We’re now towards the end of January! And you know what that means…
Many New Year’s health and fitness goals have been set, enthusiasm runs high, and people are ready to charge at them with all they’ve got.
The energy of this internal drive is so intense that it becomes inspirational even to regulars like me.
Over the years, I’ve seen a pretty empty gym at December transform to a super packed one in January. In fact, it becomes so busy that I’ve had to reschedule my training times to get a quieter spot to use the equipment!
This goes on throughout January and maybe February too…and then it just fizzles out.
When we think about it, it’s not surprising. In fact, there are so many jokes and online memes about this phenomenon. However, the cycle goes on.
We know why it happens.
The story is as well known as the race between the hare and the tortoise. The hare, knowing his advantage, becomes unfocused and undisciplined. He travels far, but stops before the finish line. All the while, the tortoise advances towards the finish line slowly but steadily. The tortoise is committed to the race and believes in himself to complete it. It is then the tortoise, not the hare, that completes the race.
So, how can we be more tortoise to see our goals through to completion?
This is where goal setting comes in.
The process requires us to be honest with ourselves to ensure sustainability and to stay accountable.
If you’re new to goal setting, as I was last year, the following may be useful as a guide:
- Write down the overall goal that you’d like to achieve.
- Give a definite date that you’d like this goal to be completed.
- Brainstorm all the mini goals that contribute towards the overall goal. (The idea here is that goals made smaller can be more easily accomplished.)
- Decide which order you’d like to achieve these mini goals and then allocate them definite dates.
- Brainstorm all the actions required to achieve each mini goal.
- From these actions, make your schedule.
Once you have your schedule, follow it through as committed and honestly as possible. Allow yourself flexibility and disciplined lenience too. A few off-days are not deal breakers if one is disciplined to bounce back. In fact, I’ve had weeks of demotivation many times during my fitness journey so far. However, even whilst I was feeling demotivated, I was self aware enough to recognise this and to understand why. I used those periods to work out how I’d bounce back. Always have your mind towards returning.
That’s been key to my sustainability.