"Two words of advice. Motivation and Inspiration (OK, that’s three, but the ‘and’ doesn’t count.)"
Run better. Train for a marathon. Lose the belly. Improve your skiing. Whatever your goal, there are lots of things you can do to help yourself get there.
Motivation and inspiration are the starting point.
Motivation requires something to aim for. It could be a physical challenge or sporting endeavour or just getting an early start on the summer bikini body.
Inspiration can come from others. Someone who’s used fitness or exercise to make a positive change in their lives, or to recover from a potentially debilitating injury. Anyone who gets you thinking: “If they can do it, so can I”.
Both are great drivers to help you set and reach your goals. So how do you set goals that are challenging and achievable? Try using the SMART technique.
Specific and Sustainable
Research – or speak to a qualified exercise professional – about how to achieve your goal. What exercises will help you best? How and when can you do them? You’re in it for the long haul. So make sure that your programme is one you have a reasonable chance of sticking to for more than just a week or two.
It’s vital that you see your hard work paying off. So pick a measure of improvement that suits you and the programme you’ve chosen. It could be performance related, it could be about weight or body shape or even something as simple as how well your clothes fit. The word “how” is a great guide – how many reps, how big or small, how much.
A big goal or target – lose 10 kilos or run 15k for instance – can feel daunting and affect your morale. So divide it into smaller, more easily attainable ones and each time you achieve one, set yourself the next. You’ll feel a real sense of satisfaction each time you tick off a milestone.
Make sure your programme and your goals are in sync. So if you’re a night owl, don’t commit to a dawn workout five days a week. If you’re only planning to go running or hit the weights bench once a week, don’t expect to be doing a sub-40 minute 10K anytime soon.
Set a deadline for you to achieve each goal. This will help plan how your improvements should occur and make sure you don’t stagnate. Like smaller goals, shorter time periods are a great way to stay focussed.
Follow this approach and you’ll find that achieving the goals you set yourself is a lot easier than you thought it would be.