Getting into shape for the new year


There’s no denying that it can be hard to find the motivation to exercise, especially when it’s cold and wet outside. However with the weather starting to pick up and with longer days due to daylight savings you might find that it gets easier to set health and fitness goals for yourself and thus be on the way to a healthier and happier you.

So what’s the best way to set goals for yourself and make sure that they last? Here are a few tips.

1. Choose physical activities that you enjoy.

While some forms of physical activities might burn more calories quicker, the truth is that unless you enjoy that activity chances are that you won’t stick to it in the long run. So if you hate jogging but enjoy power walking go for that. You can always do a longer power walk and go for walks more frequently, which will ultimately result in a similar or even better outcome to going for a short jog infrequently.

One very good form of exercise is Clinical Pilates. It can be quite gentle or very strenuous – depending in the needs of each person. Some of the benefits of Clinical Pilates include the following:

  • Strong core muscles which help to treat/prevent back, neck and joint pain and allow you to exercise safely and effectively
  • Flat abs
  • Generally improved muscle tone and strength
  • Improved overall body shape
  • Good posture
  • Avoiding potential injuries due to incorrect technique and overstraining

2. Use a systematic approach and be consistent in order to remain motivated.

The reality is that all of us can at times be tempted to go for the “quick” fix, trying the next fad diet, using weight loss supplements or hitting the gym hard for a little while. However, the real key to reaching your health and fitness goals sooner is to be consistent.

Try to set a few realistic and achievable goals and make sure that the results can be easily measured. For example you might set the following goals for yourself:

  • Doing the physical activity of your choice (e.g. power walking) 3-5 times/week to achieve at least 4-5 hours of exercise in total each week
  • Not having dinner later than 6.30pm
  • Having a heavier lunch and a lighter dinner
  • Eating 3 serves of raw fruits and 5 servings of raw vegetables daily
  • Drinking 1.5-2L of water daily
  • Getting 7-9 hours of sleep each night

3. Keeping a “goals and results” diary.

There is nothing more encouraging than reaching your goals. So why not start by writing down each goal you have along with a realistic date by which you plan to reach your goal. Then jot down the steps you plan to take in order to achieve it, as outlined in point 2 above. One reached, reward yourself by placing a big tick next to it.

If you didn’t reach it by the expected date, however, don’t despair. Rather than give up just put a new date, review the steps you plan to take and see where you perhaps didn’t go according to your plan. Then make the necessary adjustments and get going once again. Remember – each new day is an opportunity to make a fresh start.

4. While keeping your goal clearly in mind enjoying the process

Keeping the big picture in mind is certainly important, but make sure you also enjoy the ride. Keeping a “goals and results” diary, as discussed in point 2 above, is one of the best ways to do this. Seeing yourself reach your goals one by one, even if it’s a small goal, will help keep you motivated. Also why not plan little treats for yourself at the start? Make sure, though, that you plan healthy rewards. For example you might reward yourself for consistently doing the physical activity of your choice for two weeks by getting a nice massage.

We hope that the simple steps outlined above will help you reach your health and fitness goals. One more word of advice– make sure the steps you take become part of your new lifestyle rather than just a means to achieve certain goals. That way you will maintain the results you achieve in the long run.