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All the time we see people going on a fitness streak - hitting the gym as part of their new resolution or diet, and so many without a real goal in mind. Without a goal, sessions tend to become more and more infrequent once the novelty wears off. Here's our guide to setting SMART goals and smashing your fitness goals right now.
Stop kidding yourself that you'll set your goals 'soon'. Start now - right now. It's fun! You'll feel better once you've committed. So go and get a pen and paper.
2.MAKE YOUR GOAL SPECIFIC & MEASURABLE
How to set SMART goals is something I was taught so long ago and am constantly amazed by its effectiveness. In fitness, business, and pretty much everything else. The first step to setting SMART goals is being specific and measurable. This means writing down exactly what you want to achieve this year. Your first triathlon? Be able to ride 100 miles? Be able to run 10 miles? Lose a certain amount of weight? It doesn't matter - just make sure it's specific so you know once you've got there.
It's easy to set big goals when you think you've got a whole year to get there. But be realistic, with the knowledge of your body and lifestyle. This is the 'A' in SMART - it stands for 'attainable'. A year is a long time, so you might prefer to break one big annual goal down into 4 quarterly goals. Having shorter-term goals will keep you more motivated, too.
4.KNOW YOUR 'WHY'
The 'R' in SMART stands for relevant. If you know why you're setting this goal in the first place, it will keep you motivated on the tougher days. For example, "I want to be able to run 10 miles to improve my health for my kids" or "I want to nail my first triathlon to prove I can overcome my aversion to swimming!" are goals that give you purpose.
The 'T' in SMART stands for timely or time-bound. I believe that it's not a realistic goal if it doesn't have a deadline. You just won't have the level of motivation you need on a day-to-day basis if you feel like you can just push it another few weeks. Weeks turn into months, then years. Remember, your goal might be to lose 10kg by July. It doesn't have to be the full 12 months.
This is a good one, and something I personally rely on. I publicly commit to training sessions and races with other members of #TeamTrueStart. They are my why, and I absolutely cannot let them down! I highly recommend sharing your goals. You'll also be surprised how supportive people are (if they're not, they aren't on your team!) especially on the down days, and that's when you need them most.
7.FIND AN EVENT YOU'RE EXCITED ABOUT
From fun runs to north pole marathons, there are so many cool events out there these days. You're sure to find one that you can look forward to. You're likely to be nervous too so don't worry if you are. Why not rope some friends in with you, or join #TeamTrueStart at one of our events dotted across the globe?
8.GET A TRAINING PLAN & STICK IT ON THE WALL!
I'm a big believer in training plans. Knowing what you're doing is reassuring, having something there in front of you is motivating, ticking off workouts is satisfying, and seeing how far you've come is rewarding. You can even document it. I like to scribble notes on mine about how I felt - here are some examples of what I wrote on my last training plan after some sessions; "nailed it", "was absolutely knackered", "first couple of k's were tough but felt ok after that", "arms were like lead" and "felt like I was drowning". See, it's not all smiles and rainbows! It's cool to look back on it though. There are loads of training plans available online. If you're running your first marathon, check out this completely free downloadable marathon training plan, specifically designed for beginners.
9.FIND DAILY MOTIVATION
Achieving goals is about having the daily motivation to take yourself that small step closer. You're not going to achieve it overnight. Patience isn't always easy but you can make it easier by training with friends and having something to look forward to before training (your TrueStart Coffee!) or after (a hot recovery stew maybe? Download this free recipe book for an awesome recipe).
10.STICK TO A ROUTINE
Have a way to mentally prepare you for each session. We have an obvious choice - your TrueStart Coffee will get you mentally in the zone as well as physically prepared to smash it.
11.DON'T BEAT YOURSELF UP
Possibly the most important point, and something I have to make a real effort not to do! If you're shattered and miss a training session, don't beat yourself up. If you get off track, don't beat yourself up. Get the idea? Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, hits walls and has to overcome obstacles. Most of us get injured. The most important thing is to recognise when you need rest, rejuvenate and come back stronger. You'll be more likely to achieve your goals, not less likely.
There you have it! How to get on with it, come up with a great goal and stay motivated on your way to achieving it! I'm personally working towards Challenge Roth in 2018 (there you go - I've committed to it publicly!)