New Year ResoloutionAt MyPTstudio we’re constantly setting new fitness, business and personal goals for ourselves – not just in the New Year. But a New Year’s Resolution feels a little different.

The New Year marks the end of one chapter and the beginning of the next. A time to reflect on your achievements and set out a new list of goals for yourself. A year is the perfect length of time to really cement changes into your routine and create the life that you want for yourself. For some reason it feels more final - more monumental even - when you set yourself the new year to achieve something special.

1. Don’t just wipe the slate clean – appreciate all the positives!

Before we begin, it’s important to start with a reflection on all the many steps it has taken to get you to where you are today. Go back through the year and pick out all the positive moments, people you’ve met, achievements and personal successes you’ve had. It may be a year that you want to forget about – but surely there have been quite a few positives which you can take into the year ahead.

Start by writing these down in a list. Smile as you write them down! Focus on those positives and be grateful for them all. This will stand you in good stead for achieving even more in 2016.

2. Be clear on your objectives and steady your target!

Imagine a target shooter trying to hit a small bull’s eye on a distant target.  He begins to aim, but then the target suddenly moves to the right, and before he can position himself to aim again, the target darts to the left.  Will he ever hit that target?  Not likely.

Without setting specific goals, your good intentions are exactly like that moving target. 

You would like to lose some weight, feel fitter, make a change in your diet - but without clearly defined goals and methods, you can’t focus and make it happen.

To steady your target, you will need to clearly define what you want to achieve. Write these down as a list of objectives for you to tackle through 2016.

o NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS facebook3. Break your goals down into bitesize chunks!

Now that you have your goals down on paper, how do they look? Do they look achievable? Do you feel positive about them? If the task ahead feels like a mountain, chances are you need to break them down into smaller, more achievable chunks.

Your goal could be to lose 10kg in a year. This may seem like a huge mountain to climb, especially after all that food you put away over the Christmas period! But let’s break this down into bitesize chunks and see how it looks afterwards...

- 10kg in a year gives us a target of just over 8lbs a month.

- That’s less than 2lb a week.

If we told you that the NHS advise a healthy weight loss of 1-2lb per week as part of their strategy to tackle the obesity crisis, this all seems more achievable – right? Better still, we often help clients achieve even greater results than this just by implementing small tweaks to their nutrition and exercise plans.

10kg in a year doesn’t seem such a big mountain to climb now, does it?

Long term goals are important to have, but make your goal a journey, with smaller, more regular achievement-checks along the way. Break your goals down into monthly, weekly and even daily targets.

4. What steps should you should take to get there?

So we now have your goals on paper, together with a list of smaller targets along the way.

But what do you need to do to achieve them? What is your strategy and how is this going to fit into your lifestyle?

Let’s use that 10kg weight loss target as an example; we’ve now made this a more achievable target of 2lb a week or 8lb a month. We know that change is needed in order to get there, it’s not going to just happen all by itself!

So now it’s time to make a strategy. What are the things that you need to do day in, day out to get there? 

This is one thing we aim for from the very beginning when working with new Personal Training clients, whatever their goal. During our Health Assessment, we aim to establish a better picture of all those areas where change is necessary. Example strategies could be to:

- Introduce a clean eating plan

- Establish a strategy for coping with stress

- Exercise more frequently

- Exercise more efficiently (this is a big one for us!)

5. Are your goals realistic?

This needs to be realistic. There’s no use in saying you’re going to exercise 5 days a week if your lifestyle just doesn’t allow for it. Or likewise cutting out all your calories with the latest “juice diet”, as this just cannot be sustained long term and the weight will only come piling back on the moment you put real food into your mouth.

Instead, take smaller, more sustainable steps and make them part of your everyday practice.

Calculate your total daily energy expenditure (the amount of calories your body typically uses on a daily basis) then create a realistic deficit of no more than 20%. We use this calculation with clients all the time. You can calculate your own calorie requirements here:

Eat 5 portions of vegetables daily. Undertake a new fitness routine 3 days a week. Set out a realistic routine and back it up with a strategy that actually works.

Remember, cementing small changes into your lifestyle every day will harvest better results in the long run!

1413383018267 wps 20 Woman measuring waist Ima6. Benchmark yourself.

Now you have your goals all down on paper along with a clear, realistic strategy for achieving them, it’s time to benchmark! After all, how do you know you’re achieving results if you haven’t got anything to compare against?

Benchmarks can be as detailed and comprehensive as you like, or just really simple. A quick step onto your household scales can tell you your weight. Start by writing this down as an absolute minimum.

As Personal Trainers, we prefer to analyse body composition – the ratio of lean muscle mass to fat in your body. Obviously you don’t all have scales which can give you this information, but how about a tape measure? We often take circumferential measurements with clients to monitor exactly where the fat is coming off. Measure your waist, abdomen, hips, arms and upper thighs and write these down next to today’s date. You could also take a photo.

Re-test every 12 weeks as a minimum.

Another strategy we use with clients is fitness and strength as benchmarks. If you improve your squat 5 rep max, or your 4 minute row test month-on-month, chances are you are going a long way to achieving your goals. Next time you go for a run, make a note of the time it takes and look to beat this by the end of the year.

7. Make somebody accountable – you!

January is notoriously the crazy-season for people joining the gym. It’s everyone’s first thought when they have binged all through the Christmas period – “I’ll put it right in the New year, I’ll join a gym.” But is the strategy there to make it work? Once in the gym, do you know what you need to be doing to achieve results? Do you know what you need to be eating to back those results up and keep those results going?

By February, everything has died down a little, many have lost motivation and that overly optimistic routine they set out has now gone out the window. Is it the gyms fault? Is it the cold January weather? Is it work? Whatever the reason, it’s now more important than ever to remember your goals, re-set them if necessary and make yourself accountable for them.

Your goal should be to set out a realistic fitness and nutrition routine and back it up with a strategy that you have confidence will actually work. Make yourself accountable and have faith that it will deliver the great results you’re after!