How to Set Realistic Fitness Goals You’ll Actually Achieve
Fitness goals are important. They hold us accountable and encourage us to push through temporary discomfort for longer-lasting change.
Here are some tips for enacting real, positive change.
- Focus on one goal at a time.
When it comes to setting a fitness goal, one of the biggest mistakes is that people try to do too much at one time, setting yourself up for failure. This can lead to negative self-talk that lowers your chances of achieving any of the goals.
Instead, pick one thing you want to crush and channel your efforts into achieving that before exploring another goal.
- Make it your own.
Your goal should be your goal—something that you personally are excited about and realistically able to achieve—not someone else’s.
- Make it measurable, specific, and time-bound.
Having a measurable goal allows your to track your progress.
- Set the bar low—at least, at first.
Your goal should seem relatively easy or within reach of what you are doing. On the confidence scale, you should be at a 9 out of 10 when it comes to your belief that you’ll actually achieve your goal. The less confident you are, the less likely you will adhere to the steps needed to make it happen.
Having success early on is especially important as it builds confidence that can snowball into long-term results.
- Play the long game.
We all want instant gratification, but lasting changes take a while. Know that you are never going to make an overhaul in one week.
A long-term mentality will help you see your goal as a lifestyle change, rather than quick fix, and you’ll be much more likely to adhere to it.
- Understand what’s driving your goal.
Sometimes fitness goals are driven by underlying fears, insecurities, or body image issues. It’s important to address these issues rather than assuming achieving your goal will assuage them.
- Be flexible in your definition of success.
Though it is important to make your goal specific, it’s also important to give yourself permission to alter it as you progress with your fitness journey.
Set goals you think you can achieve and then modify them as you understand more what you are capable of.
- Develop micro goals on the way to your big goal.
Within your larger goal you should schedule in smaller, confidence-building goals that are achievable in a shorter time period such as every two to three weeks.
It’s all about those little victories. You want to be able to reward yourself mentally, and having to wait too long to feel like you’ve accomplished anything can diminish your motivation and pull you off track entirely.
- Be honest about your prior and current habits.
Asking yourself the tough questions can help you honestly evaluate what’s most appropriate for you. If you want to see measurable progression, you have to be realistic with what you are currently doing.
Being honest with yourself will help you identify and eliminate barriers before you get started.
- Plan for a support system.
When thinking about your goal, you should also think about who in your life could encourage, motivate, and hold you accountable to it. Then recruit them whenever you’re in need of support.