New Year Resolutions? What's your goal?
Professor Andy Lane talks about the benefits of getting involved in challenges like RED January - helping people to stick to their goals as well as gaining support.
New Year Resolutions often take the form of a goal to do more exercise. For most people this is a good goal to pursue as the physical and mental health related benefits of exercise are considerable. However, few people can stick to do their goals and the plan often falls by the wayside after a few weeks. And so joining a group that is working towards a common goal can offer a way of gaining support from others in the form of friendly competition and in the form of seeing that others are training and so validating the use of time for this purpose.
This It is especially important given that we have entered another lockdown - restricting our movements and many aspects of our lives. One feature of lockdown is that we cannot plan for the future with any great certainty and so the mental health benefits of planning for a holiday, planning to go out with friends, and planning for the plethora of social activities that we typically engage with or temporarily halted. At the present time we do not know how long this will be for and there's a growing sense of weariness in being able to sustain the behaviours required for a lockdown. This makes seeking achievements via making progress in daily exercise all the more important.
By setting an exercise goal that will feature in lockdown you contain doing the exercise to this period. In lockdown you're able to specify the location, that is your around your own house, and so know where you will do the exercise and should be able to make accurate estimates of whether you're likely to adhere to the goal. For Example, your goal might be to do press ups, hold the plank, or do squats and increase the number you do or the length of time you do them as you progress through lockdown and as your fitness progresses. In he first lockdown, I did chin ups and I coined the phrase ‘keeping your chin up by doing chin ups’, created videos of me doing the chin ups and posted these on social media and did one chin up for each day of lockdown. I ended up doing 125 chin ups, which is a lot and far more than I thought I could do at the start, but by doing only one chin up more per day this became possible and enjoyable. How you set your challenges is up to you and so progress could have been measured differently. At the same time, my wife started a run streak, which is to run each day, and the distance and speed are not important. She is now over 200 days in and has a clear sense of achievement over doing this. She ends her run (or was until today) at the cake shop!
As go into the present lockdown, we are doing indoor rowing, which is extremely fortunate as we have a concept to at home and if more fortunate that we have space to put it in. this gives us the equipment and opportunity to be able to exercise and are making use of this by taking part in the challenge which is to see how far you can row in January. In terms of average metres rowed, as I type this, we are in first place!!! 657 other teams… not that I'm competitive!!!!!
And so prioritise exercise as a goal, prioritise time to engage in exercise and it is likely that you'll get a sense of achievement that follows!!
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