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There is always a period of acclimatisation in the first week or two of January, which is quickly followed by frantic planning and goal setting. For many, this is simply an exercise in cut and paste from the previous year.

Dropping down to my gym this week, I saw many old but familiar faces. The same people I had seen day in, day out for the first 3 months of 2016. There were times I had wondered whether some of them lived in the gym. Whether I attended early evening, later at night or even on a Sunday afternoon, they always seemed to be there. After the first two or three months, they had really changed shape but then nothing. Had they found a better gym? Moved house? Built a gym at home? Upon seeing them now at the beginning of a new year, I can tell that it was none of the above.

There’s a collective buzz at this time of year when people are refreshed from the break over the holidays, focused on sticking to their New Year’s resolutions and motivated by the group mentality in work or with the family. We’re fortunate if this can be maintained past January, never mind the first three months of the year. Why can we not maintain this through the year? We spend the same amount of time in work, have the same responsibilities at home and have the same energy levels as any other time of the year.

We’re too fast off the starting line and see it as a sprint to achieving our goals rather than maintaining a sustainable rate of change which can fit comfortably with our lives outside of these goals. This goes for work too. Trying to do much, too early will result in little being accomplished. A steady, sustainable path with milestones spread out throughout the year is a far more manageable task. Looking at setting about completing the steps needed to get to where we would like to be professionally, personally and athletically in one year’s time instead of trying to accomplish this in just one or two months.

So my advice when you’re setting your goals…..think lifestyle change long-term achievements, not crash dieting and quick wins. You’ll get a lot further!

Articles by Caroline Baldwin