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Tom Opper is an online personal trainer at Top Fitness. He has outlined five top tips on how to set and stick to your exercise goals this year.
Tom recommended that slimmers think about why they want to lose weight and keep fit – this will motivate them to keep at it and be consistent in their goal.
The personal trainer said: “The motivation that the New Year provides is great for an initial boost, but is very rarely enough in isolation to create the long-term discipline we need.
“To create fitness goals that stick, you need to look beyond the action itself to why you are setting the goal.”
He continued: “Rather than focussing on a resolution around wanting to lose weight, think about why you want to lose weight in the first place, and the areas in which this would improve your life.
“For example, would you like to be better able to keep up with your kids?
“Would you like to fit back into your favourite pair of jeans?
“Would you like to set a better example to those around you?
“Your ‘why’ will be unique to you, rooted in your own values and personal goals.
“Once you find it, you’ll have a fantastic, powerful reason to carry on whenever motivation dips.”
Procrastination is a difficult habit to break but, according to Tom, the easiest way out of it is to “take imperfect action”.
“Just start,” he said.
“You’ll be surprised at how capable you already are, and once you’ve already started with your resolution you will quickly figure out where the gaps in your knowledge or capabilities currently lie, and you can then work on these as you go.”
In order to achieve a goal, Tom said it is “critical to ensure you have determined how your success will be measured from the outset”.
He continued: “SMART goals – standing for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-Bound – are key to this, ensuring you have a clearly-defined, measured goal, as well as a timeframe in which you must achieve it.
“For example, ‘I want to lose weight this year’ would not be an effective goal as you may never lose enough weight to feel satisfied, because you haven’t worked out how success looks to you.
“An example of a relevant SMART goal here could be ‘I want to lose five pounds of bodyweight by February 28, which I will achieve by adhering to a calorie deficit and walking 8,000 steps a day’.
“The second goal is far more effective because it gives clear parameters for success – you either lose your goal weight in the timeframe or you don’t – as well as measurable supporting behaviours you will adopt to achieve your goal.”
Tom’s other tips included “focussing on the process, rather than the result” and “creating a strong support network”.
He said: “While having an overarching weight loss goal can be a strong source of motivation, focussing exclusively on losing weight isn’t advisable, as your body weight can easily fluctuate by around half a stone daily due to hydration, digestion and even your toilet habits, which can lead to unexpected results on the scales and feelings of failure.
“Instead, consider focussing on process-based goals that are more in your power to influence, such as sticking to a weekly calorie deficit, setting a daily step count, and a target to work out three times a week.
“This way, you will still be making progress towards your overall outcome goal, but with clear, actionable processes in place that make the outcome both more tangible and achievable.”
Meanwhile, to create a strong support network, Tom advised that slimmers share their goal with friends and family.
“This creates a powerful sense of accountability, and this commitment is often more difficult to go back on than a promise just made to yourself,” the personal trainer added.
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