It’s the new year! Tis the season to make those New Years resolutions! For many, this includes becoming a better version of themselves. Whether it is to spend more time with family, be present in the moment or try a new hobby, resolutions are a great way to make positive changes in your life. One common resolution is to “get fit this year”. While I think this is a great starting point (my inner personal trainer is doing happy burpees for you!) what does “get fit” really mean? And how will you know when you have achieved your “get fit” resolution?
That’s where this handy list comes in! Using the following tips, transform your vague “get fit” goal into a specific, measurable, and achievable goal. (Since the odds of keeping your resolution is 1 in 8 according to one article. Yikes!)
-Do keep it simple but not vague! Be specific with what you would like to achieve with your goal. Whether it be “hold a handstand on my own” (this was one of my own goals one year), “run a 10km race” “Return the ring to Mount Doom” or “be able to do a set of 20 push-ups in a row”, a specific goal narrows the focus from the ambiguous “get fit” goal. It gives focus and direction, which makes it easy to create a plan to achieve the goal.

-Do create a time line! When do you want to achieve your goal? Is it 6 months down the road? 1 month? Two weeks? This is a huge step towards creating stepping stones to reaching your large goal, as it will let you know how hard you will have to work. Giving yourself 3 weeks to be ready to compete at American Ninja Warrior? Better prep for a ton of work right away! (And have a great coaching team lined up!) Giving yourself 6 months? The approach can be more gradual and there is more time to cross train and figure out what works best for you. (And build yourself a course in your back yard!)

-Do set mini milestones! (And celebrate them!) Break the goal down into smaller goals, such as running 1 km 3x/week (especially if you are a non runner to start with), and celebrate when you have finished the first week. No, not with chocolate cake, (the cake is a lie anyways) but celebrate by creating a new playlist with new music to run to or treating yourself to a “Yoga for Runners” class. That way you stay motivated and reward the progress, not just the end. (Because a healthy life is an epic journey, not a sprint!)
-Do use the FITT principle and write it down! What is the FITT principle you ask? FITT stands for Frequency, Intensity, Type and Time , and is used by organizations such as CSEP to prescribe exercise to clients. It encompasses a few of the above ideas into a simple package, especially if you are writing down your goals. Frequency “outlines how often an activity occurs, usually in days per week.” Is it once a week? 3 times a week? This is the start of how much a time commitment your goal will be. Intensity “refers to the level of exertion that an individual experiences when performing the activity”.3 How hard are you working? Is it running from a T-Rex in Jurassic Park intense? Or a leisurely stroll down to Hogsmeade? Create a scale that makes sense to you, and keep track of how hard you work. Type “refers to the modality of the exercise such as aerobic, resistance training, balance training, flexibility training, power training, agility training etc.”3 What are you doing to get your sweat on? Record this as simply or as complexed as you feel needed. Time “refers to the total duration of the activity in minutes”3. How long did you do each activity? Include each activities time separately, as this will help you see if you are spending more time doing aerobic activities when you should be focused on resistance training to improve your upper body strength to wield your broad sword. By using the FITT principle, your notes will be concise and consistent, just like your goal!

-Don’t stress if things don’t go as planned! Took an extra day off this week? Got a cold and was in bed for 5 days? It’s 40+ degrees outside during run time? Don’t fret! Modify and move forward! Life is full of hiccups and not everything goes perfectly all the time. See it as a new opportunity to try something different like swimming in the ocean when it’s too hot to run. What is most important is to get back on the horse and make the needed changes to your activity to keep on track to achieve your goal.
-Do share your goals and resolutions with others! Not only will this make you more accountable, it may just find you a new workout partner. Who knows who you might inspire to get up and get moving?
And lastly:

-Do make goals year round, not just in January! Goal setting isn’t just a new year thing. It is always goal setting month, so keep making, modifying and completing goals year round!

Whatever your fitness goal is, start off with a solid foundation! So what is your New Year’s Fitness Resolution?

Happy training!
-SB

P.S. Sorry for the terrible citations. My APA formatting isn’t what it used to be!

1. “Of the 317 million adults in the US only 1 in 2.2 make a New Year’s resolution. Of these 1 in 8 or 17.8 million will keep it for a year.” The Odds of Actually Keeping Your New Year’s Resolution, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/louise-firth-campbell-/post_6564_b_4602842.html?ir=Australia Updated: 17/03/2014.
2.Course:KIN366/ConceptLibrary/ChildhoodExercisePrescription, http://wiki.ubc.ca/Course:KIN366/ConceptLibrary/ChildhoodExercisePrescription, Last modified: 28/02/2015.
3. http://wiki.ubc.ca/Course:KIN366/ConceptLibrary/ChildhoodExercisePrescription

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