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Make SMART Exercise Goals this New Years

With Christmas finally passing us by, we are only a few days away from wrapping 2017 up and welcoming 2018. With a new year usually comes the promise of a “new me”, with a range of exercise and health related resolutions being vowed.

Although these resolutions are meant to be motivational, Exercise & Sports Science Australia (ESSA) wants to help educate Australians on how to set successful exercise goals this New Years, and to help them work towards a happier and healthier 2018.

“Although a New Year’s resolution may seem like a quick fix to your lack of physical activity, the truth is that reaching your goals requires slightly more motivation than an annual countdown can provide,” explains ESSA Chief Executive Officer, Anita Hobson-Powell.

“The good news is that you don’t need to wait until 2018 to get started on bettering your health and fitness, you can make changes right now to start exercising and reaching your goals.”

With physical activity guidelines indicating that Australians require a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise a day, getting started can be tricky, so Accredited Exercise Physiologist, Carly Ryan, has some tips what you can do to ensure you keep your New Year’s resolution to better your health and stick to your exercise goals.

“Are you thinking about your goals in a smart way this year? You need to consider what is important to you and what will have a positive impact on your mental and physical health and well-being,” says Ms Ryan.

“Once you have decided what is important, you can decide exactly what it is that you are wanting to accomplish. This may be losing weight, getting stronger, expanding your social network through physical activity, or taking part in a sporting event.”

Considering all your goals, how can you make them SMART?

Specific – what, where, when, why, who and how? You need to consider what you are trying to achieve, where you are going to do that – the gym or a local park? When will you invest time in reaching your goal, is it going to be a daily or weekly thing? Who are you going to work towards it with, on your own, with a friend or as part of a team? How are you going achieve it, is it through physical activity, nutrition etc.

Measurable – consider how you are going to decide how close you are to reaching your goal, and when you will consider it met. Quantity and time can both be measured.

Attainable – Is your goal realistic? Will you be able to accomplish this goal by the date you have set?

Relevant – is this goal relevant to you, and what you want from your life? Is it something you are going to enjoy doing, if not the chances of you reaching it are considerably less.

Timely – set an end date to your goal.

“Some examples of SMART goals can be saying, ‘I am going to take part in one 5k fun run by June this year and one 10k run by September this year’, or, ‘I am going to lose 10kgs by August this year by making xyz changes to my eating and physical activity patterns, and in turn lower my cholesterol and resting heart rate, with the guidance of an exercise expert’,” adds Ms Ryan.

Now is an ideal time to think about goal setting but it’s important to remember to think about how you can reach and maintain your goals in the long term, throughout the whole of 2018 and in to the future.

If you need advice on how to exercise right for your goals, you can contact your local exercise professional, such as an Accredited Exercise Physiologist, Accredited Exercise Scientist or Accredited Sports Scientist, via the ESSA website.