It’s that time of the year when people set goals for a ‘new year new me’ and there are many great articles in magazines and online resources to help with setting goals for the new year. Reading one of these new year goal setting articles recently myself, an important part of goal setting is not only setting what your targets are, but also acknowledging the barriers or things that can ‘derail’ your new found motivation. I will talk about some important tips for not only setting goals but how to ensure your old habits don’t creep up on you and sabotage all your hard effort!
Firstly I see too many things in our society promising ‘quick fixes’, all you have to do is watch the commercials on TV or magazines making promises about dropping 10kg quickly or having rock hard abs. The truth is good health, fitness and weight loss takes time, think about how many years your weight has increased gradually year after year eventually to the point where you accept that that is how heavy you are, or that walking up a flight of stairs causes you to get very short of breath.
This transition into a heavier, unhealthier version creeps up so slowly that it becomes the new normal. A question I read recently was about the process of weight loss – ‘What option is better: losing 15kg over 4 years or losing 25kg in 6 months but then regaining 10kg in the next 6 months?. This kind of up and down weight loss often makes future weight loss attempts harder. I believe the quicker you lose a large amount of weight the greater chance you have of regaining that weight (plus even a few more kg) as you haven’t given yourself and your body to adapt and practice the healthy lifestyle habits that you need to keep the weight off in the long term.
Next I would like to highlight the need to identify what the main barriers will be to you achieving your goals and most importantly ways of how to tackle them so that they do not ‘derail’ you and kick you off track. Everyone has to deal with a busy work life, family life and stress and these are often the common things that get in the way of exercising or cooking a nutritious meal. These ‘derailers’ will look different for each person for example if meetings and lunches at work get in the way of you following your nutritious goals, what can you do about it to ensure you don’t consume the calorie dense foods that are on offer.
The one thing that all of this always comes back to is organization and preparation. If you know you are going to be short on time and haven’t got time to prepare a healthy meal when you get home, prepare a bit extra the day before to ensure you have something nutritious on hand.
If you or someone you know needs more tips on planning and ways to overcome barriers to new years’ goals, please speak to your exercise physiologist who will be more than happy to help.