We have all been there: that moment you realize you are not as fit as you would like to be. Maybe you strain your back picking up a box, or you feel winded after a flight of stairs. This is the foundation of setting fitness goals. Unfortunately, what often happens is that, motivated by this setback, you immediately jump into going to the gym every day. You might see some results, but end up losing steam about three weeks in.
This is because you started this journey with no particular destination in mind. Dedicating your time towards fitness is empowering, but many people don’t have a vision for where they want to go with it. Setting a specific, realistic goal can make the difference between stopping and starting a fitness routine and sticking with it long-term.
Seize the Day
How many times in your life have you put off your dreams? It’s the end of the year, which means that many people will put off their fitness goals for their New Year’s resolutions. What if, instead, you started today? You don’t have to wait until 2019 to start to become the best version of yourself. Pull out of pad of paper and begin setting your goals today.
Make Your Goals S.M.A.R.T.
S.M.A.R.T. goal setting is a popular strategy for setting achievable objectives. S.M.A.R.T. stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely.
Specific: Goals should be as specific as possible. After all, how will you know that you have succeeded if you don’t know what success looks like? It’s the difference between saying, “I want to be stronger” and “I want to deadlift twice my bodyweight.” Think about what it is exactly you’re trying to achieve.
Measurable: You also want your goal to be measurable with specific metrics. This way, you will be able to identify evidence that you have achieved your goal. Whether it is a certain number on the scale, lifting a certain weight, or running a mile in a certain amount of time, make sure your fitness goal is measurable.
Attainable: It’s crucial that you aren’t setting goals that you can’t actually accomplish. Of course, you want to push yourself, but you also don’t want to set yourself up for failure. Do you truly have the time, energy, and resources to accomplish what you have set out for yourself? If you do, go for it. If you don’t, adjust your expectations.
Relevant: Is your goal truly relevant to you? Does it line up with what you want for yourself? What is the motivation behind this goal? Make sure this goal is relevant to yourself and your dreams, not just a goal you think you should want to achieve.
Timely: Finally, give yourself a time frame for accomplishing this goal. Deadlines are motivating, as anyone who has written a term paper overnight knows. Be realistic and flexible at the same time. It’s better to be a couple of weeks later than you hoped in reaching your goal weight than to starve yourself in an attempt to meet a strict deadline.
Be honest with yourself about what is keeping you from accomplishing your goals. Why haven’t you achieved this objective yet? What potential problems could keep you from accomplishing what you want now? Think critically about what obstacles you might face so you can have a plan of action when they come up.
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