When it comes to setting goals, and keeping to them there are a number of fancy apps and what not that will help. I advocate the use of a good old-fashioned paper diary as it is completely customisable to suit your individual needs and also because most of us could do without adding another digital something to our lives!
1. Be Clear About Your Goals
Take a piece of paper (or a blank page in your diary) and brainstorm, mind map, make lists; just get down your thoughts and feeling about your health and your fitness. Use this to create SMART goals that you really care about.
2. Date Them
If you’ve used the SMART system for goal setting effectively you’ll have deadlines in mind for your goals. Write these in your diary now. Get them down, make them real.
*Top Tip: Write them in pencil. This doesn’t make them any less important or easier to bypass however when it comes to fitness goals you are constantly assessing your progress and sometimes you need to change your schedule accordingly.
3. Create a Habit Tracker
Habits are hard to break and similarly can take up to a month to create. Use a page in your diary or include a weekly / daily section where you tick off your successes, i.e. your glasses of water, every twenty minutes of activity, your steps etc (these will depend on what your goals are).
These trackers provide a visual reminder of your goals, your progress and helps you identify any weak spots, i.e. if you miss things out every Wednesday you can put something into place to help with this.
4. Stagger Your Goals
Don’t be tempted to set all your goals to start from January onwards. Quitting smoking, losing weight, cutting back on the alcohol, beating your personal best, swimming extra lengths, increasing your steps and adding a new sport to your repertoire all at once is a tall order. Use the diary calendar section to space these things out, although still ensure each goal has smaller goals and deadlines attached to it.
5. Make it Visual
Your diary doesn’t need to be bland and boring. Whether you are using a diary for fitness alone or incorporating these fitness goals into your main diary there’s no reason why you can’t stick some pictures in, the odd doodle, quote or reminder. Visual reminders can really help with motivation.
Schedule a time (in your diary) to regularly sit down and assess your progress. Check physical success i.e. speed, weight, how many days you’ve managed to keep going but also how you felt. If you’ve managed to get into the habit of writing a few words, i.e. what you did when and how it felt you might well find this information invaluable for reassessing your goals and setting new ones.