in 2014.
Resolutions without goals won’t help you lose weight or get fit. In fact they will just leave you feeling guilty when you cave in to the first temptation that comes your way in January. The key to successful goals is to add some SMARTs to them. This stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-bound.
Just saying ‘I want to lose weight’ or ‘I want to get fit’ is way too vague. It’s time to get specific. If you feel like you’ve put on some weight then maybe you’d like to get back to a weight where you felt happy with yourself. If you want to increase your fitness put some specific goal around it like working towards running a 5k in 40 minutes or less. If you aren’t sure where to start then signing up to a beginner’s running programme can help you stay motivated and injury free.
Measure for measure
Measuring your success as you work towards your goal can really help you stay on track. After all if you’ve just tracked a weight loss, or clocked a new personal best time there’s less likelihood you’ll sabotage that by hitting the junk food. You can measure fitness in lots of convenient ways using fun, easy to use gadgets from Fitbit, Jawbone UP or Nike+ FuelBand. These fancy bits of fitness tech track your movements using accelerometers. The information is then synced with your smartphone helping you track increased fitness and even compare your progress to other people.
When it comes to measuring your progress towards weight loss keeping a food diary is another time tested winner. But you may not find the old-fashioned paper and pen method much fun. Luckily there are plenty of free food diary apps out there to try and if you join a slimming club like Weight Watchers or Slimming World they too have apps that will help you track what you eat on a daily basis.
Don’t reach for the impossible
Set yourself goals that are attainable. So if you are starting an exercise programme from scratch set yourself a goal that can be reached in a healthy way. If you set a goal that is too big you’ll lose motivation. It’s much better to set mini goals and work towards something bigger. Don’t forget to tell your friends and family about your goals. Putting it out there and knowing they are all rooting for you can really help you stay on course.
Realistic doesn’t mean pessimistic
Being realistic about your goals doesn’t mean you can’t make big changes. This is about acknowledging that change happens over time and takes a lot of hard work and commitment. Make sure you do some research online about healthy levels of weight loss and increasing exercise in a way that lowers your probability of getting injured. You should always consult a doctor before making any drastic lifestyle changes.
Set a timeframe
If you are losing weight it helps to have an event in mind such as a wedding, holiday or anniversary that you can use as an end date for your efforts. Without an end date you’ll find your commitment to change will dwindle pretty quickly. The same goes for setting exercise goals. Take a look at running events near where you live and sign up for one that you can realistically achieve in the first half of the year.
The most important thing to remember is – don’t give up! If you slip then just try, try and try again.
What are your goals for 2014?
Catherine is a keen blogger with a huge passion for writing. Working with leading health organisations Catherine creates informative, educational content around lifestyle and fitness.