Happy New Year!
If that seems a little late, there’s a reason behind me purposely uploading my New Year message until late January! If you’re intrigued to find out why, read on…
The worst week of the year?
This week is officially the ‘worst’ week of the year, according to scientists, who’ve worked out a formula, taking into consideration; weather, time since Christmas, debt, monthly salary, low motivational levels and a feeling of needing to take action.
I can’t do much about the first 3 but I can help with the latter two with one simple hack!
New Year: a kickstart to our health and fitness?
Many of us use the New Year as a reason to kickstart our health and fitness, it’s like we’ve been given a clean slate and we go full steam ahead with a new exercise regime and diets, but week 3 of January is often a point where we lose our resolve, get injured OR find ourselves laden with guilt that we haven’t even started our New Year’s Resolutions! (ok, maybe that’s just me?)
Week 3 of January is the start of my busiest time of the year! It’s when many New Year’s fitness resolutions have ended up in injury and this is the advice that I give to my clients to soar through their recovery and get back on track.
So, you’ve started the year with a resolution that this year is going to be the year that you get back to being 100% or ’the old you’ and you’re struggling to uphold that promise to yourself.
Change your resolution to a PLAN
Try this one simple mind hack – change the word resolution for PLAN.
’This is my New Year’s PLAN’.
OK, so just by changing that one word, it makes us think that we’re going to need some more tools to help us along our journey. Oh yes, our journey! Where exactly are we going??? What is your GOAL?
What is your goal?
Did you promise yourself this year that this was going to be the year that you ‘get back to being 100%’ or ‘the old you’? Your plan needs a goal. Without a goal, we have no vision for where we are going and we need to have a visible destination and a road map (the plan) for how to get there.
For your plan to work and be successful, it needs to be broken down and contain essential elements. We call it SMART goal planning and it works for pretty much everything; fitness, recovering from injury, diet, time management, if there’s something that you want to change. SMART goal planning is the way to do it. Here’s how it works:
Making your goals SMART
SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely.
A goal needs to be specific, your plan to get back to the old you this year or get back to being 100% is too vague. How will you know what you are working towards? Get specific. “I will be able to run five miles pain-free by April 1st” or “I will lose 2 stone by December 31st”
A goal needs to be measurable so that you can track your progress and document your success. (and celebrate those successes along the journey. Everyone needs something to celebrate, right?)
You can measure by setting targets along the way, such as being able to run 100m pain free, or being able to measure weight loss by tracking it weekly. For goals in physical recovery that we see in clinic, we’d change a vague goal of ‘I want my shoulder to feel better’ to a more specific target of restoring normal range of movement and we’d measure this. It’s important to set a benchmark that you can track.
Your goal has got to be achievable. “I want to run a marathon in 8 weeks time” when you’ve never run before is not an achievable goal. A goal like that is a guarantee of failure, which leads to misery, or worse still, ending up on my couch in a whole world of pain. Instead, set a goal like “I want to run a marathon this year and in 8 weeks time I will be able to run 5k” You could then reset your next achievable target along your plan to your ultimate goal of running your marathon.
HOW your plan is going to be achievable also needs to go in here. Who’s going to to help you achieve it? Do you need to enlist the moral or practical support of your family, or get an exercise buddy, or book in for treatment to help you manage an injury?
REALISTIC (AND RELEVANT)
Oh, we all love a dream, but without nailing this part of the plan, your goal is going to remain just that! It absolutely HAS to be realistic to work AND is relevant to your values and contributes towards your broader objectives. Here’s where you need to carefully consider your other commitments, work schedule, family and the time available. It’s great to get family on board with your goals, but balance is key. Focus on goals that are realistic and relevant for your current life. If it’s just not going to fit in, don’t throw in the towel, adjust your goal to what IS realistic. Maybe you can’t get out of the house to go for a run because you’re on your own homeschooling, but could you join an online bootcamp with recorded classes that fit into your time schedule?
Your plan needs a time frame to keep you motivated to take action. You can chop big goals up into smaller ones so that you’re always monitoring your progress. Slice long term goals up into monthly or weekly smaller ones – you can make a SMART goal for each week or each month for longer plans.
If you’ve got an injury which you feel is holding you back, or you would like help in making a health & fitness SMART goal, get in touch. I can help you get there!
If you’d like to receive my FREE SMART GOAL TEMPLATE and sign up to receive my newsletter, click the link below
THIS IS YOUR YEAR! Go!
Julia Cuttelle Parker
About the author:
Julia is a Sports Therapist with a vast knowledge of treating musculoskeletal injury, but is also a qualified Personal Trainer with advanced qualifications in GP Exercise referral for clients with medical conditions and Level 4 qualifications for working with clients with Lower Back Pain, Diabetes and Obesity.