Many of us will have set targets for the New Year and for the coming months. Maybe you have joined a gym, signed up with a Personal Trainer and decided this is the year that you improve your health. If that’s you and you’re reading this, well done, I hope the positive changes work out for you.
However, if you haven’t started yet or have already stopped, I can help you. There are a few reasons why people lose interest, give up and stop working towards their health goals, particularly in February. Firstly, the goals set are unrealistic. Secondly, the programme you are following is too complicated and too intense. Thirdly, you don’t see the results or the progress you were expecting so you lose motivation and stop. All of these are regular occurrences and I hear them every year. Below are some tips to overcome those barriers.
- Goals need to be realistic
“I want to lose weight” is not a goal and neither is “I want to get stronger”. It doesn’t state how much weight you want to lose or how much stronger you want to get. Also, setting a target to lose 10kg in 1 month is a massive task which even the world’s best nutritionists and fitness athletes would find extremely difficult. You must make sure you are not setting yourself up to fail, before you’ve even get going. A goal must have a value and it has to be something you can measure and record. The acronym SMART which stands for:
…is easy to use and can really help identify the goal and break it down into achievable chunks. This improves clarity and makes you think about the goal in greater detail. Another tip when setting goals is to write them down. Having them in your head is another mistake people make, so make sure you write them down somewhere you can see it. Then finally, plan backwards. Start with the long term (the end goal) and work backwards to the medium term and the short term. For example, if the long-term goal is to lose 6kg of weight in 6 months, the medium-term goal will be to lose 3kg in 3 months and the short- term goal will be to lose 1kg in 1 month.
- The programme needs to be simple
If you are following a programme that is over complicated, then you are more likely to not follow it correctly, injure yourself or lose interest. Speaking from experience, there are many online programmes available and there are many PT’s who will send you a jazzy programme with exercises you’ve never heard of before. My advice is to stick to the basics and keep it simple. The best programmes I have followed are ones I have written myself. They are successful because they are simple and effective. In order to monitor progress and see change, exercises will need to be repeated. I believe that focussing on 3 or 4 exercises is much better than having 8-10 exercises. The programme might even look boring on a piece of paper but keeping it simple will promote consistency and help you achieve better results in the long run.
- Don’t set expectations too high
In today’s society, when we want something, we want it now. Instant gratification is something which is hindering consistency, hard work and results. Let’s look at it logically…going to the gym for 4 weeks is not going to transform our bodies after the 4 months of not exercising and eating bad foods. If you set the bar too high, you will find it harder to reach.
In the first few weeks of starting any training programme or gym routine, your body will adjust and adapt to the new demands that are placed upon it. These are the foundations and shouldn’t be rushed.
If you can get though the first 4-6 weeks of your new routine, you are much more likely to instil good habits and make the new routine part of your lifestyle.
For anyone wondering when they can expect to see results, check out the estimated guide below:
Weeks 1-4 = you will gain fitness and strength.
Weeks 5-8 = you will start to see some physical changes.
Weeks 9-12 = other people will start to see physical changes. Of course, you can achieve results in less than 8-12 weeks but that depends on your effort, discipline and lifestyle habits.
I’m confident that if you implement all 3 of the above, you will have a better chance of sticking to your health goals and a better chance of being successful.
If you need any support, online coaching or training, don’t hesitate to get in touch.