Achieving Your Goals - My Top Tips

I have always been a bit of a goal setter -  I thrive on the satisfaction of setting a challenging target and achieving it. Some may call it stubbornness (!), I prefer to think of it as ambition, however I know that if I set my mind to something, I will achieve it!

With New Years Resolutions in full swing, goal setting is rife at the moment. According to a 2016 Comres poll, the two most popular new years resolutions are to lose weight and to get fitter. However, did you know that over 90% of New Years resolutions are broken by March?! Whilst I'm not a huge believer in New Years resolutions (if you want to do something, why wait until the New Year to begin it?),  I do think this statistic is just a little scary!

So, for my New Year post, I have put together a list of my top tips to achieving your goals. Whilst my examples are fitness related, the principles (being specific, making it habit, believe in yourself etc) can be applied to any area you want to develop in your life... career, relationships, health, social life - you name it.

Be specific - what exactly do you want to achieve, and by when? They say goals should be SMART - specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timed. Set yourself a deadline - I have found this is key in keeping me motivated. There WILL be times when you are swayed - times when lying on the sofa infront of the TV seems SO much more appealing than heading out the gym, and that's when you need to focus on the end result and the long-term gain. Because once you've dragged yourself out of the house and completed your session, you'll feel so much better for it. When have you ever said to yourself "I really regret working out today"? Point made!

Make it a habit - habits are something we do instinctively, without giving it second thought. We all have habits - whether it's reading before bed, biting your fingernails, or grabbing that Starbucks on the way to work. Whether these habits are beneficial or not is another question, but the point is that when you do something instinctively it's takes more effort to NOT do it than it does to continue.

The easiest way I have found to make exercise into an automatic habit is to do it first thing in the morning. Lay out your gym stuff the night before, set your alarm clock bright and early, and before you even have time to question the sanity of what you're doing, you're already at the gym smashing out that session! Aside from arriving at the office feeling super smug whilst your colleagues arrived still half asleep, no matter what comes up during the day (stressful afternoon at work, late meetings, the opportunity to meet for drinks in the evening etc), you know it won't stand it the way of your workout.

(And in regards to those unhealthy habits, we might as well address them whilst we here. Key is to interrupt the cycle - put the fruit bowl where your biscuit tin used to be kept, walk on the other side of road so you don't pass the Starbucks on the way to work. If you make your unhealthy habits difficult to continue, your automatic reaction is disrupted, meaning it then becomes a conscious choice to sabotage yourself. And who would want to do that?!)

Recruit a buddy - this is something I can't stress highly enough! Whether it's a PT, a friend, a colleague - having someone else to help spur you on, and vice versa, will give you that extra motivation to keep going. As a teenager, when I decided to take up running, I recruited the help of the toughest, most strict trainer I know.... My Dad. He accepted no excuses - some day literally dragging me out of bed in the morning to complete a run in the wind and rain before school. But he did it, because he knew it's what I wanted long term. And whilst I hated it him ever so slightly at the time, I also knew exactly why he was doing it, and by being so stubborn and not listening to my excuses, he propelled me towards to my goal. So recruit a partner, and be accountable to one another!

Fitness partner in crime, Beth aka Insta_ginge, at Lomax studio

Make it fun - Find running on a treadmill the most boring thing ever? That's fine, don't do it! There are so many options when it comes to fitness, so explore and find out what works for you. If it's classes you love, why not try out something like Classpass, which will give you access to hundreds of studios over London? From initially hating classes (I liked to be in charge of my own workout), I've now become a complete class addict, and love nothing more than meeting some fellow fitness friends to try out a new class or studio.

Meeting the Classpass Squad for TRX at Ethos, Spitalfields 

Or, if it's running you love, why not join a club? Nike, Adidas, Lululemon all hold great ones across the city - just click on the links and you can sign up for free with your training partner. It might take a few sessions, but I promise, once you get into it you really will start to enjoy. Think of it like wine - did you enjoy your first ever sip? Probably not! Now though..... exactly.

My squad and I at the Adidas 'Why I Run' Event

Fuel yourself properly - I cannot stress this one enough. With so many fad diets out there - juice cleanses/Atkins/low-carb/5-2 to name a few-  it can be so easy to fall into a trap of unhelpful eating habits. Whilst these diets have been claimed revolutionary, when it comes down the science behind weight-loss,  it's a basic calculation of calories in vs calories out. The thing is, by restricting the calories in, your also restricting the nutrients, vitamins, energy and strength into your body. Sure, you might be skinny, but grey/gaunt/unhealthy/unfit.... is that really your goal? Trust me, I learned the hard way!

So my advice, when it comes to your diet - use your common sense. If you really want to be achieving your fitness goals, you need to be fuelling yourself accordingly - and yes, that means carbs! Protein is also super important for repairing your muscles - when you work out, you create tiny tears in the muscle fibres, and it is only when they are given adequate protein do they repair and build back stronger.

Not only does a balanced diet give you proper fuel, but also when you introduce flexibility in your food choices, it also makes the whole workout philosophy much more fun. My friends and I love nothing more than to get together for a hardcore morning class, followed by delicious protein shakes and/or a well-earned refuel brunch!

My friend Sasha and I at The Detox Kitchen post boxing session 

Believe in yourself - I am firm believer that if I really want something, no matter what it is, if somebody else in the world has done it, then it is humanely possible and there's no reason why I can't do it too. And this is why I have been able to achieve the things I set my mind to, because I believe in myself. If you start something already thinking you're not capable, you're immediately on the road to sabotage, as you'll approach your goals with anxiety, angst and - ultimately - half heartedly, thinking "it's never going to happen anyway". My question is- why shouldn't it?

My best bit of advice is to picture yourself having achieving your goal, what would that look like? There's a reason why athletes and high performers spend so much time visualising their success! Something a lot of people don't know is that your subconsious mind can't distinguish between what's real and what's imagined - it's processes it all as one. Thus, visualisation is more than just a practice to build confidence and belief, it's a way to influence your subconscious mind to make the right choices inline with your goal.

Take responsibility - Despite all my tips above, achieving tough goals is never easy, and you do 100% still need to put in a lot work to make it happen! Goals take time and commitment - too often we let them slide because of various obstacles. Time, money, lack of knowledge, lack of skill, tend to be the most common excuses. And that's exactly what they are - excuses.

A lot of people claim they don't have the time to workout. A 45min session will take up 3% of your day....still think you can use that excuse?

Or perhaps you can't afford a fancy gym and a personal trainer? Then pick up your trainers and go for a run outdoors, hit up a free class from Sweaty Betty, try one of the thousands of workouts on Youtube.  Or, I'm gonna put it out there -  consider how much you spend at the pub on a Friday night. Why not put that towards your health instead?

My friend and I enjoying the FREE Nike Unlimited London event

The point is, it's how you prioritise your time and money that matters. If you choose not to prioritise your goals, that's fine, but don't claim that you COULDN'T achieve your goal, you WOULDN'T. There's a big difference... and only you can make it happen.

Goal of 2016 - the splits 🙏


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