I bet you’ve lost count of how many New Year’s resolutions you’ve broken. And I bet you’ve broken one already this year. That’s why I’m telling you not to make any.

If you want to make positive changes to your health and fitness, then don’t make resolutions this January. Ditch them. The large majority of people do not stick to them and inevitably end up feeling discouraged and uninspired due to the lack of commitment and success.

Generally speaking, it is because New Year resolutions are often dreams instead of realistic goals. Somehow, we think that we can achieve in a month what we’ve never been able to achieve throughout the course of the whole previous year. Of course we’re going to fail!

So this year, don’t promise yourself unreachable resolutions, or dreams, and instead, sit down and do some solid goal setting. This will make all the difference and you will have a much better chance of actually reaching those ‘dreams’.

Goal setting is different to resolutions because they are SMART. It is the difference between saying ‘I’m going to get fit and lose weight’, to setting a SMART goal of ‘losing 3 Kg by Easter’. I strongly recommend that you write your goals down. You may know what you want to achieve, but getting them out of your head and on to paper can really clarify things and is the first step to commitment. Once you’ve written them down, then put them somewhere you can see them so it can motivate you on a daily basis.

It’s a good idea to set a range of goals, broken down in to time slots, for example, what you want to achieve in the next month, by three months, six months and by this time next year.  This makes it much more realistic and not so overwhelming!

When setting goals, no matter what size, and no matter how many, make sure they include the following, to ensure a greater chance of success:

S – Specific: Be very clear and detailed about what you want to achieve. Don’t be general.

M – Measurable: Put a value on it. How will you know if you’ve achieved your goal if you can’t measure it?

A – Attainable: Ensure your goal is something that you can actually achieve, and isn’t just a dream. Make sure you haven’t set the bar too high. I’m all for reaching for the stars, but just ensure you aren’t setting yourself up for a fall.

R – Realistic: Ask yourself if achieving your goal is realistic. Will it be possible to achieve your goal with the commitment needed, resources available and desire to do it?

T – Time-bound: Put a time on each goal for when you want to achieve it by. This will not only keep you on track but will help immensely if you break up big goals in to many smaller ones with a shorter time frame, as it will help avoid that overwhelming feeling of a large goal being unreachable!

It can also help if you share your goals with somebody as this will help keep you on track. Make it public. Tell your family, post it on Facebook and ask your colleagues to nag you about it. If people around you are constantly talking to you about your goals, it will help keep them in the front of your mind.

But the most important thing is, once you’ve set your goals then get going. Stop the ‘planning’ and start the ‘doing’, because planning will never get you to the finish line.

Happy New Year Everyone!