Exercise – Top Tips to Keeping on Track

Author: Emma Gilbert

How many times have you set all good intentions for a new exercise regime. You go all out, pushing yourself to the limit for a short period of time, but either through exhaustion or because of injury you end up stopping after a very short period of time?

Here in clinic we see plenty of patients who set themselves HUGE goals and then end up feeling deflated when they’ve overdone it and feel they can’t carry on with the tasks they’ve set themselves. The answer is not simply to avoid setting yourself resolutions, it’s to set SMART goals which are achievable.

Here are our 5 steps to help you start and maintain your new goals:

1. Identify your values and goals

What do you want your life to stand for? All of us have slightly different values whether they be relationship based, like family, marriage/couples, parenting and friendships, bettering yourself through employment and education or keeping your physical and spiritual wellbeing in shape. Identify ONE area that’s important to you, which could do with a little sprucing up.

If you’re having trouble picking one thing, imagine yourself at your retirement party – what would people be saying to you? Or even imagine yourself a year from now through someone else’s eyes. How do you want things to be different?

2. Beat perfectionism

Perfectionism will get in the way of you achieving your goals as you will aim too high and then beat yourself up when you don’t reach your goal. It is therefore vital your target is realistic and you also give yourself a realistic time period or date to achieve your goal.

3. Set meaningful targets by setting SMART goals

Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time focussed


  • To go to netball training at least once a week for an hour.
  • Take your daughter out at the weekend to do an enjoyable activity of hers for at least 2 hours.
  • To prepare and cook a meal from scratch at least once a day.

Don’t for get to make your goals time focused, so establish a smart goal date – either 1, 2, 6 or 12 months from your start.

Create a ladder of activities

Break down your goal and figure out its components. If your goal is to start Netball training, in a month your aim could be to become affiliated with the club and play a match on a regular basis.

To achieve this, break your goal down into bite size steps:

  • Research clubs in your local area
  • Read up online about netball
  • Contact friends who might also like to go or who already play
  • Visit a club and watch a team play
  • Attend a training session
  • Be affiliated with the club and play a match on a regular basis

This makes each stage seem simple and you’re therefore more likely to find time to achieve the goal.

5. Keep it up

Review and revisit your goal regularly! This is all an experiment – don’t beat yourself up if you fall down at some point, but do get back on track as soon as possible.

So, by staggering each new goal and breaking it down into smaller steps, you’ll prevent the “BOOM and BUST” trap and continue to enjoy and maintain a healthier lifestyle.