Just a short time ago was January 1st. Did you set a fitness goal?
Are you still on your way to achieving this goal or has it been put aside like the previous years?
Why Set Fitness Goals?
Setting fitness goals is a great way to tell our human brain we have something to work for. The secret is to set your goals in such a way that you’re not setting yourself up for failure – which can be very disappointing and detrimental to your self-esteem.
If you’ve ever made New Year’s resolutions only to be broken, then you know exactly what I’m talking about.
It’s the same reason why when some retires after fifty or more years at work, they sadly end up passing away just a short time later. This is because as human beings, it is an inner desire to keep moving towards something…anything. If you don’t have anything to work towards, what ends up being your purpose?
When you set a goal, you have to take actions that always move you towards achieving that goal. This article will teach you how to set a goal. But more importantly, teach you how to focus your efforts and reach the goal you set.
Setting S.M.A.R.T. Fitness Goals
You can say “my goal is to lose fifty pounds by this summer.” That’s a really great goal, but if it’s spring, you are going to have a really hard time attaining this goal.
This is why the better way to set health and fitness goals is to start with a setting a SMART Goal.
S.M.A.R.T. is an acronym for:
Specific: What exactly is it you are going to accomplish?
Examples: lose ten pounds, lose an inch off your hips, eat 3-5 fruits and vegetables a day, etc.
Measurable: You need to be able to put a value on your goal.
Examples: Inches, pounds, percentages, sizes – they’re all measurable units.
Attainable: Your goal must be achievable and should you have to work to achieve it. Don’t be unrealistic…while a goal should push you, it should not kill you.
Relevant:Your goal is yours and yours alone – you have to want to achieve it. Don’t set goals to make someone else happy, set goals for you and you alone.
Time-Bound: Putting a due date on your goal makes the goal real. You have to set a deadline for your goal or it is nothing more than a dream. A dream is simply a goal with no deadline…meaning it will never happen.
I like the individuals I coach to set SMART health and fitness goals, because they are clearly defined, can be measured, they’re realistic, they’re their own, and they need to be achieved by a date.
Examples of SMART Fitness Goals:
→ I choose to weigh 130 pounds by June 1st. I will do this by following the Focus T25 program, which requires exercising 25 minutes a day 5 days a week, and by not eating any foods that contain more than five ingredients.
→ I choose to be able to finally fit into my favorite size 2 dress again for Maria’s wedding on August 1st by doing the Brazil Butt Lift program’s combination schedule, watching what I eat, and holding myself accountable with weekly weigh-ins.
→ My goal is to work out six days a week following the Insanity program, so by my next Doctor’s appointment on May 6, I will have lost ten pounds and lowered my blood pressure. I will hit this goal, because I want to be able to be there when my children get married and be able to actively play with my grandchildren.
Turn Your Goal Into an Action Plan
Now that you have your goal set, you need to accomplish it.
When you go somewhere new, you have a map. The same concept applies with goals. To reach your goals, you need to write down the steps you will take to reach your goal.
Mapping out the process by which you will achieve your goals is the easiest way to achieve them. You have a step-by-step guide.
Write Your Goal & Action Plan Down on Paper
There all sorts of apps, computer programs and word processing programs you can use to write your goals.
I suggest using old-fashioned pen and paper. This makes your goal tangible. In fact, it is said that goals that are written down have a fifty percent more chance of being reached.
Then, put that goal up on your fridge or closet wall, so everyday you remind yourself what you’re working hard for, and you don’t forget it.
Visualize Your Goals
I don’t want to get all mumbo jumbo on you, but if you do not believe you can’t achieve your goals, you never will. It is said “seeing is believing”, because it really is true.
For example, there was a study conducted of basketball players practicing free throws. There were three test groups: one physically practiced free throws, the second group merely visualized taking and making free throws, the third group did nothing.
Amazingly, not only did the first test group improve their free throw percentage, but the second group who merely visualized themselves taking and making free throws also improved their percentage.
How to Visualize, so You Can Reach Your Fitness Goals
Visualize your workouts: Take a couple of minutes before each workout and visualize going through the exercises with perfect form. Imagine how good you feel when giving your workout your all each and every time.
Visualize your end goal: If your end goal was to fit in that little black dress, then imagine yourself in that dress and how you want your body to look in it.
Tip: When you visualize your goal, make that picture as detailed as possible using all of your senses.
Avoid Life’s Many Obstacles & Achieve Your Goals
Obstacle #1: Life Gets in the Way
Interruptions are a part of life, but they are not an excuse to miss workouts. Working out in the morning is something I highly recommend to people who continually miss workouts, because they’re too tired at the end of the day or excuse after excuse.
Obstacle #2: Lack of Motivation
Don’t feel like working out? It happens to the best of us. You just need to remember the reason “why” you made the decision to change your lifestyle and suck it up. You’ll always be glad you did when your workout is over.
Obstacle #3: Social Gatherings
Social situations where everyone else is indulging can be a difficult situation. I am not going to tell you this won’t be difficult, but put limits on yourself and choose the healthy option. If you’re worried there won’t be anything healthy at your evening event, bring your own veggie and low-fat dip/hummus platter, and you’ve got yourself a healthy option!
Obstacle #4: Lack of Support
Some people will support your goals no matter what. Other people may tell you that “you’re crazy”. I have found for the most part, these types of people don’t want you to succeed, because their own ego will suffer. As long as your goal is attainable, don’t let the naysayers stand in your way.
My Blueprint to Achieving Your Fitness Goals
- Create a Fitness Goal Book: This notebook or journal will contain your written fitness goals, required actions, fitness affirmations that motivate you, motivational pictures, and anything else you find motivational.
- Write Down a 3-Month & 1-Year S.M.A.R.T Fitness Goal in your Goal Book: You can set weekly, monthly or even daily goals, but at minimum, have a 3-month and yearly goal.
- Write Down the Steps You Will Take to Reach Each Goal: Achievable goals require action, so write down the actions you will take, taking note of obstacles and how you will overcome them.
- Review Your Goals: Take a couple of minutes each day and review your goal book. Are you still moving towards your goals, have your goals changed, what can you do on a daily basis to reach your ultimate goal?
Need Help Reaching your Goals?
As a motivational fitness coach, I pride myself in helping people to not only reach their physical goals, but also attain mental wellbeing. I believe physical changes are not an end result, but a beginning.
If you find yourself continually setting goals and failing, or would just like a shoulder to lean on, consider creating a free TeamBeachbody account. This way, I can help you reach your goals.