Fitness – Fresh Starts, Fresh Motivation, Fresh Goals!

By  Scott Laidler @Scott_Laidler

One of the most common mistakes people make in the gym is losing momentum just as they start to see progress.

A big reason for this is that, as we start to achieve our goals, we also start to get complacent. We stop thinking about how far we are away from our final destination and begin to rationalise that, even if we only saw a little more progress from our current point, it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world. Then begins the dreaded downward slide… we go to the gym less, eat more junk food… you know the drill! And, before long we exercise only to offset the negative aspects of our lifestyle, meaning we never actually achieve the original goals we set for ourselves at the beginning.

With summer around the corner, this is the perfect time to get back on track and this time stick to it. The first step is motivating yourself. You need to WANT TO DO IT. Then, you need to set ACHIEVABLE, REALISTIC goals and STICK TO THEM!

Here are my top 5 tips for setting achievable goals.

1) Define a Clear End Goal

The first step to getting fitter and healthier is to define a clear goal that you feel passionate to achieve. This could be weight based, composition based, frequency based or performance based – whatever appeals to you at the time. Owing to our natural tendency to become complacent the closer we get to our goal, it may be a good idea to set a goal slightly more challenging than you actually need to achieve, for example if you desire to be 10% body fat, setting the goal for 9% acts as a built in defence against complacency.

2) Break It Down

Once you’ve set a clear goal, you’ll need to create a plan for its successful attainment. Break it down into steps and as you achieve them, the feelings of achievement and reward will motivate you to push harder and continue working towards achieving the next step. As you achieve more and more steps, the momentum will build and you’ll WANT to keep at it. Plus, seeing that there are still steps to challenge you and that you have yet to achieve will remind you that you’re doing great but that you haven’t reached your end goal yet. This means that you’ll be less likely to give up.

3) Don’t Overcomplicate It

Exercise doesn’t need to be complicated. Make your resources and facilities work with your lifestyle and schedule. If you have a gym near your house, do you really need a membership at Virgin Active 10 miles away, just because it has a swimming pool??!! The answer is no. Convenience is key. If you’re busy and tired, you might not feel like travelling but, if your gym is nearby, this gets rid of any excuses and will guilt trip you into going.

The same applies to healthy eating. To begin with, limit your food choices. The more options you have available, the more you’ll be tempted to eat them. Also, you don’t need to spend lots of money on extravagant ingredients to create more gastronomic masterpieces than you’d have made before. Simple can still be tasty but won’t cost you a small fortune. Setting a budget will help you to keep costs down and make you more likely to follow though.

4) Use Your Resources To Your Advantage.

Work out what resources you have available, and what you’ll need to seek out if you don’t yet have it. This includes times, locations, friends, finances, and facilities. Planning and preparation will eradicate any excuses you could be tempted to use later.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do I already have the required resources available to me? Where can I get them from?
  • Do I know how to eat healthier and what exercises to do? Can I do it alone or do I – need support? Where can I get support from?
  • Am I ready to eat healthier and cut out junk food?
  • Do I want to change?

5) Be Realistic: Know Your Goal And Design Your Plan To Suit YOU

There is lots of advice on diets, exercise regimes etc. available on the internet, magazines, TV etc. but what works for one person won’t work for another. You need to select different exercises and information and come up with a plan to suit YOU. You’ll have different goals, time constraints, facilities and fitness levels from other people so comparing yourself to celebrities and other people will only result in unachievable comparisons and targets, which most people cannot compete with. With hard work, you too can achieve brilliant results but to stay motivated and determined, be your own icon. Don’t compare!

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