‘New Year, new you’ fever is currently sweeping across the nation. Mince pies and left over sausage rolls are furiously being stuffed into faces to start a fresh on January the 1st. You have drunkenly announced that this year is going to be the year you are finally going to lose that 10 lbs you gained, from when your kids were born….12 years ago.

Weight seems to be the most obvious choice of goal when setting a target, but it’s probably not what most people are aiming for. When someone wants to lose weight they usually want to lose fat, build muscle and look and feel more confident. The number on the scales is largely irrelevant of that. Instead of aiming for the same target as you did last year, I want you to consider an alternative. I’ve put together a list of alternatives to the scales but will more than likely have the same outcome.

Performance Based Goal

How fast can you run 5k? What is 10 rep max on deadlifts? How many press ups can you do in 2 minutes? Why not measure your progress based on how your body performs. Seeing improvements is very rewarding and will keep you focussed on pushing your body to new levels. Choose a fitness test that is relevant to you and your goals. Retest your progress at regular intervals to find out how your training has been going.

An Event

Choose an event that will push you and challenge you. There are thousands of options and anything from a 5k to a 24 hour deadlift challenge. Book it in and put it in your calendar. Get friends, family involved maybe even raise money for charity. Train for that specific event instead of aiming for a weight loss target. Watch the numbers on time sheet come down and you will surprised what happens to the number on the scales.

Skill Based Goal

Have you ever wanted to try a new sport or pick up from where you left off before you had responsibilities? Your local sports clubs are an amazing way to stay active, meet new friends and have fun. There are thousands of sports and clubs available, get involved and search now. If you don’t enjoy lifting weights or running on a treadmill then do something you do enjoy. You are much more likely to stick to it and you won’t even feel like you are exercising.
Note: pub sports such as darts, pool and pie eating competitions do not apply here.

Habit Based Goal

If you want to be a little bit more flexible with your goals then a habit based goal could be for you. Why not aim to walk 12k steps every single day or to only drink 1 night per week? Choose a habit that would improve your health, happiness and mindset. Habits such as water intake, fruit and veg, walking or limiting eating out at restaurants can be a great way to improve your lifestyle without a fixed goal in mind. The habits that you develop are going to be what pushes you towards your goal and prevent you from taking a step backwards.

So this year, stay off those pesky bathroom scales and get a new goal. Take a long hard think about what is relevant to you and what would drive you to stay motivated. Keep it small for now and you can always set another one. Write it down in a place that you can see it every single day.