Last month I spectacularly failed at my fitness goals. Four weeks went by and I achieved nothing, nada, zilch. Let me start at the beginning, why I failed so badly and what I have learned since.
Not Setting SMART (or any) Goals
At the beginning of July, I told my personal trainer that I would like to continue with the programme for the next 10 weeks, as long as we set goals. So far, so good.
He said, “Sure, that is a great idea! What would you like to achieve?”. I replied, “I need something measurable and concrete. I am going to have a think about it and get back to you in the next session.” This was a month ago. You’ve guessed it: I never did sit down and set clear goals that I wanted to achieve. A big fail on my part. Sessions continued, but I was merely going along rather than pursuing clear goals.
Suffice to say, not having SMART (see below) goals, whatever it is you are working on, is simply a recipe for disaster. So let’s go back to being SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and timebound. It’s a solid criteria for setting any kind of goals.
In my case, here is what I should have written out a month ago:
- Specific: lose x kgs and x inches. Lift x kg for various exercises.
- Measurable: weekly weigh-ins, and a good old tape measure.
- Achievable: What is required to achieve set goals? Four gym sessions a week and a 1,500-kcal diet.
- Relevant: Are these relevant to my overall life plan? Yes, healthy body, healthy mind.
- Timebound: four-week timeframe.
See? Simple, clear and effective when done right.
Ignoring my Meal Planner
Here I am referring to the My Body is My Temple Food and Fitness Notepad. Usually, I am pretty good at using it and find it an incredibly helpful tool to track my food intake as well as my progress in the gym. For some unknown reason, in July, I used it for two days. Two days! It’s no wonder the results have been so poor.
What do I use the My Body is My Temple Food and Fitness notepad for?
- Meal prep and organising my weekly food shop. Once I know what is on the menu for the week, I can sort my food shop and ensure there are no ‘bad’ foods in the house.
- Maintaining a varied diet: by meal prepping, I try to plan a varied diet and explore new recipes to make this journey more interesting. I’m not a fan of eating the same foods day in and day out.
- Collecting gym ticks – after each session, I proudly tick a box. When I get to four ticks in a week, I am pretty happy with my effort and, when looking back at the previous week, it motivates me to do even better.
Not Being Accountable
Had I set my SMART goals at the beginning of the month, I could have given them to my personal trainer. He, in turn, could have held me accountable and together we could have tracked my progress. However, as you know, I did not do that, and the results speak for themselves.
It’s not that I need someone else when it comes to accountability – I can be ‘it’, the one I am accountable to – but having an external presence does help, especially when you are on the verge of dialling Deliveroo, knowing full well that the day’s calories have already been exceeded. Disappointing someone else just adds something to the mix.
Having Too Many Excuses
Well, I really excelled at this one this month. Here are just some of the excuses I had:
- Too busy with the upcoming 2020 collection. (True, to be fair, but still an excuse.)
- Too many people in the house (I run multiple Airbnbs), no time to prepare healthy food. (There is no come back here – just a very sloppy excuse.)
- Too hot! (Yes, I used that too!)
- I still go to the gym, so I can let go of my food tracking. (Well, that was the wrong call!)
- I am in a bad mood and need a pick-me-up. (No, pizzas did not help. Shocking.)
The point is, because I did not have clear goals, I did not track my progress. And I did not track my progress because I was not being held accountable. And, due to not being held accountable, I have managed to come up with an impressive list of excuses, in case a month goes by and I have not achieved anything. You see the pattern? Oh, I am good, aren’t I!?
But if there is one thing I really do not like, it is failure. And especially the failure to achieve something that completely depends on my own efforts. So, no more excuses here – it’s time to pull my socks up and really show what I am made of in August. And it is, in fact, going to be an even busier month! But that’s just an excuse, right?