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Greg Whyte OBE

Physical Activity Expert

Goal Setting

Welcome to The Whyte Answer, a chance for you to hear from Professor Greg Whyte, a lead expert in the field of physical activity, here you have the chance to ask Greg any question you may have on the topic, no matter how simple or complex the matter, there is something for you here.

Greg’s Top Tips for Setting Active Goals

Professor Greg Whyte OBE competed in two Olympic Games in the modern pentathlon and is an expert in the science of sports and exercise. Greg is well-known for his involvement in Sport Relief, having trained various celebrities including Davina McCall and David Walliams in completing some of incredibly tough challenges. Greg is also the Chair of ukactive’s Scientific Advisory Board. ukactive is a not-for-profit organisation whose mission is to get more people, more active, more often.

Here are some of Greg’s top tips on how to set active goals to become a healthier, happier ‘you’ rather than a new ‘you’…

1. Small steps lead to big goals.

When you’re looking to make lifestyle changes, it can be tempting to focus on largescale transformations. While it’s helpful to visualise where you’d like to be in months, even years to come, it’s important not to overlook the smaller steps that’ll pave the road to getting there. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and big changes don’t happen overnight; instead, think of smaller, more achievable goals. It could be trying a new exercise class with a friend or aiming to go for a long walk every Sunday. The sense of achievement when you carry out these smaller changes will spur you on your way to keeping active for life.

2. Be realistic.

It’s really important to remember that everyone is different. Human beings are built differently, so what might work for one person isn’t necessarily going to work for another. So when you’re setting yourself goals, you need to focus on what works for you: in other words, you need to be realistic. Don’t focus on what other people are doing; for some, a realistic goal could be to complete a half-marathon, others a 5k or it could be swimming 20 lengths without stopping. Set yourself a goal this year that you know you’ll enjoy working towards, and that with some determination, you’re capable of achieving. Then perhaps next year you can push that goal that little bit further.

3. Beat those winter blues.

Less daylight, miserable weather, and the end of the festive period are the perfect recipe for some winter blues. Some people might see this as a deterrent for getting active, but there’s actually no better time to reap the benefits of those happy hormones that exercise can provide! Getting your heart pumping will flood your brain with those feel-good endorphins, which naturally lift your mood. Exercising outdoors will also expose you to natural sunlight – which can do wonders for your mood.

4. Change your outlook.

Sometimes, the focus of wanting to get active can centre too much around how it makes people look rather than how it makes people feel. While a by-product of doing exercise is better weight control and a more toned physique, the positive impact that keeping active has on you inside cannot be beaten. Exercise is a fantastic stress-reliever and natural mood-enhancer, so keeping active regularly can help you to feel happier and healthier overall, which can do wonders for your mind. So perhaps a shift of perspective is needed; think about your activity goals based on how you want to feel this year rather than how you want to look. I can assure you that focusing your mind on how exercise makes you feel inside will keep you going back for more!

5. It’s not a new you, but a healthier you.

As I’ve mentioned above, no one can transform overnight. And nor should you want to transform into something or someone else. The best attitude to have is not to throw away your ‘old you’ like it’s an old skin, but to care for the ‘you’ that you are now. Caring for yourself through exercise and keeping active is the best way to ensure that you’re on your way to being a healthier you for yourself and for those around you.

How to Get Active