If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance that you’re on the right path and want to learn how to set fitness goals in a way that will help you accomplish them! But maybe you’ve tried to do this in the past and failed. Trust me, it’s not you. It’s very likely there were some things missing which ultimately caused you to fail.
Before you do anything, you need to learn how to set goals and achieve them. There are some simple techniques that will tremendously increase your chances. So, let’s get you on a path to success right now!
And if sticking to your set goals isn’t an issue for you (you rockstar!), you can find tons of ideas here for your next challenge.
And now let’s get started on your fitness goals for 2020!
Why Is Goal Setting Important?
Have you ever tried getting in your car and just driving without a destination in mind? Fun for a little bit, but ultimately turns out to be a huge waste of time. Well, when you don’t have a clear goal it’s kind of like that.
Chances are you already have some goals even. You may not think of them as goals, but they are still things you wish for. Goals can be short term goals, like finally signing up for a gym membership. Or they can be long term, like living a healthy and active life until very old age.
But do you know how to set fitness goals? I mean truly commit to them with a strategy in mind that will help you during the tough times when all you want to do is throw in that proverbial towel? There are many things you can do to stack the odds in your favor. And it starts with setting SMART goals.
What are SMART Goals & How to Set SMART Fitness Goals?
- S – Specific: Set specific goals; for instance, instead of simply stating you will get fit or lose weight, be more specific and intentional (ex: I will start running). But even that’s not good enough yet.
- M – Measurable: Make sure your goals are measurable. So if we stick with the running example, you can target a specific number of miles per week or your speed or your heart rate.
- A – Attainable: Set realistic goals that will still stretch your current limits. For instance, if you always run at a certain speed, try a sprint for 20 seconds first. And progressively increase your sprint speed or durations.
- R – Relevant: Make sure your goals are relevant. This means that they align to and support your overall life’s mission, purpose and passion. Another way to think of it is in terms of your “Why?”
- T – Time-bound: Always give yourself a timeline to reach your goal.
How to Achieve Goals – A Step by Step Guide
Write S.M.A.R.T. goals. This simple goal-setting technique is based on solid research to increase your chances.
Why Is It Important to Set Specific Goals?
Your goals should be very clear and specific. If your goals are very generic, you won’t be able to figure out where to start or where you’re going. They need to tell you what you want to accomplish, how, when, and why you want to accomplish it.
For instance, saying “I want to increase my physical activity” is not a good goal. Instead, say “I will commit to weight training at my gym a minimum of 3 days a week. I will do this by waking up an hour earlier on gym days and preparing my workout gear and my plan the night before. I need to do this in order to gain strength and confidence and be a good role model for my children.
Why Is It Important That Goals Be Measurable?
Measuring your goals is a lot more than just putting down numbers to track your progress. It’s also a really good motivator. Seeing your progress on paper (or a spreadsheet) is hard to ignore and it can really help you stay focused and excited as you get closer to accomplishing it.
Why Is It Important to Set Realistic Goals?
Working on your goals is hard enough. You need to set goals that challenge you but are not impossible. As an example, if you are not a runner, becoming the fastest runner in the world might be slightly unrealistic. Simply put, you need to make sure you set attainable goals where you have the ability to accomplish them using the resources you have.
Why Should Your Goals be Relevant?
Your goals should support your overall mission and be important to you and not someone else. They should not be competing with other goals you have either.
For instance, if you have just given birth and are nursing a child, focusing on weight loss at this time just may not be relevant and can compete directly with other important things in your life (like sleeping and maintaining milk supply).
Why Is It Important to Have a Timeline for Goals?
Now you need to define the time in which you want to accomplish your goal. This will help you stay focused. Deadlines help hold you accountable when other things compete for your attention. If you do not set a target date or a deadline, it’s very easy to never get started.
Another tip is to break your goals into smaller chunks. A timeline of a year or more may seem like forever. But quarterly accomplishments seem closer and more real.
Write your goals down and devise a strategy or plan how you will achieve them.
Once you’ve gone through the above steps, write your goals down. This act alone can increase your chances of achieving your goal by 33%. (*) When you write it down be as specific and creative as possible. Perhaps even create a vision board for yourself.
Make your goals visible.
And now put your goals up somewhere visible where you will be likely to look at them several times a day. Choose where you display them strategically. This technique will help you review your goals daily and it will keep you from straying.
Build-in accountability for your goals.
The results of the study linked above (*) also support sharing this goal with a friend. I will caution that if you do share your goal, limit the number of friends you tell and choose them wisely. One may be all you need. This person needs to be truly supportive, motivating, and you need to feel accountable to them.
Don’t tell everyone. This is far more likely to trick your brain into the feeling that you’ve already achieved your goal, thus making you less motivated to actually do anything to move towards it.
Make the first actionable step towards your goals.
Research shows that by making the first step on the road to your goals, you are more likely to succeed with the behavior that will help you achieve them in the long run.
Practice visualization, meditation and gratitude.
Visualization and meditation are really powerful tools to help you re-train your brain to think and act in a way that will support your goals. And research shows that focusing on gratitude can really be a gamechanger for actually creating change (*, *). Do this daily for maximum results!
Limit your goals to 2 or 3.
I know it can be tempting to do so and you are excited, but limit your goals to maybe 2 or 3 at a time.
So what’s your personal goal for the coming year? Are you ready to set and achieve it?! Or maybe you need ideas for fitness goals to set? Good news, I got you covered!