So you want to shape up for Christmas?
Here are my top tips to help you stick to your plan and fit into that party outfit!
1 The devil’s in the detail
Make your goal really specific: ‘I want to be able to run for 30 minutes non stop by week 6 of my program’ rather than some vague ‘I want to start jogging’.
2 Measure your goal
Many people say ‘I want to get fit’. What does that mean? Make it measurable – ‘I want to be able to cycle to work and back 4 times a week’ gives yourself a tangible goal which you are more likely to stick to.
3 Make your goal achievable
So many people fall into the trap of setting themselves impossible targets, like losing 2 stone in 2 months. The recommended rate of weight loss is around 2lb a week or 1kg a week. Little steps are more successful and sustainable than dramatic weight loss, which usually results in weighing more than you originally did before you started.
4 Keep it real
Be realistic: write down your barriers to exercise eg demands of family, work, the dark winter nights, lack of self confidence etc. Work out how to overcome these and THEN set your fitness goal – if you lack energy at the end of the day for example, don’t sign up for an evening Zumba class, instead get your exercise done in the morning by walking to work instead of taking the bus.
5 Set a clear time frame
Make a specific date for your goal to be reached, usually a 5 or 10 week goal works well, eg ‘by week 5 I want to be able to fit into my party outfit,’ – then review your goal for week 10 and reset if necessary.
6 Picture this
Stick a picture of your party outfit on your wall, or even better hang it on the outside of your wardrobe, so you see it every day. This will help keep you motivated.
7 Involve others
Get your family and friends involved, as you’re far more likely to stick to your plan if others are relying on you. Sign up for a family charity bike ride, go walking with a training buddy, join a local running group…
8 Do what you love
The only way to really stick to a fitness goal is to choose an activity which you’ll enjoy. Were you a demon on the dance floor in your younger days? Then sign up for a Fitsteps class. Prefer a more mindful approach to exercise? Then try Pilates or Yoga. Shop around local community classes and leisure centres and find the activity, teacher and environment which suit you best.
9 Assign a friend to be your Positivity Pal
If you fall off the wagon, treat it as a setback not a failure. Phone a friend or someone you know who will put a positive spin on it and who will encourage you to get back to your fitness program.
10 Reward yourself
Set little rewards for yourself, eg when you reach your half way mark, treat yourself to some gorgeous trainers, and when you’ve reached your first major goal invest in a restorative massage. You’ve earnt it!