Goals can be an important part of achieving anything in life. They give you direction and keep you on track. Accomplishing goals or tracking progress towards them keeps you motivated, and fitness is no exception. Establishing fitness goals is an ongoing process that can guide you through a start or transition, as well as prevent stagnation or decline in your fitness. We periodically help our athletes set and reach new milestones. Let’s look at some points that will help you follow through on, rather than abandon goals.
Great ideas or resolutions are different from goals. A person may say “I’m gonna get fitter this year,” “I’d like to lose 10-20 lbs.,” “I really want to be stronger,” or “I’m going to train for a marathon”. These are all admirable and would indeed increase fitness in the appropriate person (for example they have the weight to lose or have never run a marathon), however these statements are arbitrary and subjective. They aren’t the type that would necessarily prompt follow through from most people.
Most experts suggest that you set goals in writing using positive statements. Writing goals down gives them foundation in your mind, transitioning them from fleeting ideas to something concrete. There is no denying you are making a statement and no fooling yourself about it. Written goals should follow certain parameters as well. The following acronym for smart goals is often seen:
S – Specific
M – Measurable
A – Attainable
R – Relevant
T – Time-bound
Here are some examples of well written goals: “I will lower my bodyfat 5% , as well as implement my physician’s directions to improve my blood markers within the next 2 months,” “I will lose 20 lbs by the first day of summer,” “I will increase my deadlift 15 lbs. by June 30th,” “I will start training tomorrow and will complete the 2013 OC Marathon.” This type of goal will help you outline a plan to stay on track to reach the end. Once it’s clearly defined, action steps can be decided to help you finish what you really want.
It should go without saying that your fitness goals have to be set by you, and can’t be dictated by someone else. They need to hold meaning for you. The really important things in life are often the catalyst that will help people set and attain an ambitious goal. When I returned to training after a hiatus that included a high stress job with a lot of sitting and travel, along with having two children, I didn’t feel good physically. My kids were young and I knew that I wanted to be able to be active with them. A trainer asked me what my goals were. I told him I’d be fooling myself if I said I didn’t want to look better, but what I really wanted was to be able to keep up with my kids through their teen years. That was a bigger motivator than anything, and I knew that if I worked hard enough to perform that well I would look a lot better too.
A good coach can help you set or amend goals, and stay on track to get the outcome you really desire. The most important thing is to just set some goals. Fitness waits for no one, and it doesn’t magically appear in the month of January. It is attainable and there are a lot of ways to make it fun! Don’t wait, instead of cruising through life on autopilot, set some goals now.