Six tips to ensure you achieve your fitness goals this year

Do you have a track record of setting new year’s resolutions on the 1st January, and then forgetting about them by February?

If this is THE year you’re going to get fit (or fitter), and you don’t want to be wondering how you’re going to commit to your goal for the whole year, then bear in mind these six tips to ensure you reach your goal.

1)    Have a specific goal
If your new year’s resolution is “I want to get fit” then you’re most likely going to fail.   This is too vague for you to focus on.  If you make your goal specific then you have something to aim for and achieve.  For example, your goal could be:
o    To run a 5k race by the end of February
o    To run 10k in an hour in March
o    Go to a spinning class three times a week
o    Join a local sports team

Measure your results regularly too.  See how you’re improving.  Are you losing weight? Are you getting closer to your goal?  This will help maintain your motivation.

When you reach your goal (which you will do!), IMMEDIATELY set a new one.  Keep pushing yourself to achieve new goals.  This will also help your motivation and your confidence as you keep improving.

2)    Plan where and when you’ll achieve your goal
Now you’ve got your specific goal, you need to start thinking about where and when you’ll achieve it.  You’ll do much better if your goal is “I’m going to go for a run round the park every morning for 10 minutes”, or “I’m going to swim 30 lengths every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday”. This removes any doubt about what your goal looks like, and helps ensure you do your exercise on the day you stated.

Specifying the where and when makes exercise part of your lifestyle, which is crucial for success. Exercise shouldn’t just be something to do in January to work off your Christmas dinner.  Make it part of your lifestyle and your body and health will be so much better.

Mornings are a great time to exercise.  It will set you up for the day, and it also means you can enjoy the rest of the day without getting to 5pm and thinking “I’d rather go home and watch House of Cards than go to the gym.”  If you struggle for motivation in the morning put your workout clothes on the floor by your bed before you go to sleep.  When you get up these will be the first clothes you come to so you’ll have to put them on!

3)    Write it down and put it up
Write your goal down and put it up somewhere where you’ll see it, or look at it regularly.  There’s no point writing your goal in a notepad, then closing the notepad and not looking at it again!  Looking at it regularly, eg every day, encourages you to take action, and people that do read their goals regularly are more successful than those that don’t.

4)    Be accountable to someone else
It’s 7am, it’s dark and raining outside, your bed is lovely and warm and you really don’t feel like going to the gym (even though you can see your workout clothes).  “I’ll go tomorrow,” you say to yourself.  Then the doorbell rings and you remember your training buddy has come round to go for that run with you.

Having a friend join you will help you stick to your goal, and help them stick to it too.  You won’t miss any training sessions, and you’ll encourage each other when the other person really doesn’t feel like exercising.

You can also join a running club, sports team or get a personal trainer to help keep you on track.

5)    Choose an activity you enjoy
Duh! This is obvious isn’t it?! If you want to get fitter and healthier but hate the thought of running, then there are loads of other ways to do exercise locally.

Pyramid Martial Arts and Fitness at the Royal Arsenal have a wide range of classes, including yoga, pilates and zumba. They have a range of membership options too so it won’t cost you the earth.

The Waterfront Leisure Centre has loads of exercise classes, and you can pay per class, rather than paying a monthly fee.

The Reach climbing wall on Harrington Way has South London’s largest climbing wall.  It’s a great place to learn a new skill and they have taster sessions if you’re new to climbing.

Dancing can be great exercise and classes can range from hip hop, to ballroom to zumba.

Or if you liked netball or football at school have a look at local teams and find out how you can join.  They’re always keen for new members and you’ll make new friends too.

6)    Start slow and steady
Don’t go out in a blaze of glory at the end of January because you’ve got an injury or lost motivation by the end of the month.  Enthusiasm is crucial to success but going too fast too soon will lead to injuries and disappointment at your apparent lack of progress.  Start small and you’ll soon be achieving your goal before you know it!

Good luck with your new year’s resolution, and let’s make 2016 THE year you achieve your fitness goals.

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