Having clearly-defined fitness goals is an important element to your success with exercise as it relates to weight management. However, not all goals are created equal.
If you are trying to replicate someone else’s success or you don’t know the specific reasons for why you want to work out, your fitness routine might lack a purpose and sense of direction.
Most of us want to get more fit to feel confident, be happy and have good health. You might identify with one or more of these motivations, but you’ll need more than just that to set fitness goals that will help you attain them.
These three key steps can help you identify goals that will help guide your progress and make the most out of your workouts.
Step 1 – Identify Fitness Goals That You Are Focused on
Try to be as specific as possible. What are you setting out to achieve?
- “I want to lose 50 pounds.”
- “I want to build 5-10 pounds of muscle.”
- “I want to fit into my old clothes.”
- “I want to feel confident at [insert event].”
This will give you a starting point to stand on and a benchmark for progress. It can also help you break down your bigger goals into smaller goals that you can achieve in a shorter period of time (i.e. losing 1-2 lbs. a week).
Step 2 – Write Down Your Bigger “Why”
Why do you have the specific goals that you identified above? This is the part where you have to look inward to find the bigger answers.
- “I don’t feel happy and confident in my current body. Getting more fit will help me build self-esteem.”
- “I am on a lot of medications for health conditions that could be alleviated with weight-loss and exercise.”
- “I want more energy to get through the day and not crash when I get home.”
- “I am worried about my health and I want to be around for a long time for my spouse, kids and the rest of my loved ones.”
This is the part that brings meaning to your fitness journey and helps you stay motivated when things get tough and challenging.
Step 3 – Be Realistic with Your Commitment
Not everyone can hit the ground running with their fitness goals and start off by hitting the gym five to six times a week. Most of us have full schedules and personal obligations that will influence our fitness goals. You might even have physical limitations that will affect what you can and cannot do, such as joint pain or an injury that makes movement difficult.
- “I am a parent with a full-time job and kids in grade school. My time is compromised by after-school activities and child care.”
- “I have an aging parent who requires a lot of my time and attention.”
- “I am recovering from a knee injury and I can’t be on my feet for too long right now. I have to modify most exercises.”
For this step, just be honest and realistic with yourself. Don’t set your expectations too high to the point that they are unattainable. As long as you are getting active and making progress, however slow, that is what counts.
Identifying your fitness goals is not always as simple as it sounds. To stay motivated and determined, you need goals that are realistic, attainable and true to your deeper internal motivations.
To complete the steps listed above, you may want to get insight from a healthcare provider, spouse or other trusted loved one. Sometimes the support of others can help you realize things about yourself that perhaps you didn’t know before.
For more information on goal-setting, click here to learn about SMART GOALS.