Setting a goal for fitness is crucial to long-term motivation and success. A goal motivates you to fit in a workout when it would be easier to stay home. How you create your goals, though, may have an impact on whether you stick to those goals.
Telling yourself that you want to lose weight might get you to start living a healthy lifestyle for awhile, but an unspecific weight-loss goal alone is harder to stick to than a specific goal with a measurable outcome. A generic weight-loss goal doesn’t account for increased muscle mass, improved physical fitness, or overall better health. It’s also difficult to maintain a vision of how you’ll feel when you achieve your goal if you don’t know exactly what that goal might be.
What to do instead.
The more defined your goal, the more likely you are to stick with it for the long-term. When you’ve chosen a goal, make it SMART by following the system below:
- The more specific your goal, the easier it is to maintain a vision for how you’ll feel when you achieve that goal. For example, if you’ve always wanted to be a runner, set a specific goal for becoming a runner by committing to run a specific 5K. You have a clearly defined goal of finishing a race of a specific distance on a predetermined date, making it much easier to break that goal into smaller parts.
- Can you measure whether you are on track to achieve your goal? If your goal is specific, you should be able to break it down into clearly measurable smaller-goals. Achieving measurable progress lets you celebrate smaller victories on your way to achieving your lager goal.
- Whether you track your progress in an app on your phone or with a pad and paper, keep track of every workout, milestone, and achievement you hit along the way. A training plan that you can keep visible on your desk or your refrigerator holds you accountable to yourself for staying with your plan. Partnering with someone that shares your goal keeps you even more accountable. Find a buddy with the same goal, and encourage each other to hit milestones and workouts every day.
- Is your goal realistic to your level of fitness right now? If not, you may want to consider breaking the unrealistic goal into smaller goals that are realistic. If you’ve never stepped on a treadmill, setting a goal of a full marathon this spring may not be realistic, whereas a 5K might be a great goal that you can use as a stepping stone for future goals.
- Be clear and specific when giving yourself a timeframe. The timeframe should give you plenty of time to fully cover a safe and healthy training plan, but close enough that you maintain momentum and motivation.
Have you successfully set SMART goals? Share your goals and your tips with your fellow FitClub members in the comment section!