Here is how to be SMART when making New Year fitness goals

Dan Donohue
Dan Donohue
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Fitness columnist Dan Donohue writes about setting realistic goals for keeping fit.

Over the last couple of weeks in our regular columns, we have been tackling the subject of how to keep our nutrition in check over the most wonderful time of the year.

In this week’s column, we’ll move onwards with more tips on how to bulldoze your way into the new year, whilst also allowing for a little bit of indulgence.

The problem with new year’s resolutions is the vast majority fail with their hopes and aspirations before the middle of February. Let’s hope that our columns over the next two weeks will give you a little push to make sure that your chosen targets are something that will get you up and out and ready to push on for your best year yet.

First things first, when goal setting we use a very simple mnemonic called SMART. Specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and set against a timeline. Being specific is going to be the biggest marker that you will lay down as you set out to achieve your goals this year. So many people have a very vague and hazy outlook on what they want to achieve. Pull your goals apart until you find something that will make you get out of bed on a cold and frosty February morning, rather than pulling the warm covers up and over your head. It should relate to a specific aspect of your health and or fitness.

It needs to be measurable. It needs to be a quantifiable statement of intent. Plan it step-by-step and track your progress as you move through the coming weeks or months. Be patient.

Is your goal attainable? The most common goal we hear is that people want to lose weight. That’s cool, but how much and in what timeframe? Make sure that you are not applying unrealistic pressure on yourself.

Is your goal realistic? Be aware of external factors that may hinder your progress such as work, holidays, illness or family and factor those into your plan. We often forget to look into our lifestyle and our general day-to-day activity. Set a deadline. Stay on course and make any necessary adjustments to hit this deadline as you go. Set a date and go after it until you reach it.

Make every effort to stick to your well-established routine when it comes to working out. There will be days or nights when that isn’t possible, so look ahead and plan accordingly to enable you to get in your usual workouts whether that be a run or a Crossfit session. If you can’t do your normal session, switch it up and use a very simple home workout off YouTube.

Dehydration can often leave you feeling as though you are hungry, when what your brain is really trying to tell you is that you need water. Drinking water will help you to avoid what you feel may be hunger triggers which leave you reaching for the Quality Street. Hit that general marker of two to three litres a day, you’ll be grateful for it, and so will your waistline as you try to squeeze back into your work clothes.

Finally, one to be deployed all year, not just at Christmas. Watching your portion sizes will massively help. Go quality over quantity. Ask yourself if you need another scoop of sausage and bacon, or could you have a few more veggies?