Four Tips for Setting, Managing Proper Fitness Goals
May 15, 2014
Spring has sprung and summer is around the corner, making it a popular time for setting and checking in on your weight loss and fitness goals. If you’re thinking about shedding the final pounds of your winter weight before swimsuit season is in full swing or you’ve signed up for a summer endurance race to challenge your fitness level, it’s important to make sure that your goals are SMART -– specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely –- so you can successfully follow through on meeting your expectations.
To help with setting and properly managing your summer health and fitness goals, it’s important to put the following four tips into practice.
Tip 1: Check In with your Closet
With the summer months quickly approaching, it’s a good time to pull out your swimsuits, sun dresses and shorts from your closet to see if they still fit or if you may need to get something new. The way your clothes fit can be a good indication of where you are in meeting your weight loss goals and it can help put everything into a better perspective than stepping on the scale.
“Everybody gets stuck thinking that the number on the scale is the only thing that matters,” explains Logan George, personal trainer at Fitness Together Maple Grove. “Clients who don’t see a lot of weight loss on the scale can actually experience a lot of inches coming off. Don’t use the scale as a crutch. It can be a lot more beneficial to keep tabs on how much better your clothes are fitting as your body composition changes.”
Tip 2: Focus on the Experience
The steps you take throughout your journey are what really count as you grow into adopting a healthy and fit lifestyle. When you have a specific outcome in mind, it’s important to look at the whole process and not just focus solely on the results, advises George.
How you are going to get to your goals is what’s important. If you don’t have a plan that breaks down your long-term goals into attainable tasks along the way, then you may end up spinning your wheels and quickly become overwhelmed.
“Take yourself out of the equation and be very specific with your planning by laying out a step-by-step training program,” explains George. “Whether you’re able to do this on your own or you need a trainer to guide you through the process, it can be very helpful to come up with a process that works for you and is geared toward your specific goals.”
Tip 3: Don’t Let Distractions Take You Down
Staying on top of your workouts is one of the most important things to maintaining forward progress toward meeting your goals. It’s easy to let life get in the way when work gets busy, kids are off on summer break and summertime happy hours lure you from the gym to rooftop decks.
It’s important to realize that whenever you skip a workout or make a poor nutritional choice, that's a step away from achieving what you're hoping to in the long run. Keep the driving factors associated with your health and fitness goals at the center of all the decisions you make so you don’t get derailed by summertime distractions.
“Your trainer can help with keeping you on track, but a lot of it comes from within you,” shares George. “You need to have a vision of your goal and keep that vision at the forefront of all the decisions you make. Focusing on all the little details can make some of the biggest differences.”
Tip 4: Assess, Acknowledge, Be Proud of Your Work
As you hit the mid-year point, it can get easy to get discouraged with the goals you set at the beginning of the year if you haven’t realized all of the results you were striving for. Before throwing in the towel, though, it can be more beneficial to acknowledge what you’ve accomplished so far, while re-assessing what else you may need to do to continue working toward the same goals or even making new ones.
Even if you haven’t completely met your goals yet, be proud of the journey you’ve started and celebrate important milestones along the way.
“Instead of getting down on yourself, stay focused on how much stronger and flexible you’ve become,” advises George. “Weight doesn’t come off as easy as it went on. So you need to keep sticking with it.”
Whether your goal is to lose weight, compete in an endurance event or look your best for an upcoming reunion, it’s important to have a clear reason for why you’re working out during the process. Keep your vision at the forefront of everything you do, and make sure you have various short-term goals that support and feed into accomplishing your long-term aspirations.