Go for the Goal
Have you decided it’s time for a lifestyle change, but don’t know how to start setting realistic goals? You’re not alone. In fact, if you set your fitness goals as a New Years Resolution, you have over a 50% chance of quitting within three to six months (Source). Stay on the right track by using these simple tips to stay motivated and positive about your goals:
- Look at the bigger picture. Some days, you just aren’t going to be motivated to get out of bed early to go to the gym. And sometimes a big, warm Cinnabon just sounds a lot better than a Kind bar. How do you stay motivated when you have these off days (or weeks or months)? Try having a big picture goal. I don’t mean a number on the scale or a 5k time–think bigger than that. Something like, “I want to be in good enough shape to play with my grandchildren.” Motivate yourself with a goal that is personal instead of statistical. Maybe you said you want to look good for your anniversary; remember that is still a temporary goal and once it is reached, you might lose motivation to continue on your fitness journey. Instead, you could say you want to look good for your spouse. The goal is specific in that it targets something personal in your life, but it is also long-term because there is no final destination.
- When you do set short-term goals, make them specific. Now that you have a big picture goal, it is a good idea to come up with some specific short-term goals to keep you on the right track. No, “I want to lose weight,” does not count as a specific goal. Try, “I will get down to 17% body fat in 3 months.” Remember to make it challenging; not impossible. If you currently weigh 180 pounds, it’s probably unrealistic to set a goal weight of 135 pounds in 3 months. You want a goal that is difficult but doable so that you are pleased with your progress and motivated to continue.
- Don’t get comfortable. So you improved your mile time by two minutes over the past two months? Fantastic! Now, how fast will you run it next month? Don’t get comfortable because you met a short-term goal—make a new one. When you begin to consistently reach your goals, start setting shorter-term interim goals to challenge yourself. You got your deadlift up to 180? Then in two months, you want to hit 200, in four months 220, and so on. Celebrate your victories, but don’t get complacent.
- Share your success. Research has shown that writing down your goals, sharing them with a friend and updating that friend on your success will make you 33% more successful in accomplishing your goals than if you do it all on your own (Source). Have a friend keep you accountable for your goals and help you stay on track. Try to share with someone who is also trying to get in shape so you can both benefit from the partnership.