It’s January, and that means many of us are looking for a fresh start in the new year. If you’re wanting to make some health improvements this year, you’re not alone. What does success look like for you? Perhaps your goals are clearly outlined, or maybe they are broader. Without them though, you’re likely to lose focus and fall off track. You wouldn’t aspire to be a doctor without taking a logical progression of steps to get you there. You should focus on your fitness goals using that same approach.
Just how do you go about setting these goals for yourself? The best approach is to start small. This may seem counterintuitive if you have some big goals you want to accomplish, but this ensures you’re better set up for success. How many people have told you they intend to lose 50+ pounds, exercise 6 days a week for an hour, etc and then fall off the wagon only weeks later? When you first set these lofty fitness goals, you’re excited and energetic. You may have the best of intentions to follow through, but it’s just too much too soon.
When trying to set realistic fitness goals, ask yourself these three questions:
How big is the goal you’re trying to accomplish? Many people can identify their long-term goals. Perhaps you want to lose 50 pounds within the next year, or you want to train for a triathlon. It’s important to identify your long-term goals, but you must detail a number of smaller steps that will get you there. Try creating smaller weekly or monthly goals for yourself. If your long-term goal is to lose 50 pounds in 12 months, try to aim for 4-8 pounds of fat loss a month.
What’s it going to take to accomplish your goal? It’s important to be realistic with yourself. If you’re starting at a lower fitness level, that’s ok! Keep it slow and steady to avoid injury or burnout. If you truly only have three days to devote to your fitness goals, scale back your goals a little bit. Don’t get in over your head. Life happens, and you may need to tweak a goal as you go as well. You also want to make sure your goals are measurable. This allows you to better track your progress and hold yourself accountable.
Can you realistically see yourself reaching this goal you’ve set for yourself? Make sure to be honest with yourself and set realistic expectations! If you can, then it’s time to set an action plan. You should create a detailed action plan that fits your schedule. A qualified personal trainer can help you set realistic goals for your fitness level and aspirations. They’ll keep you motivated and accountable too!
Don’t forget to reward yourself and have fun! Hitting your long-term fitness goals will be a process, and quite possibly a long one. If you’re not having fun with it, you’re more likely to fail. For example, if you need cardio and hate running, but love volleyball, by all means go play volleyball instead!
As you begin to achieve your goals, reward yourself! Go get those new shoes you’ve been eyeing, take a nice long, relaxing bath or get a new workout outfit. It’s important to recognize your success and enjoy the process. Reaching your goals is one of the best feelings you’ll ever experience!