2018 is here. Will it be your year?

News Written by Richard Harris

"Its not the Mountain we conquer, but ourselves."

Edmund Hillary

Happy New Year!

We hope you all had a fabulous festive season, full of joy and laughter. Another new year is here! As we slip back into our work clothes, realise our belt buckles may need loosening slightly, we begin thinking about and acting on our plans and targets for the new year ahead. Well, if you weren’t, you are now!

Do you have goals for 2018 and beyond?

If so, we’d love to hear some of them! Equally if not, maybe it is time to sit down and take just 5 – 10 minutes to note down some things you may want or need to achieve in both the short and/or long term.

Goal setting doesn’t have to take an age. Keep things simple. Don't give yourself a mountain to climb over (unless that's your goal!). Hopefully this article will help provide you with a simple foundation to start from in your attack on 2018.

What do you NEED to change, if anything? And if so, how much do you WANT to change?

This can be related to your health and fitness, which significantly influences your happiness and vice versa. For example if you are healthy and in good shape, you are more than likely a happy chappy. Therefore, you’ll want to continue along this path, we’d hope! Likewise, if your fitness levels have suffered, you’ve had an injury or illness, your waist has unexpectedly grown (or your clothes have shrunk; that’s our excuse anyway), your health will have suffered and thus you’ll likely be unhappy! You’ll perhaps want or need to change, depending upon the impact on your health or happiness.

We’re here for you!

We’re going to help you spend the next 2 – 3 minutes of your time thinking about ‘needs and wants’. Aren’t we generous 😊! Hopefully this article will help you decipher any needs and wants in your life, especially those health and fitness related. We'll also help you think about how to target your needs and wants and stay motivated to achieve them and thus your goals.

Firstly, note down what you ‘want’ to do and what you ‘need’ to do, relevant to your goals.

An example: You may want to run a marathon and to do so, you need to increase your training volume.

Done that? Great. Now apply the ‘SMART’ principle to these goals, and your needs and wants. We have spoken about the SMART principle before, but just in case you’ve missed that, please see below:

S – Specific – A specific goal has a much greater chance of being accomplished than a general goal. To set a specific goal use the 5 W’s – who, what, where, when, why. Using our example above; I want to run the London marathon in under 4 hours, rather than I just want to run a marathon.

M – Measurable – You must be able to measure its success, be it race result based, quantifiable measures or skill based.

A – Achievable – There is no point setting the bar so high you set yourself up for failure. You want goals to be challenging but achievable, so you can feel rewarded when you succeed in reaching them. It is important here to be realistic with your time available and ability.

R – Relevant – Your effort in whatever it is you wish to achieve must be targeted toward your goal. If you aim to run a marathon in under 4 hours, then much of your focus should be targeted around running specific training, rather than for example cycling!

T -  Time bound – It must have a time frame so that you are motivated to go and make it happen.

We would also like to add a sixth option to this acronym; Consistency.

For every goal, need or want, we must be consistent in our efforts to make them happen. What we also want to remind you of is that ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’. There will be days where you can’t train according to your plan or where the nutrition plan goes out the window. If you are consistent and stick to your plans as much as possible along the way, the odd setback won’t have a negative impact on your end result.

Think of an Olympic athlete, who’s long term goal is every 4 years. There is no way their training and nutrition plan will be perfect for an entire 4-year programme. Again, refer to the SMART principle. Also remember not to beat yourself up if you do slip from your plan every now and then. Life can get in the way sometimes, and you may need to adjust your goals accordingly.

"I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination."

Jimmy Dean

Are you motivated to change?

Motivation is something we are all aware of, and is crucial if we want to reach our needs and wants, thus achieving our goals. Motivation is defined as

                “The reason for people's actions, desires, and needs”

There are several aspects to motivation, that are beyond the scope of this article.

To help get a motivational understanding from an athletic point of view, we asked Jacob Hennessy, Team GB U23 and newly announced Mitchelton-SCOTT cyclist, what gets him motivated for the new season ahead:

“What helps motivate me.... Pretty tough to pinpoint exact things. I love the feeling of riding climbs and in groups I used to struggle on with ease. So an element of self – improvement I guess is one thing. But mainly my ambition and goals tend to make me really work hard. I've not won what I want to win yet. Also with cycling you've really got to love what you do and not see it as a chore and more like something you get to do. I change up my training to include some running as I used to do athletics and cross country and can still run. I also do a lot on the mountain bike and jump bikes. Plus, a good life balance helps. It's only sport and winning a bike race doesn't make you a legend. Family and friends help to destress and focus.”

What we like about Jacob’s motivation is how he balances his cycling with his lifestyle. As we said earlier, don’t beat yourself up about slipping from your plan every now and then.

Some other examples of what may help motivate you to either set goals and/or achieve them are below:

  • A motivation may be that you simply enjoy or take an interest in the activity/task itself, much like we enjoy and take a keen interest in anything related to sports nutrition and health! This is known as intrinsic motivation i.e. internal desires/needs.
  • Motivation may come from a friend, colleague or coach, whereby they help push you to achieve a goal that you may not achieve individually. This is known as an extrinsic motivation i.e. factors that are controlled by others.

Whatever it maybe, motivation is something we all utilise every day, and we will often utilise both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation at the same time. For example: I want to run a marathon because I enjoy running (intrinsic motivation) and I am going to use a coach to help me achieve my goal of running the marathon under 4 hours (extrinsic).

Take home message, and simple tips for kick starting the year:

  • Have a think about your goals and what will motivate you to not only set them, but then follow a plan to achieve them.
  • If you need help designing or following a plan, seek help, be it from a friend, colleague or professional coach.
  • Set both short and long-term goals. Setting short term goals will allow you to break up what may seem a monumental task as a long term goal. Again, think of an Olympic athlete. A 4-year plan is a long time; athletes will break up 4 years of training into several smaller targets.
  • Succeeding in achieving short term goals will help motivate you to continue toward your long-term goal.
  • If for whatever reason you don’t achieve a short-term goal, fear not. If you learn from the situation, adapt your plan, you can then continue to work toward achieving your goal. Remember failure is only failure if you don’t learn from the experience and try something new going forward.
  • Remember the SMART principle.
  • Remember to be as consistent as possible, whilst also remembering ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’.

“I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

Michael Jordan


Bring on 2018!

Team MPN.

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