A lot of people know that they would like to get fitter, be healthier, feel more energised or lose weight but they don’t know how to get there. What they want is too general, it cannot be measured and so they cannot work out what needs to be done or indeed when they have reached their fitness goals.
It’s one thing to say “I need to get fit” but in reality what are you really saying? Do you want to be able to walk up the stairs without getting puffed, take a bike ride with the kids and actually enjoy it or are you aiming to run a marathon? Knowing what you actually want to achieve is going to completely change what you do to get there. Having properly defined fitness goals gives you something to aim for and allows you to plan how to get there.
Everyone will have unique fitness goals and it is important to remember that no fitness goals are more worthy than others. What is important is that you know what you want and that you know how to get there. Training in the gym with weights every day, although it will change your body shape and make you stronger, would be the wrong training for you if your main goal is to compete as the swimming part of a triathlon team. Similarly running 4 days a week before work is not the right training for someone who has the goal of gaining muscle mass.
What training you do have to be tailored to your own fitness goals otherwise you won’t see the results that you want and you won’t be happy.
So how do you set your fitness goals and what should they be like?
Well the easiest thing would be to say that you should set SMART goals but that’s a bit too cheesy isn’t it? Or maybe it’s not cheesy enough! Why not let’s set SMARTER goals! :-D
No matter what you think of motivational acronyms this one makes sense and when applied to fitness goals can make a huge difference to the quality of your life. So let’s take a quick look at SMARTER fitness goals in action.
S – Specific
M – Measurable
A – Achievable
R – Realistic
T – Time bound
E – Exciting
R – Recorded
So let’s say one of my fitness goals is to run a half marathon. Is that a SMARTER goal? Well, although it is measurable and quite specific it’s still not enough. I need to decide which half marathon I would like to enter and take note of that date, decide whether I have time for the training so that I know if it’s realistic and achievable. Make sure I am training for the conditions that I will be racing in, whether it’s a road race or cross country, hilly or flat. I also need to record my goal in writing and my training plan too. BUT most of all I need to feel excited by it! I need to want it. It has to be something that holds my attention and makes me think wow! It has to be exciting to me.
I have already set myself up for failure if I don’t really want to do it. How am I going to find that fitness motivation to get up and run before work in the rain if entering the race does not excite me? Basically I am not, and then I am not going to reach my goal and I won’t feel proud of myself and I will probably believe I would not have managed it anyway, I am not a ‘sporty’ person. I am better at cooking than fitness, it was silly of me to even entertain the idea and I would go back to sitting on the couch complaining of my weight and wishing that I looked like a fitness model.
And that’s the thing! MY fitness goal shouldn’t have ever been to run a half marathon, which was my best friend’s goal. I don’t really like running that much – my goal is to look like a fitness model!
So how can I make THAT into a SMARTER goal?
Well I can find images of models I would like to look like and study how I would need to change my body to look like them, I would find a personal trainer or online coach to design a plan for me and show them the images. At this point I would have a timeframe for achieving my specific goal that is realistic and achievable and visual pictures to measure my progress against.
I could also start recording my measurements and place the images in a place where I could see them every day. Best of my entire goal would be exciting! I might even book a photoshoot in a few months time and start to get really excited about how I will look in the photos! I am going to look like a fitness model, which is something I have always dreamed about. I want to train in the gym and I actually want to get up for those early morning runs! I want to work towards it because it’s MY fitness goal.
Fitness goals are like all other hopes and dreams for your life – they reflect who you are, they are personal and unique to you and, when made correctly, they will enrich your life and give you health and happiness to share with your loved ones.
Fitness goals should be carefully considered because when you set fitness goals that excite you then you will find the motivation comes easily to undertake the training needed to get there. When you do eventually reach your fitness goals the feeling of pride and self-worth will allow setting more fitness goals for yourself, perhaps even more exciting ones.
The feeling of achieving the lifetime fitness and the confidence you gain from reaching your own personal fitness goals will spill over into other areas of your life too and you could find yourself achieving exciting goals in other areas too.
Put simply – fitness goals will change your life. It’s time to start goal setting!