We’re (finally) coming to the end of January, the month that always seems to go on forever! Just a month ago we were all celebrating the start of the new decade, and thinking about goals and aspirations we wanted to achieve this year.
How are these going for you? Are you well on your way to achieving them? Or do they seem like a distant dream you’re already thinking you might leave for 2021?
At Animated Physiotherapy, we hope to encourage everyone to move more freely, feel stronger, and give advice to help you start taking steps towards any health-related goals you may have. Our lifestyle choices play a big part in us becoming the healthiest version of ourselves, and so a holistic approach needs to be taken to achieve this.
So here are our tips on how you can keep working towards your goals, keep them achievable, and how to not give up!
Think of a habit you can make which will help you work towards your goal.
A good way to do this is to complete this sentence: I will [BEHAVIOR] at [TIME(s) & DAY(s)] in [LOCATION].
For example, if your goal is fitness related: “I will attend pilates for one hour at 5:30pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays at Animated Physiotherapy’s studio.”
The aim is that once you have done this for a few weeks, the repetition will give you the urge to do your activity on the day(s) and time(s) you have made for them.
Try breaking your end goal down into smaller, achievable chunks. This changes your focus, whilst gradually helping you work towards your goal, making it seem more achievable and less overwhelming.
For example, if your goal is to run a 5km Parkrun in 12 week time, you could plan:
- To walk 5km at a brisk pace in 4 weeks time
- To complete 5km, done as jogging for 2 minutes, walking for 1 minute in 6 weeks time
- Jog for 15 minutes without stopping in 8 weeks time
- Jog for 15 minutes, walk for 5 minutes, jog for 10 minutes in 10 weeks time
- Jog a 5km Parkrun in 12 weeks time
If you give yourself 2-4 weeks to focus on at a time, each short-term goal is much nearer, making it much easier to keep your focus.
Find your ‘why’
Make sure your goal is meaningful.
For example, if you have been diagnosed with a health condition which has evidence that exercising regularly will help to manage or reduce your symptoms, this is likely to help keep you motivated to stick with working towards your goal. Be mindful of having a purpose behind any goals you have set.
Replace, don’t eliminate
Remember that lots of small changes will add up in the end.
For example, if your goal is weight-loss, if you have identified that you are snacking on chocolate after dinner, try replacing the chocolate with a healthier option like a handful of nuts, some fruit, or some popcorn. This will help make the goal much more achievable, as rather than feeling like you have an empty space where you are not having your usual snack, you have replaced it with a healthier option. You are much less likely to sink back into old habits if you replace rather than eliminate.
Goals are always easier if you work with a peer trying to achieve the same thing.
If your goal is to run a Parkrun, find a friend who also wants to do it to train with. If you want to increase the amount of exercise you are doing, sign up to a class with a friend who would like to try the same one. If you are trying to eat more healthily or lose weight, try joining a support group such as Slimming World.
Have a back-up plan to help stop you from giving up
This will help you keep with the intention of working towards your goal even if you can see you have gone a little off track.
The phrase, “If ________, then _______” can be really helpful to use to make your mantra.
For example, you’ve been stuck at work, “If I miss my pilates class, then I’ll complete a YouTube session at home before I eat my dinner / the next morning before I leave for work.”
This gives you a back-up plan for overcoming unexpected events. Whilst you can’t control when some things crop up, it helps you keep accountable and gives you a clear way to keep working towards your goal.
We hope this has helped give you some ideas of sticking with those goals, and we hope you are still on-track for making 2020 your healthiest year yet!