New Year, New You? We all do it, we start the year with goals that we want to achieve. At the start of the year it is the time where we all think about the things we want to achieve, or the things we didn’t achieve in the previous year. Our goals can vary from cutting things out of our life, or starting new habits we want to maintain. Unfortunately for most of us, our New Year’s resolutions are destined to fail. We set goals that we struggle with, that are to far reaching, and just to much to soon. When we struggle with our goals it is easy to lose motivation, which subsequently makes it easier to give up. Most of us will give up our fitness goals before the end of January. So this blog is intended to help you succeed with your New Year’s Resolutions. So whether your goal is to gain fitness, improve strength or speed, or lose weight, this blog will help you by making your goals SMART.
To succeed you need to ensure your goals are SMART. Something you can use to help plan all goals in your life no matter how big or small they are. The barriers to many goals, and the reason we all fail to hit our targets, is because they are not SMART. Your goals need to be:
- Relevant / Realistic
The first step to achieving your goal is to be very clear about what that goal is. If your goal is to vague you can’t possibly achieve it, you set yourself up to fail. So if you want to lose weight, how much do you want to lose. If you want to run further, how much further. If you want to run faster, how much faster. If you want a new job, or a new salary, what is it specifically you are trying to achieve.
Set yourself a plan to help you achieve your goals, these specific targets are the foundation of your plan, the things you are working towards. A good way to keep motivation is to have long term goals, and shorter term milestones. So for example you may want to lose x amount of weight or run y fast, or z far. Break this down to have smaller goals so you can succeed more and keep the journey positive.
The goal needs to be something that is quantifiable. Something that you can track progress, and know when you have succeeded. The clearer your goals, the easier it will be to be measured. If your goal is one which is about progress then make sure you track the journey, so you can tick off milestones. Again, if it is vague it will be difficult to measure. For example, I want to eat healthier, or run more. How is this being measured, what does this mean exactly?
If your goals are not achievable you will give up sooner. This is one of the biggest mistakes we make, by making goals something that we are just not ready for. Also, think about your lifestyles, doing something that just won’t fit in with your lifestyle. With weight goals people often start by cutting out certain food and drink all together, but going for extremes is a sure way to fail, especially if there are external influences. If you have a family take away night, or go out drinking with friends, stopping this may make you hate the goal, and become unhappy, this isn’t great for motivation. Instead, think about moderation, if a Friday takeaway, or beers on the weekend are part of your lifestyle, then perhaps keep these as rewards, and extra motivation for achieving weekly goals
Don’t set yourself targets which you can’t achieve, because as soon as you miss one it makes it easier to keep missing, failing will become a habit. So when you create a plan think about what is achievable. Your plan needs to include your work and social life, and have targets which you can achieve.
If you have a running goal make sure you have small enough goals that you can track progress. If you are a 5 hour marathon runner, don’t set your goal as a 3 hour marathon just yet. Start with 4:30, and when you achieve that start working on the next goal. Set smaller targets alone the way, like number of runs a week, a mile pace, 5k time, hitting your long runs consistently. The more achievable your goals are the more rewarding they will be.
Relevant / Realistic
Make your goals something important to you, and something that you can commit to. People can fall into the trap of goals because they think they should. Think about your specific goal, is it really something that is important to you and what you are trying to achieve. Bring this back you your “why”. What is it you really want yo achieve, and will this goal help you achieve it. Then think is it realistic that you can achieve it.
This is very important when deciding on your short term goals to help you achieve the overall target. So when you want to run a marathon, do you need to have a goal to run 6 times a week, do you need to cut out alcohol completely, or stop eating takeaways, or run at a certain speed. Maybe you might want to do these things, but are they relevant and realistic? Running every day could lead to injury, cutting things our completely or making things a chore could lead to resentment, and just may not be realistic. If this isn’t necessarily relevant to your overall aim, then why are you doing it. If you have goals that aren’t important to you then you will stop doing them, and this could lead to you failing the big ones.
When do you aim to achieve your goal. Be clear, so you can plan and know what you are working towards. For many it might be the end of the year, but think about those shorter term goals, don’t let these goals have no end date, as it is easier to not achieve them and forever be working towards them.
So this year I want to get my fitness back, and get back into shape. I have put on a lot of weight and my stomach is bigger than ever before. But my goals are not going to be about weight, as this isn’t so important for me, it’s more about how I feel about myself. I will have a number of goals that I am going to work towards. Some are clear SMART goals that I want to achieve. Others are things that I will try to commit to, but I am less concerned about achieving strictly. I have got my Run Journal out and will be using it to help me measure my progress, I’ve had this a while but been waiting until the New Year, with some more space to work towards my goals.
- Run another Boston Qualifier time before the end of 2023
- Run a sub 3 Marathon before the end of 2023
- Complete an Ironman, Ultra and at least a dozen marathons in 2023
- Run a marathon in at least one new place in 2023
- Do 50 push ups and 50 sit ups every day
- Raise another £2,000 for Cancer Research in 2023
I want to run more often, and get into better shape but these goals are going to vary as my plan progresses. I want to drink less alcohol which will start with not drinking at home midweek, but this is not something I am set on, more something which will help me achieve my overall aims. I am not going to be strict on set running days just yet, as I don’t know what is achievable, but something I am working on.
What are your Goals for 2023? Let me know how you will make them SMART to help you achieve them.