Setting fitness goals is an art and a science. Overly-ambitious goals will feel brave and inspiring at first but will soon weigh you down with their unreasonable demands. We’ve created a series of tips that will help you turn your wildest dreams into a series of goals that will feel both lofty and attainable.
Do it. Do it today. Don’t think of reasons why you can’t. Don’t wait until you are in a little better shape, or work eases up, or the weather improves. It will never be easy to start, and you will never feel like you are ready. If it’s never a convenient time to do it, that means the best time is now.
“Winning a is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing,” said famed football coach and sound-bite machine Vince Lombardi. In other words, you build positive momentum behind a chain of accomplishments. The opposite is true for a string of failures. Make your goals small and attainable, and then renew them every 30 days or so. If you currently bench press 175 pounds and you eventually want to hit 225 pounds, make 185 pounds your next target. Celebrate those small victories on the way to your larger goal.
Don’t Do Everything At Once
If you have multiple goals, make sure they don’t compete. Let’s say your goals are: hit the gym every day, cook at home more often, bike to work twice a week, and go to bed earlier. Those are well-rounded goals, but they all take hours out of your day and are most likely impossible to accomplish concurrently. At the start, make at least some of your goals easy on your schedule as you transition into this new lifestyle. Create some time-neutral or time-saving goals, such as drinking more water throughout the day, watch less Netflix, meal prep on Sundays, or play fewer video games.
The best goals are measurable. “Work out more” is too vague and difficult to maintain your accountability. Keep your goal measurable but also within your power to control. Losing 10 pounds or adding 20 pounds to your squat are measurable goals but can be influenced by hormone fluctuation or injuries or a million other things. A goal such as “Get to the gym 24 times this month” is both measurable and under your control.
Make Them Known
You can argue that social media has been great for the fitness world, or the worst thing ever. (We can see both sides.) But it is good for one thing: putting your goals into the public sphere. Sharing your fitness and nutrition aspirations with your network will increase the accountability you feel to accomplish your stated goals. Just consider yourself a fitness “influencer.”
This might be the most important step: Be quick to forgive yourself. If you blow one of your goals – maybe you overshot, or you had a stressful month – move right along and set up the next 30-day goal. Try to keep a short memory for failures and a long memory for accomplishments. After all, you and that critical voice inside your head are all on the same team.