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Resolutions are made to be broken. But writing your own personal exercise notes for 2013 – and sticking to them - could just be the incentive you need to fuel your sporting performance to the next level

How many times during 2012 have you made a personal ‘note to self’ about your running, cycling, gym regime or whatever your exercise of choice? It could be something that you’d like to do differently, do better, change, tweak or improve at. More often than not these little notes get forgotten, brushed aside, neglected, or banished completely!

Here is your chance to remind yourself of your ‘notes to self’ from 2012 and get to grips with the things you can do to try and improve in 2013.

Note to self: Commit to a goal

The first thing to do here is decide what that goal might be. Remember that a goal needs to be something motivating, inspiring, challenging, different and exciting. Goals are very personal. Take the time to decide what yours could look like in 2013. Then decide what that commitment looks like and do it. Think of it along the lines of your personal training budget. Just how much time, energy, effort and motivation are you willing to invest in committing to your goal? Be realistic with your time. Don’t over-commit or be overambitious. Seek balance and a fruitful return. There is no scope for ‘if’, ‘but’ or ‘maybe’ here. Your commitment to your goal is your pledge to yourself that you are going to make the required, and your desired, effort to reach your personal aspirations.

Note to self: Don’t settle for the same

Exercise shouldn’t be the same thing week in, week out. Stop being dull and live a little! Look for challenges that inspire you. Why not cycle somewhere different, exotic, and exciting? Look for an event that’s an experience, an adventure or a change. A certain course, place or race might provide familiarity and comfort but does it really get you going? Step out into the unknown, cast aside the comfy slippers and do something that truly ignites your fire.

 Note to self: Get the ‘feel good’ factor

Setting yourself a personal challenge might be quite scary, but it’ll really help you stick to your guns if you’ve got a proper, meaningful and deserving reason to train. Raising money for a charity of your choice shouldn’t be something you feel you have to do, or should do, but something that you want to do. Find a charity or a cause that’s close to your heart and adopt them for your exercise goals. You could pick a key target event, a series of events or dream yourself up a unique and fundraising challenge. See for details of events and charities.

Note to self: Exercise differently

If you continue to train in the same way, doing the same things year round, then you can arguably expect to yield similar, if not worse, results. Instead of doing more of the same, sit back and think about all the things in your exercise regime that you do well. The things that you know work for you. If you’re struggling then think back to a time when a training session went really well and list the things that contributed to that success. Then think about the things that need to change. Keep the training that works and bin the rest. Start to include different, new and varied training. Mix up your workouts; train on different days, at different times; train in different places and with different people.

Note to self: Climb in the ‘hurt box’

If your goal is to be better at what you do (at whatever your personal level of excellence) then you’ve got to be keen to step outside of your comfort zone and push a few physical boundaries. Stop putting barriers in the way and start nailing hard workouts and pushing yourself beyond what you previously thought was possible. It’s the only way to really become a stronger performer (note to self – don’t do this all the time in your training. Plan your breakthrough tough workouts carefully within a structured and appropriate training plan)

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