A match made in heaven

Posted on January 10, 2011

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You & your resolutions; make them a match made in heaven

Now that a new year is upon us, combined with the festive indulgence of the last few weeks, are you, like countless others, currently putting some thought into your fitness & wellbeing resolutions?  Most of us make them … as the last present was opened and the belt continually loosened, we declared with great intentions what we planned to achieve in record-breaking time frames.

But all too often they seem like nothing but a distant memory by the end of January. Making the changes required just seemed like too much hard work so we gradually slack off.

Sound familiar?

Whether you want to lose a few pounds or train for your first triathlon, follow my top tips to make sure your resolutions become tangible goals followed by successes achieved.

Base your resolutions on more than a fleeting thought

We all have moments when we resolve on the spot to do something but having a strong initial commitment is an absolute essential. Be prepared for some hard work, commitment and yes, a little sacrifice. The first month will always be tough but after that you should have a routine so you won’t have to try so hard.  Most experts agree that it takes around 21 days to form a habit and around six months for it to become a part of your daily life.

Make your resolutions specific

Saying you want to lose weight or get fit are pretty worthless statements. If your resolutions aren’t definitive, how will you know when you’ve reached them?  Better to be more concrete e.g. lose 10lbs or run a 10km race and set a realistic time-frame to work towards.

Be realistic

Probably the most common reason for failed resolutions is because they were entirely unrealistic and therefore simply not achievable.  If you are a tall and heavy-set, you simply can’t aim to weigh the same as Jennifer Aniston; if you are new to running, biking and swimming, ditch the grand plans to finish an iron man and aim instead to start with a mini-triathlon.

Create a plan of attack

You need to create a detailed action plan of how you plan to get from point A (where you are now) to point B (where you are post-resolution). If trying to get fit and compete in an event, think through details like how often you’re going to train, for how long, where, when and with whom. Write these details down, post them where you can see them and continually monitor your progress.

Break it down

Depending on how ambitious your resolution is, you may need to break it down – rather than one huge intimidating goal, break it into a number of smaller ones and set milestones for each one. If you resolved to run a 10km for example, make mini-goals such as running 5km in less than 30 minutes, adding upper body strength sessions to your training and running 1km in your fastest time ever. Reward yourself when you reach each milestone to keep motivation levels sky-high!

Believe to achieve

You need to believe you can achieve your resolutions; unless you believe you can 100% reach them, you will have no true motivation. Those who think they can and those who think they can’t are both right; the power of positive thinking knows no end.  Some people like to write down positive affirmations to help instill self-belief, others swear by visualization techniques or creating a vision boards which depicts you after you have achieved your resolution. Find what works for you and stick with it!

Have a backup plan

Weak moments are inevitable so prepare for them.  You will always hit bumps along the resolution road so think about little strategies to help you overcome these moments.  Deep breathing often helps, picking up the phone to call a friend or looking at your resolution on paper to re-affirm what and why you want it.

Track your progress

Keeping a journal to track your progress can be the simple difference between resolutions achieved or ditched. Record as much detail as you can which will create a blueprint of your mini-accomplishments and set-backs.

Don’t go it alone

Declare your resolutions to those around you. When we are held accountable to our family, friends and colleagues, it’s often easier to stay on the right track.  Reach out for support also … ask a friend to be a mentor, seek professional support from a fitness expert or join online forums to help you along the way.

Ultimately, the start of a new year is the perfect time to turn a new page. A new year symbolises a new start thus a great opportunity to eliminate bad habits and establish new routines that will help you grow physically, emotionally and mentally.

Published in SME Advisor – January 2011

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