January Goal Setting

So here’s our first post post Christmas and New Years festivities and what else could it possibly be about other than losing weight, resolutions and goal setting!

Every year people ‘come back’ in January raring to go and wanting to make big changes to their health and physique.  In all fairness, we’re not affected by it in the same way as other gyms.  For a start, we don’t spend masses of time and money on advertising and PR (at any time of the year), and secondly our membership base is less transient and probably a bit more consistent in their gym habits (well, most of them!).

Never-the-less, people want to get at it in January in our gym like any other.  Lethargy has been replaced by focus and people have got fat to lose and goals to achieve.  Good stuff – certainly for all us personal trainers out there! – but going at it all guns blazing might not be the answer….

Without question, the biggest goal setting and fat loss mistake people make is trying to do too much too soon.

“Right, that’s it.  I’m off the booze for six weeks, I’m going to smash it in the gym – three weights, two cardio sessions – and I’m giving up carbs, coffee, sugar, going wheat free and knocking the dairy products on the head”.  Sound familiar?  Honestly, you tried that last year, it didn’t work too well for you then (hence we’re here again) and you probably won’t keep it up this time either!  Why?  Too many changes at once.

TOO… MANY… THINGS… TO… THINK…  ABOUT… SO… LITTLE… TIME… TO… GET…THINGS… DONE.

TOO… MANY… THINGS… TO… THINK… ABOUT… SO… LITTLE… TIME… TO… GET…THINGS… DONE.

Fat loss is generally most successful when you go at it slowly.  Unless you can dedicate yourself to it 100% and can commit to something like our six week Zero to Hero or our eight week Jeans Challenge programme, fat loss takes longer than most of us would like.

Weight loss is easy, sustainable fat loss is a different animal and this is best done and most sustainable when done with small consistent steps through easy to implement and sustainable lifestyle changes.

Goal setting is important.  Real and tangible goals provide motivation and keep us accountable.  These are often along the lines of, ‘I want to drop a dress size’, ‘I’ve got two stone to lose’, ‘I want to look like X’, or ‘I want to lose the moobs’.  All reasonable goals and what are referred to as OUTCOME goals.

The reality is that we are all fully focussed on these in January but we’ve lost sight of them by mid February.  Why?  Because they’re often loaded with a daunting amount of sacrifice which we just ‘can’t’ give.  This lack of stay in power is understandable given we only have so much self-will and one always wants what one cannot have (‘I needed a chocolate digestive’).

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“I WILL NOT EAT CARBS, DRINK ALCOHOL OR CONSUME ANYTHING THAT I USED TO GORGE ON DAILY”

But what if we put the outcome goal to one side for the moment and set PROCESS goals, focussing on the small steps (behaviour changes) that need to be taken to get to the end goal….?

You want to lose a stone for example; and to make that happen you’re likely to have to make certain changes involving exercise, nutrition and other lifestyle factors.  These might include going to the gym, moving more regularly, drinking more water, including more of some foods, eating less of others, and so on.

But rather than focussing on the outcome and trying to do these all at once – as is our extremist nature – a more effective approach (we’ve seen this more times than we could count) would be to focus on the steps it will take, or processes, and work to skittle these off one by one.  Perhaps something along these lines:

Week one, I’ll drink more water and go to the gym three times per week.

Week two, I’ll eat breakfast every day.

Week three, I won’t take on anything else whilst I nail the other things down.

Week four, I’ll swap my lunchtime sandwich and crisps for a serving of protein and salad/vegetables.  Perhaps a serving of fruit also.

Week five, I’ll eat a smaller dinner portion.

Week eight, I’ll cut wheat out of my diet.

And so on.

Before you know it, you’re three or four months down the line and you’ve made lots of little changes that are now second nature.  And guess what, you’ve lost your stone and a little bit more.  And, you might not need to go through the process again next year.

The trick for most people is to shift your focus from the losing a stone to the things that need to be done to get there.  The outcome will then look after itself.

Be consistent.  Be patient. #BeTheTortoise.