Why New Year’s resolutions are poo, & how to set real goals

First things first – New Year’s resolutions are bullshit. They’re made on a whim, they’re rarely remembered, and rarely followed through. You should set goals when you are ready to make a change. Why wait for a specific date? That’s a cop out.

So, a few things to remember about successfully setting goals:

  1. You need to be 100 per cent committed to a change. Anything less will set you up to fail.
  2. You need to have people around you who are willing and able to support you. That support network is vital to your success – they should be people who are willing to go on some of the journey with you, and who you trust to keep you accountable.
  3. You need to have a plan, based on professional advice, not on what’s worked for a friend or what you’ve googled.

What should your goals look like? You might have heard of SMART goals – specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, time-based. For example: I want to lose five kilograms in eight weeks by following a diet and exercise plan set by my trainer.

That’s all well and good, but there is a fundamental issue with a goal that focuses on a number, like a body fat percentage or kilos lost in a specific amount of time, is that it’s easy to fail and therefore easy to lose motivation.

My advice to my clients is always the same: focus on the feeling, not the number. When you focus on how you want to feel, the rest will follow. For example:

  • “I want to feel strong” means you’ll do more weights training and find ways to demonstrate you’re achieving your goal, like being able to lift more bags of groceries or move furniture.
  • “I want to have more energy” means you’ll work on your fitness and your diet to make sure you’re fuelling yourself in the right way.
  • “I want to feel amazing in my clothes again” or “I want to feel more confident” means you’ll increase your exercise and improve your diet.

A feeling is far more inspiring and motivational than a number. When we don’t feel great, it shows in every way – in how we behave, in the habits we pick up, in how we interact with those around us. In contrast, when you feel amazing, it shows in every way – in your smile, in your attitude, in what you take on in life, and the energy you have.

If you’ve no idea how to even start, a challenge (like the one starting at RBB on 13 January!) can be a good way to get going. Most challenges run by fitness studios will provide you with meal plans and exercise plans, sometimes even a few PT sessions and consultations to help get you on track. There will also be people around you to help keep you accountable and monitor your progress.

So, how do YOU want to feel in 2018, and what are you going to do to chase that feeling?


This blog is an excerpt from my eBook, which will be published in 2018 – stay tuned for more details!

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