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Can you still achieve your health and fitness goals over Christmas?

Health and fitness goals can be challenging at the best of times and let me tell you timing is everything.

By Stuart Perry, Personal Trainer at Bangor

Health and fitness goals can be challenging at the best of times and let me tell you timing is everything. What might be an easy to achieve goal at one time of the year can be incredibly challenging at another time and when we look at other people’s achievements, we often see the end product not the journey or sacrifice it took them to get there, giving the illusion that the same outcome is realistic for everyone.

When setting a goal we are quick to think about what we want and why we want it, it’s human nature to dream and imagine exactly what it would feel like to have that thing or be that way, in fact we even get a hit of dopamine just imagining achieving our goals so it’s not your fault, we are hard wired that way and it clouds our judgment of the real question we should be asking which is what sacrifice am I willing to give to get this goal? What am I willing to give up or do to achieve this?

Because in most cases the bigger the goal the bigger the cost, nothing is free. Now when we look at goal setting over Christmas, we are essentially increasing the cost of most health and fitness goals, especially weight loss goals! Due to more socializing, food, and alcohol-based activities. Our time is also put under constrains in most cases. So that means saying no a lot more and missing out on a lot more activities. Pretty discouraging right? So how do we get past this, so we are still able to progress in right direction closer to our goal.

The first step is setting really clear expectations with yourself around what is realistic during this time and what you would be HAPPY to do through Christmas, not what you will tolerate, what you are HAPPY to do.

I often recommend my clients set a routine goal instead of an outcome goal over this time. An example of this may look like set aside 30 minutes at the start of each day to exercise and track it in MyVision. This is instead of having a goal like lose 3kgs over Christmas.

The process goal is completely in your control and a lot easier to problem solve with really the only barrier is time where the outcome goal of losing 3kgs has a lot more factors involved some of which may not be in your control, and you may not be happy to stick to. Ironically the person who was exercising each day for 30 minutes over Christmas is far more likely to come out the other side in better shape and with less body fat and more ready to get straight back into things in the new year.

Whereas the person who set a weight loss goal is more likely to come into the new year either discouraged because they did not hit their goal or resentful because they hit their goal and missed out on a lot of events over Christmas either way far less likely to get straight back into their training and goals in the new year.

In short, my Christmas training checklist is as follows:

  1. Set a routine/process goal not an outcome goal.
  2. Pick a routine/process that makes you HAPPY not that you tolerate this is a time to give back to yourself and feel good!
  3. Moderation! You would be surprised how far you get with food and alcohol if you just stop and ask yourself to do, I really want all this or is it just in front of me
  4. Make it social, grab a mate and involve them in your training keep each other accountable and have fun!
  5. Do not beat yourself up! Something is better than nothing it is a very short time period getting back to your regular training routine as soon as possible is ideal

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