It’s this time again: New Year, New Me! The list is out. The lines 1-10 duly filled. Lovely jubbly. THIS time I will actually DO them. All those things. Get fitter. Be healthier. No alcohol. Don’t use the credit card.
Yes, I know I start a new year the same way every year. But 2016 will be different! Or will it?
Are you the kind of person that does do a list? Even if only a mental one? Don’t get me wrong: lists are great. Goals are great. Without goals you can’t get anywhere. They give you directions. How can you reach your destination if you have no directions? But setting goals can be tricky.
For any goal to work, it has to be SMART.
S is for SPECIFIC. “I want to be fitter and healthier”. GREAT! Now what does it actually mean?
Tip: test your fitness level, measure your body fat %, blood pressure, weight, waist whatever it is that you think you should improve. Then you can set yourself a target. But you need a starting point.
M is for MEASURABLE. No, it doesn’t have to have anything to do with weight… How many push ups can you do in a minute? Or if you are really starting your fitness journey set yourself a goal of doing a series of 15 proper push ups. Do you know your FTW/FTP number – we are talking about indoor cycling?
Tip: If you have a PT ask them to give you a bleep test. Or go on a treadmill and see how fast you can run 5km. Make notes of these numbers and then retest every 6-8 weeks. (FTP test should be done much less frequently – even every 3 months).
Numbers are important but don’t get fixated on them and start measuring your waist and weight etc every week. Pay more attention to what changes you introduce to your lifestyle, including what you eat, so you can work out what brings results.
A is for ACHIEVABLE. Jan 1st “I will not use my credit card!” Jan 2nd – SALES! “Oh, Ok, after the sales. Jan 10th – Oh what’s the point. I am over the limit already. I will do that next year.” Don’t set yourself up for a failure. January sales are great for bargains especially gym gear and cycling shoes, even bikes.
Tip: be SMART with your spending. Shop around, buy stuff that will help you achieve all the other things on your list. If you plan to really get into the spin classes, buying cycling shoes is the best thing you can do. It’s an investment that will pay off in abundance. It also serves as an additional motivation: “Bloody hell I spent £60 on these babies I may as well go to take the class…”
Tip: If your initial test showed that you can only do 2 proper push ups before your form goes down south, don’t set your target at 100 push ups in 4 weeks, OK?
That ties up nicely with R for REALISTIC. Don’t aim for 15% body fat. Just don’t. Women athletes are between 14-20%.
Tip: Get some advice from your PT, GP even reliable sources from uncle Google but not the likes of Kim Kardashian etc.
If you like a glass of wine don’t say NO ALCOHOL with immediate effect. Unless you are going for a personal challenge or a charity thing. If you have a sweet tooth suddenly cutting out all sugar may feel like mission impossible and cause you so much stress you will fall off the wagon by day 4. Not to mention you becoming impossible to be around…
Disclaimer: if you are the type of person who CAN do cold turkey quitting anything, then please do. But if you are known to fail over and over – change the strategy. Be SMART. Get some data and then get the numbers down 🙂
Finally T for TIME BOUND. If you are on a mission regarding your fitness, your goals must have time limits. It’s good to have a long term goal: 6 months or 1 year down the line but it’s important to break it down into smaller chunks.
Tip: Testing in a gym environment is great but things happen, excuses make appearances… That’s why signing up for events is fantastic to keep you going: 5k run, 10k run, half a marathon and a marathon. And if you do it for charity it makes you even more accountable.
Sign up with the local cycling club. Tough mudder? Gym challenge? We are halfway through Izabela’s 50 Class Cycle SMART Challenge – you can still join us. We have two more months to go 🙂
One of my favourite songs of 2015 was Changing by Sigma. There is a line there: “I don’t understand playing by the same hand how you find something new”. So in 2016, instead of a new list get a new approach.