Updated: Jan 10
It is the New Year again- January, the time to restart your diet and fitness program because you indulged too much over Christmas and New Years celebrations. The possibilities are endless and motivation is high for at least one week.
You read online that it is good to set goals for the year, and oh boy, this year it's definitely going to be different! This year you are really going to be the fittest you've ever been, the healthiest and you are finally going to lose the 10kg you have been talking about for the last 5 years.
You take 5 minutes out of your precious weekend to write down some random goals about weight loss ( 10kg +) joining a gym, meditation, saving money, buying a house, finding a life partner and going on a trip to Europe. Then you put that piece of paper in a drawer and look at it only when you accidently find it after cleaning up 8 months later.
This might not be you but it was me about 20 years ago!
Setting big goals without a detailed plan to get there does not work. Not surprisingly, you may have already known this. What I find that works is a weekly action plan, broken down into daily critical tasks. It is not about the big goals (although it is good to think big), it is about what you are intentionally going to do daily to move you forward. Plan with yourself and your daily schedule what action steps are realistic and prioritise it to make it happen. Humans work well with a regular schedule and routine, in all areas of life. Your health and wellbeing should always come first, nothing in life is free, what you put in is what you get out.
In regards to strength training, if you are a newbie or you don't love the idea of exercise, I highly recommend joining a group or getting a face to face personal trainer for support, accountability, a positive experience and correct technique. The more you invest ($) the higher your chances of showing up are- so choose someone who is the best in your area, and close to home or work.
Look in your diary and write down your weekly plan, so you can read it daily.
It could look something like this (consistency is key here):
Train in the group 3 x per week (Monday, Wednesday and Friday)
Walk for 30 mins with the dog on Tuesday, Saturday and Sunday
Wake up and drink 2 glasses of water with fresh lemon
Supermarket shop and bulk cook 2-3 meals (soup and a stirfry)
Add in 2 extra serves of veges per day
Turn off electronics by 9pm (set an alarm for this on your phone)
Bed by 10:30pm every night- quality sleep is a very important factor in success, don't disregard it.
From here you can break it down to 3 achievable tasks (or action steps) daily- keep it simple and easy.
Each week set your plan before your week begins- the weekend is a good time. Your weekly plan may be different each week, depending on what worked and what didn't work- do a quick non-emotional self evaluation of the week, and make appropriate changes. You want to set yourself up for consistent wins (more wins create self belief and self confidence), and not fails.
Weekly and daily action planning works, and if you stick to your plan each day, then at the end of the year, I guarantee you will be the fittest and healthiest you have been! Small daily action steps create momentum and big wins over time, without becoming overwhelmed with the big goal.
Ways to accelerate the process:
Get a coach or PT
Do it with a friend with the same goals (not your drinking buddy)
Read your plan daily
Don't rely on motivation ever, rely on following the plan only.
Know that challenges will come up, so get creative and be flexible in your thinking.
Evaluate your plan weekly, keep what worked. If it is too much reduce the plan to make it easier to succeed. It is consistency over time that produces big results.
Think like an adult, not like a child. Breathe, and just do it, don't give in to your excuses- it is only exercise!
Take a full body photo of yourself right now- sometimes the visual is very motivating to practise discipline.