2020 vision

In Trucker's Health, February 20206 MinutesBy Laura PeacockMarch 17, 2020

There is one day of the year where your hopes and aspirations are flying at full mast, you are filled to the eyeballs with trifle and Christmas ham, and possibly feeling the aftermath of a well-celebrated New Year‘s Eve. 1 January. Relaxed, excited, and ready to take on the year. But who really knows what this year will bring – we don‘t have 2020 vision. First dad joke out of the way. After the amazing time spent with family and friends we can start re-evaluating where we are at and what we would like to achieve in the coming year. I‘m about to utter those three words that everyone gets sick of hearing – New Year‘s resolutions. What I have come to find with the old New Year‘s ressos is that they are often wildly ambitious and extremely unachievable: ‘will climb Everest in 2020‘. However, as I have learned over the years, the more measurable and specific your goals are, the more likely you are to achieve them and also the more likely you will be to continue setting goals for yourself in the future.

What often works really well for my clients is setting a ‘personal‘ goal, a ‘fitness‘ goal, and a ‘nutrition‘ goal. This moves away from the weight-based goal (‘I want to be 60kg by March‘). I find if people base their health goals solely on the number that appears between their feet, they often feel disheartened or upset if they don‘t reach said goal and tend to go backwards or self-sabotage. Whereas, if you base your goal on something a bit deeper and more valuable, such as ‘I will run 5km without stopping‘, your goal is measurable, achievable and will indicate that your fitness level has improved. Your weight dropping on the scales doesn‘t always accurately indicate any improvements in your strength or fitness levels, which is what is really important. I have absolutely nothing against setting massive goals for yourself – in fact, I encourage it. They can be motivating, encouraging, and aspirational. However, I do think it‘s important to set yourself stepping-stone goals in the meantime.
For example:
• Big goal – I will run a half marathon in August.
• Stepping-stone goals – I will run 2km in February, 5km in March, 8km in April, 11km in May, 14km in June, 17km in July and 21km in August.

In terms of nutrition goals, it‘s important to be honest with yourself and look at where you could most improve your eating. Whether it be reducing your portion sizes at dinner (buying yourself smaller plates) or eating less chocolate because you‘ve got a massive sweet tooth (two choccy bars a week instead of five). You would be surprised how much these small steps add up over time and create massive changes in your health.

Personal goals are just that – personal to you. My clients often struggle with setting personal goals as it is so broad – the world is your oyster. Many want to spend more time with friends and family, come home earlier from work, finish that book that they‘ve had for years, or start doing yoga/meditation. Whatever it may be, it has to be important to you and realistic. If it‘s something that someone else wants for you and not something you want for yourself, you are unlikely to achieve it. Without the passion and desire to achieve something, you will really struggle to get over the line. There is an abundance of ways that you can improve your health. You don‘t have to jump on the latest bandwagon or fitness craze, do fitness classes that make you feel uncomfortable, or do something just because your friends are doing it. I am a firm believer that absolutely everyone can find a type/style of exercise they enjoy; whether it be walking, swimming, biking, gym classes, gym workouts, hiking, or team sports.

Once you figure out what your cup of tea is, you‘re more likely to stick with it than if you‘re trying to force yourself to do something that you don‘t enjoy just for the sake of it. The same applies with eating healthily. What your friends and family do and enjoy may not be right for you. But there‘s not just one way to eat healthily – explore different options, do some research, and find healthy foods that you enjoy and are likely to keep including in your meals. There‘s no use blocking your nose and trying to down Brussels sprouts, because let‘s face it – that will last a week at max. So get the ball rolling, set yourself a fitness, nutrition and personal goal for 2020. Think big, but set yourself steppingstone goals that are measurable, doable, realistic and personal to you – and you can‘t go wrong.