Christmas decorations are going up, supermarket shelves are stacked high with mince pies, Baileys and other festive treats. You’ve probably got boozy or food-filled celebrations planned with work, friends and family from now until New Year’s Day.
It hardly seems like the time to be setting fitness goals, does it?
If you’re thinking that now isn’t the time to be aiming for a running PB or to get down to your ideal weight, you’re right. Quite frankly, if you try it you’re likely to fail and feel rubbish (or perhaps succeed but have the most miserable Christmas ever known).
But setting small, manageable goals now could limit the damage you do over the festive period and leave you in good stead for 2019, ready to take on those really meaty fitness and health goals.
Now, there’s an art to goal-setting and we’re going to share it with you, so you can still enjoy the festivities, but keep a handle on your health as well.
You just have to be SMART about it.
“Lose weight” or “Keep exercising over Christmas” are rubbish goals. There are no boundaries and nothing tangible for you to really track. Be specific, if you want to lose weight, say how much and by when. You want to keep exercising over Christmas, say how you’re going to do it. For example ‘I’ll train twice a week in the gym and do one run every week in December’
Make it Measurable
In most cases this will mean adding a number, whether that’s weight lost, hours of exercise or number of training sessions completed. You need to give yourself something to track in order to stick to it and have accountability.
Set Attainable Targets
We all want to shoot for the stars, but if you want to train five days a week in December you’re going to struggle when the gym isn’t open for a week. Make sure you’re aware of logistical barriers like this and also more psychological barriers, set goals that are too ambitious and you’ll lose motivation when you fail. Make them too easy and you won’t feel like you’ve achieved anything. Find the middle ground.
Be Relevant to You
Think about where you are in your life right now. Is the goal you’ve set really relevant. Will it provide you a real benefit physically and emotionally? Is losing a stone before Christmas REALLY that important to you right now, or are you doing it because you think you should? Assess your goal and tweak it to be meaningful to you. A good example might be maintaining weight in certain range over the Christmas break, so you’re ready to tackle bigger goals in the New Year, rather than starting from scratch.
Set a Time Frame or Deadline
You need a deadline or time frame to give your goal meaning at keep you motivated. For example, “lose X a week until 31st December” or “Train 15 times by 24th December”.
Perform Fitness Family: Goal Setting Example
Here’s an example of a SMART goals from our members:
“I’ve made a lot of progress this year and don’t want to blow it all over Christmas. That said, I also want to go out and have fun, so I have come up with a compromise. I want to be at my average weight (between 75-78 kg) when I get back in the gym in the New Year (Relevant).
As well as hitting my 30 session goal by 24th December 2018 aim to maintain my average weight of between 75-78 kg (Specific and Measurable), until the gym opens again on Wednesday 2nd January (Time-bound).
When I’m not out I’ll do my best to stick to a slightly more relaxed version of my nutrition plan and I’m going to weigh myself on Mondays (in the gym when possible) to keep track of how I’m doing. I’ll modify things if I need to but i’m definitely not going to stress about perfection (Attainable).”