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How to Set Yourself Up for a Successful 2017

Happy New Year! Hope everyone had a lovely festive season and you're all feeling ready to take on 2017 (after the surreal calamity that was 2016, it can only get better right!?).  Now is a great time to think about what you really want to achieve over the coming months, and to start making plans to make things happen. Read on for my top tips on setting goals and laying the groundwork for a successful year.

1) Set yourself achievable goals
When it comes to setting goals, it's important to strike a balance between aspiration and achievability.  Tasking yourself with something huge and unattainable sets you up to fail before you've even started. Take a minute to think about your lifestyle, figure out what's manageable and how it's going to fit in with your current commitments. You're far more likely to stick at something if you can slot it nicely into your routine.

2) Break it down and celebrate the little victories
Break your end goal down into stages, focusing on what you want to achieve in the short, medium and long term. Your overall goal might be to run your first 10k, but in the short term you just want to get into a routine of running a couple of times a week. Celebrate these milestones along the way and reflect on what you've achieved so far. It's a great way to stay focused and motivated.

3) Get excited!
In order to really achieve something, you need to be passionate and excited about it. There will be times when achieving your goal feels really tough and it's that passion that will get you through. Think about why you want to achieve your particular goal, and how achieving it will make you feel. If the excitement isn't there, it's fine to have a rethink. Life is way too short to waste time doing stuff you hate.

4) Step away from the fads! Forgo the detox teas! Eschew the dodgy supplements!
Some of the most common New Year's resolutions involve losing weight, toning up and getting fitter. Unfortunately, there's no magic pill (or teabag) that can truly get you long term results. And living off baked kale and nothing else for 6 week will just make you hangry and leave you reaching for the chocolate buttons the minute your sentence - sorry, diet - is over. The bottom line is, to really achieve a fitter, healthier version of yourself - and to maintain it - takes long-term, sustainable lifestyle changes. And as hard as it may be at times, that's awesome! Because you'll feel awesome when you can look back at how far you've come and celebrate everything you've achieved knowing that you didn't have to give yourself the runs with some questionable herbal tea in the process.

5) Don't give up the stuff you love
Hands up who swore off the booze for all eternity this morning!? But seriously, following on from my previous point, the changes you decide to make need to be sustainable for life if you want to see results. The minute you ban something, you'll crave it even more. Inevitably you'll crack (because, hello, a life without chocolate is a life that sucks) and end up bingeing on said banned thing - having more of it in one go than you would have if you'd allowed yourself to have it every now and then. It's all about balance.

6) Ask for help
Whether it's from family, friends or a professional, get yourself the support you need to achieve your goal. This is particularly relevant if your goal is fitness related - seek advice from a fitness professional to make sure your training is safe and appropriate for your aims. You'll get more out of your workouts, avoid injury and enjoy exercise way more! I've got personal training and beginners run coaching slots available so if you're based near Hitchin (Herts) feel free to drop me a line to see how I can help: jennifersophiefitness@gmail.com

Wishing you all a happy, healthy 2017. With everything that's going on in the world, it's important now more than ever that we all show kindness, generosity, tolerance and unity. Spread the love and enjoy life!

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