Are you meeting your fitness goals or are you “treading water,” going through the motions without seeing a change in your fitness level? Often, people fail to reach their fitness goals because their goals aren’t well defined or are too vague. They want to “get in shape” or lose weight. Unfortunately, these kinds of non-specific goals won’t take you very far or help you stay motivated. Need some tips on setting achievable fitness goals you can reach and conquer?
Know You Have What It Takes to Reach Your Fitness Goals
Lots of people THINK about the idea of getting fit but many don’t follow through. Even those that get started quit after a few weeks. The reason? In some cases, they lack confidence in their ability to succeed. If you have doubts about your ability to succeed with a weight training or other fitness program, you’ll be less likely to pursue it or stick with it once you start.
Give yourself a pep talk. Flip through fitness magazines and look at before and after pictures of significantly overweight, unfit, real people who transformed themselves through exercise. Read about people who have overcome great odds to reach their fitness goals. For example, the marathoner with a prosthetic leg or the inspiring woman with multiple sclerosis who climbs high mountains. These are real examples. If they can do it, what’s stopping you?
Start slow and gradually build up your fitness level. Getting fit is an ongoing process. Don’t think because you don’t feel or look any different after two weeks it’s not working. It is.
Make Sure Your Fitness Goals Are Compatible with What You Want
Make sure the fitness goal you’re pursuing is what YOU want and achieving it will be satisfying to you personally. Don’t set your goals based on what you SHOULD do or to please someone else. Think about what getting fit means to you and how it will make your life better. Don’t do it because someone tells you you’d look better if you lost ten pounds. That’s the wrong motivation.
Sure you want to get in shape – but be more specific. Do you want to decrease body fat, build lean body mass, get stronger? Focus on one goal at a time so you can pursue it with laser-like intensity. Once you know your main goal, narrow it down. For example, “I want to drop my body fat percentage 5%.” Then put it on a timeline. When you have a specific goal with a number attached to it, you can measure your progress to make sure you’re staying on course. It gives you something to focus on and work towards and helps you stay motivated.
Your fitness goals have to be compatible with the rest of your life. If you work 40 hours a week and have a family, an hour of exercise a day may not be realistic. If it’s not a realistic and sustainable goal, you’ll burn out quickly. Start by doing an exercise DVD first thing in the morning twice a week and gradually increase the volume of your workout as time permits. You can always increase the length or frequency of your workouts over time. If you have limited time, short, high-intensity workouts like my new X10 DVD deliver results without taking up a lot of time.
Write Your Goals Down
No matter how firmly your goal is stuck in your head, write it down. Putting it on paper makes your goal official and gives you greater accountability. Once you’ve written down your main goal, break it down into smaller steps – where you expect to be in one month, two months etc. Then map out the weekly steps you’ll take to achieve it. Make sure the steps you plan will move you towards your goal.
For example, of your goal is to build strength, you have to use resistance training and progressively overload your muscles by increasing the weight or volume of your workouts over time. You won’t get there by running on a treadmill. It’s common for people to work out without a structured plan and they’re less likely to see results. If you’re trying to build strength, make resistance training the focus of your efforts. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do cardio, but skew the volume of your workouts towards strength training.
Surround Yourself with Like-Minded People
Immerse yourself in the fitness culture. Read fitness magazines and talk to other people that make fitness a priority to help you stay motivated. Even if your friends and family don’t work out, you can get support and camaraderie online in our fitness forums or facebook fan page. Read about how other people are reaching theirs. It’s one of the best ways to learn and stay motivated.
The Bottom Line?
You can achieve your fitness goals if you clearly define them, make them specific and you have confidence in your ability to achieve them. Use these tips to help you make your goals a reality.
Dominican University of California. “Study Backs Up Strategies for Achieving Goals”