With a shiny new year, comes a shiny new set of goals to think about. In January everyone is all about getting fit, which, like I said last week, is a rubbish goal, or losing weight.
I haven’t set New Years Resolutions for years, which is obviously why I’ve waited until we’re already 2 weeks into the year to write this. I do like to set goals, though, as long as they are the right kind of goals and I think once the New Year positivity has faded a little is a good time to set them. I like to have something to work toward to help keep me organised and on track. I set goals at the start of each week, so setting them at the start of the year makes sense as a structure so all my little weekly goals can work towards my yearly goals.
Specifically today I’m going to talk about my fitness goals as after a funny couple of years healthwise, this is where my personal priorities are this year. If you’re looking for a new yearly challenge that doesn’t involve losing weight or the depressingly non specific “getting fit” then maybe there’ll be something here for you. I do have other non-fitness goals too, ones that involve wearing lipstick more often, but maybe I’ll save those for another time.
Before Christmas I signed up for the 12in12 challenge and I’m really looking forward to it.
Once you’ve signed up the aim is to take part or volunteer at an event every month. You can choose the event, whether it’s a big organised one, a virtual event or a challenge you’ve made up yourself, and you just need to log the details each month, and at the end of the year you get a medal and e-certificate
As a goal it fits all my criteria perfectly. It fits in with the sort of life I want to live, is long term, taking in the whole year, but also flexible as if injury or financial issues get in the way volunteering and free events count.
I’m signed up for my first event this Sunday, the Snetterton 10k, and I have 3 other events booked in already. I’m also looking forward to doing some virtual events, because some of them have very cool medals and that is, frankly, a priority.
Work Towards a Bodyweight Pull Up
You will notice that this goal is to “work towards”. A reason that I stopped making those wonderful “smart” goals is that failure is inherently built-in. Last year I started working towards a full pull up, and promptly injured my shoulder in a way that meant at this point I am at a starting point a good few months back from where I even started last year.
Even if you “revise your goals”, we all secretly have that feeling of failure, and that’s not motivating.
So, the upshot of all that wittering, is that my goal is to work towards a bodyweight pull up. I’m not in control of whether I actually manage it, what I am in control of is the work I do towards getting there. That means rewriting my own gym program to include more upper body and back work, and maintaining consistency in my workouts and nutrition. So there.
Nutrition can be a touchy subject, but it’s not always about weight loss. An average person will lose weight if in a calorie deficit, but there are other reasons to keep an eye on your nutrition.
Macro and micronutrient intake are important for performance, recovery and mental health, and over the last couple of years I have let my diet slip. Yes, I’ve gained some weight, but more importantly I’ve also had more problems with my mental health, more injuries and a lot less energy.
Different things work for different people. I’ve added different methods of tracking and managing nutrition to my future blog post list, but what works for me is tracking everything I eat. And not just on the days when I’ve prepped my lunch and breakfast and tucked into broccoli and sweet potato for lunch, on the days when I’ve had pizza and wine for tea too.
My brain loves stats, and when I do this I start immediately spotting patterns in my energy levels and mental health. In the past I’ve found weeks where I thought I was being so angelic, but actually wasn’t eating enough and my energy levels have dipped as well as noting interesting facts like I sleep better before big Roller Derby games if I have ONE beer the night before.
My goal here isn’t to eat nutritionally perfect meals and spend my days sipping iced water, it’s to regain some balance and control and get my energy levels back.
Keep a Journal
This is something I discovered in the latter part of last year thanks to an article in Runners World that suggested using Bullet Journals for running, so I started one for my Half Marathon training.
I use it to plan my week and month out in advance, and to log the details of each run and cross-training, as well as recovery, water and alcohol intake, sleep and steps.
As before, this taps into my love of stats and planning. I have apps and technology that automatically record a lot of this information, but the act of physically writing it down brings me more in touch with the information and helps me spot patterns. A whole week of 7 hours sleep a night followed by a great energetic run, hmmm, wonder if there’s a link there? A week where I filled in NOTHING in the recovery section and now my old knee injury is niggling, hmmmm, wonder if THAT could mean anything?
This goal crosses over into my non-fitness goals as well. It’s a handy use for all those notebooks I keep buying and never using and I’m using multiple journals to track different things.
And by that, I mean more consistently as well. As part of maintaining my Personal Trainer registration I have to undertake a certain amount of further training each year. This year I signed up for an online, self-guided, introduction to strength and conditioning course, but have found myself trying to cram all the study into the last few weeks of the year.
When life gets busy, one of the first things to go is “self-improvement” time. My brain seems to have convinced itself it’s not actually work, and I feel guilty for taking the time to study and read.
So my goal for this year is to not only complete my essential CPD, but each week make sure I’ve taken time for at least one hour of “study” time, reading books, completing courses, hell, even the odd time spent reading fitness magazines and blogs or listening to podcasts.
I’ll be a better person, and a better Personal Trainer for it.
And those are my specific fitness-related goals for 2020, flexible, realistic, and hopefully achievable.
Do you have any goals for 2020?