A new year brings a fresh start and it always seems to pack the gyms with people trying to make this the year that they get themselves into shape. But why is it, year after year, that come the third week into January the treadmills, spin bikes and free weights are all sitting unused? It is because everyone is expecting too much from themselves and the expectations they have set cannot be met.

We have heard the S.M.A.R.T. principle for goal setting time and time again; goals needing to be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and in a time frame. I want to touch on the Attainable and Realistic parts because if goals are neither then you are bound to be like everyone else and give up on yourself before you achieve what you have set out to achieve.

Make 2014 your year, but make it just that -- a year. Do not expect to see changes overnight and do not try and change your life overnight. If you have been living a certain way for decades you cannot simply wake up one morning and expect that all to change. 

Be realistic in what you are setting out to achieve and be realistic in how much time you give yourself to achieve that. Like I say constantly, 1 change a week equals 52 changes a year, so do not attempt to make all the changes at once. Pick your final destination and then week by week make small changes in your life that eventually will take you to where you are trying to go.

Start out week one by getting up 15 minutes earlier to prepare a healthy breakfast so you are no longer grabbing a fatty muffin from the coffee shop on your way into work. Begin week two by packing a healthy lunch for yourself before you go to bed so the next day at work you are not trying to find a healthy “to go” option somewhere. Week three start doing 20 minutes of cardio three days a week.  Week four change that to 30 minutes and week five maybe you are adding an hour spin class to your week.  Week six you set a goal of running 5km so you start your 8 week training program to get there.

Do not try and conquer it all at once. Small goals will keep you motivated, keep you feeling accomplished and give you something to keep building towards. And then come December 31, 2014 you can sit back and look at your year and be proud of all you’ve done.

Happy New Year to you and keep those Smutty Fitness questions coming to [email protected].

Attached – Anne Hathaway and her husband Adam Shulman go for a walk in Hawaii.