January ‘22 Health & Wellbeing Blog! Planning for a Strong & Mindful 2022!
January ‘22 Health & Wellbeing Blog! Planning for a Strong & Mindful 2022!
Happy New Year all! I hope you all had a great Christmas and enjoyed seeing the bells in!
This is the time of year to look back at 2021’s goals and resolutions and see how you fared, I don’t mean just in the fitness sense but in all goals that you aimed to achieve in 2021. Take 5 minutes to reflect…………. how did you get on? Sometimes it’s difficult to even remember last year’s resolutions.
2021 was a strange year with the pandemic so results may have been understandably skewed……. It’s time to now look forward!
When I talk about planning and defining goals; I don’t mean solely in the fitness sense, your goals can be anything you wish to achieve no matter how big or small. I always encourage people to be ambitious but you may have only one simple goal for the year which is absolutely fine and a step in the right direction.
Don’t create goals to impress or please other people, although support from friends and family is great, stay true to your own and ambitions and goals and you will be more likely to succeed.
I spoke to a friend last week and asked if he had any goals for 2022, he was very open and honest, stating that he will be practicing mindfulness. If only for 5 minutes each day, he will sit and relax, eyes closed, and focus attention towards thoughts and emotions. This may sound strange to most but it is proven to clear anxiety and stress. In fact, if you read up on the most common habits of highly successful people, they all practice mindfulness in some capacity, whether it is guided meditation or certain breathing methods. I thought that this was a great resolution and worth a mention as it takes very little effort and time but can reap excellent rewards.
Everyone always has a resolution or 2 in their head for the upcoming New Year, the reason why most do not achieve their goals is for that very reason……it is in their head only, it needs to be written down and well defined. The chance of achieving anything increases exponentially when it is planned, defined and written down. This deters a lot of people but it can literally just take a few minutes to create a plan
How do we efficiently plan goals? – S.M.A.R.T!
S.M.A.R.T is the mnemonic for a well-established technique used to plan and achieve goals.
Specific: Ensure that your goals are targeted towards a tangible outcome. Without being specific, your goals may be vague and will therefore be harder to achieve. Use this part to note which tools or resources you will need to use in order to undertake your plan.
Measured: Ensure that your goals can be measured and tracked. This is the only way of knowing that you have achieved your goals. It is also a key motivator to physically see when you are progressing well.
Achievable: Although your goals should be ambitious and testing, they must be reasonable to achieve. For example, if you had a goal of increasing lean muscle mass by 10 kilos within 4 weeks, or to lose 2 stone within 4 weeks, neither are reasonably achievable and will only obstruct your gains in the long term. You don’t have to conquer the world in 1 week, the process works much better when it is slow and methodical.
Relevant: The goals you strive for should be relevant to YOU. Don’t try to impress others and stay true to yourself and your own personal ambitions. Ensure that your goals are a priority focus for YOU.
Time-Bound: Each goal you set should have a deadline / target date. I guarantee this will keep you motivated. If you don’t set a target date and just say ‘I want to lose 2 stone at some point in the future’, there is a good chance that day will never come. Setting target dates is absolutely critical to keep up the motivation for your targets.
So, let’s look at an example of a goal for 2022 and how we would plan this out properly, you will see that it takes very little effort but is extremely worthwhile. This goal is very similar to a real goal that has been put to me in the past from a client, weight loss is without doubt the most common goal across all adults.
“My sister’s wedding is in August, I would love to lose 2 Stone (12.7kg) so that I look and feel great in my Bridesmaid’s dress”
This is a brilliant goal and not only will you look great on the wedding day, imagine the immense sense of pride and achievement that you conquered your goal, not to mention the health benefits, both physically and mentally.
We would obviously need a quick assessment first. For example, if this individual was already very lean with an extremely low body fat percentage then losing 2 Stone is obviously not feasible and unnecessary.
So, let’s break this down into a well-defined goal using the S.M.A.R.T technique, is the goal;
Specific ? Yes, an exact amount of weight to be lost has been specified and even for a specific event.
Measured ? Yes, bodyweight can be measured at periodic review points and you will be able to physically see the target being achieved.
Achievable ? If the individual has 2 Stone or more in excess weight then the goal is clearly achievable as 7 months is a reasonable and safe amount of time to lose 2 Stone the right way. This step may need a quick consultation to check that the amount of weight to be lost is achievable and safe.
Relevant ? Yes, the goal is totally relevant to the client and for their own personal ambition.
Time-Bound ? Yes, a target date has been specified, from this date we can set review points to track progression.
Let’s say we have 7 months or roughly 28 weeks to achieve this for early August ’22. That is just under half a Kilo per week or approximately 1lb per week to lose.
So, we need to set some review points to track the weight loss. It is difficult when you are tracking weight not to weigh yourself every day, resist this temptation as it will be more accurate to weigh-in every week or 2 weeks. Due to having 7 months, I would personally weigh in every 2 weeks, always at the same time on weigh-in day. First thing in the morning is perfect. There is no need to buy expensive body fat measuring scales, all you need is a basic set of weighing scales. Also, take a picture of yourself on the first day of the challenge and then once a month thereafter to compare, this will be just as much of a motivator as seeing the numbers on the scales go down.
We would use the monthly and halfway point weigh-ins as a guide as to whether the plan is working or not. Fat loss can be very quick early on and then slow down so we would take this into consideration. If you achieved your goal earlier then planned, great! If we find that the weight is not coming down we would simply assess, adapt and overcome this. Not every single weigh-in will be perfect which should never dishearten you, a simple adjustment is sometimes all that is needed.
At the 14 week point, if the client has lost roughly 1 Stone in weight, then we know that the plan is working and continue in exactly the same manner. If we are short of the target then adjustments can be made, never losing focus of the goal is the key. Defining your plan should take no more than 10-15 minutes and trust me, it is worth doing when striving towards any goal.
Executing the plan is a whole different topic and discussion, but the first and most important step is defining the plan and writing it down! I am currently working on some exciting fitness and well-being content that will suit every individual so please keep an eye out for this.
I hope you gained some benefit from this blog and I look forward to engaging with you all throughout 2022.
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