Why the Small Things Count If You Want To Achieve Your Goals

Well happy New Year! As we get into 2013 the spate of New Year, new you offers and promotions are everywhere over the popular media.

There is good reason, most people do overcook it massively in the Christmas holidays, overeating, overindulging and generally not being very active. The general message and the way a lot of exercisers feel or are pressured to feel is to change everything in the short term rather than changing habits promoting long term change. In the habit formation research is well documented that if you have one goal you are more likely to achieve your primary goal if it is your sole objective. If you take this out to multiple goals the chances of success become smaller. I don’t mean goals like lose weight or build 4 kg of muscle mass what I mean is the smaller targets you set for yourself.

For example, your overall goal may be to lose weight or run a marathon. If you broke this down in to an attainable goal such as run intervals three times this week, get three weights sessions in or add an additional portion of vegetables to each of your meals these are small measurable targets which over time can be maintained.

If you say in the first week of January I am going to be eat more vegetables, drink more water and take part in activity five times a week the multiple goals involved in this process decreases the chances of success in each additional goal that you set.

It’s the small things that count a lot of the time. Wholesale change is an ineffective way of achieving your goals, that is why the diet and slimming industry is so big- people who achieve long-term change are successful as they create a number of habits over a period of tome which lead them towards the overall goal.

So how do you achieve your fitness and nutrition targets? Set small measurable achievable goals broken down into the simplest processes there are, forget about the overall result, that will come by undertaking a number of successful habits. It could be simply drink 2 L of water a day, drink one cup of green tea every time you are hungry, include nuts as an afternoon snack, focus on your primary exercises in the gym (this means the thing that you do first), make sure your warm up is really well structured to lead you into the good session these small little things will make a difference to your overall result.

Too often we become bogged down by changing everything and achieving nothing. Make this the year of habit formation and you’ll reap the rewards of success in your long-term goals. Often when I work with my clients at results fast I will set people goals for the week, that might be a session target, it might be a nutrition target. Either way it’s only one goal- it is one thing that they have to process, one thing that they have to think about, therefore they are more likely to achieve their target. The plus side obviously as well is that they had someone to be accountable to as well so writing your goal as a message on the fridge, a post it note on your computer or keep a note in a notebook, just somewhere where you can set targets. This way you also improve your adherence to the goal by having a culpability factor involved.

So the lesson learnt from this post is only set a small number of goals perhaps one of for exercise/ training and one for nutrition and aim to form those goals into habits once you have achieve those goals and then you can think about other processes and other targets. Reset and assess your goals on a weekly basis and enhance adherence by writing them down.



Published by ianmellis

Ian Mellis MSc. CSCS is the co-founder of Results FAST (www.resultsfast.com)based in Ware, Hertfordshire. Specialising in athletic development, physique improvement and injury rehabilitation he provides personal training, strength and conditioning and nutrition coaching for motivated exercisers and those looking to make a long term change to their health, fitness and performance.

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