My Tried And Tested Tips For Setting Your Fitness Goals
For those of you that are familiar with my blog, you will know I am not a big believer in New Year’s Resolutions… But, I am a BIG believer in setting yourself goals that you work towards gradually throughout the year.
I am going to start by saying that focusing or having an aesthetics based goal is not going to be part of this article. I will be focusing purely on fitness/performance-based goals. I explain why in more detail in this blog post Why Exercising for Weight Loss Doesn’t Work.
By focusing on performance-based goals your aesthetics will transform as a by-product of your training.
Follow these top tips for setting and achieving your fitness goals this year!
Define what you want
Don’t just say, “I want to be fitter” or “I want to be stronger.” When setting yourself goals you need to be as specific as possible. Not knowing exactly what it is you want to achieve is the fastest route to failure, so it’s vital you sit down and work out what your goals are in detail. It’s also important to identify your goal because this will determine the type of training you need to do and how often.
Your goals should be positive and personal to you. Doing anything for negative reasons is never going to be sustainable and don’t just copy your friend’s goals!
Do not pick a goal that you know you won’t enjoy training for. As a personal trainer, I often hear people wanting to get back into exercise by running a marathon. The first question I ask them is – do you enjoy running? For most people, the answer is no. If you don’t enjoy long distance running (like me) try a strength-based goal.
Make your goals M.A.T.
Measureable: Your goal could be to to complete 10 pull ups, squat your bodyweight or run 10k in under an hour. Whatever it is all your training should be specific for this goal.
Achievable: Be realistic, if you know you are overweight and have knee/back issues, do not then go and set yourself the goal of running a marathon!
Timed: Your goals should always be time sensitive, put a date in which you will attempt to achieve your goal. Your training program should fall in line with this deadline.
Track Your Progress
Use a training diary to track your progression. It’s a simple but crucial step, every athlete will have a periodisation training schedule when they are training for something specific. Yours doesn’t need to be complicated, just log what you do in each session so you can track your progress. Not only will it motivate you to see how far you have come, it will make your training more efficient.
Acknowledge your weaknesses
We all have them. Think of the last 3 excuses you had for not working out (e.g. too tired, not enough time in the day, too sore).
Answer these questions:
- What are your weaknesses?
- Why have you not already achieved the goal you seek?
- What are the personal, professional, and circumstantial barriers that have gotten in the way?
- How can your time management be more effective?
Your goals in fitness will come true only if you work on addressing these issues first.
Remember, if you want something badly enough you WILL make time for it.
It’s true that you don’t get something for nothing; every success comes with sacrifices whether they are big or small. For your goals to be achieved, the sacrifices or compromises that you make can be just as important as the goal itself.
So, start thinking about this question – What can you do day-to-day to achieve your goals and what are you willing to give up right now? Here are a few ideas of some small sacrifices that can make a big difference…
- Go to bed at 11pm rather than 1am
- Have two drinks rather than 5 drinks on your nights out.
- Replace fizzy drinks with water
- Spend time stretching whilst watching TV rather than sitting.
Make your goal public
Not only will this hold you accountable, it’ll also help you find out who really does want you to succeed. People who want to see you successful will be encouraging and optimistic. The doubters will fill you with negative energy (“You’ll never be able to do that.”) Once you identify the haters, try your best to avoid them, at least until you have achieved your goals.
Do something every day
What is the first step that you can make right now to put you on your path toward achievement? It is the small daily steps that will create the momentum needed to ignite the drive in your mind and body.
I don’t mean start doing intense workouts every day, but in-between your workouts you could be improving your flexibility and mobility, or working on specific weaknesses you may have like glute activation.
Although I have just spoken about how important goals are, do not get too hung up on the end goal. It is vital that you enjoy the process of training that way you will go out of you way to do it.
Live in the moment and use your training sessions as meditation, connecting your mind and your body will mean you get so much more from your training.
By setting goals in this way you should start to enjoy the process of getting, stronger, faster and fitter – it’s addictive!