Are you preparing to make a positive change to your health and fitness, but aren’t sure where to begin?

Fitness goals can be incredibly motivating, but without well-planned and realistic objectives, you may end up frustrated by a lack of expected results.  Setting realistic fitness goals is essential to achieving success and avoiding disappointment or burnout.

What is goal Setting?

Goal setting can be a powerful way of helping you to plan ahead and achieve what you want in life.  Sometimes we accidentally muddy our paths by being too eager or too ambitious in our goal setting.  Really think about what you want to achieve, what resources you have available, your diet and your recovery between each exercise session.

Sometimes, the biggest blocker to achieving healthy habits is not the desire to be healthy, but the time to do so. Be Open and Be Honest.

For example, if you find your schedule is packed with work, parenting and other commitments, then instead of immediately committing to working out at the gym for an hour four times per week, you have to consider your schedule, priorities and time constraints first.

How to set your goals

Your goals should be realistic and achievable within a certain time frame, and specific to your lifestyle and training habits.

The SMART goal-setting strategy is a popular method for setting and obtaining all sorts of goals, and it works particularly well for fitness too.

Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time specific.

1.     Specific: Your fitness goals should be clear and specific.

Simply saying, “I want to get in shape,” doesn’t define which shape or how to achieve it or how to recognise if you do. Try setting a specific goal like “I want to lose 10 pounds in the next 3 months.”

When you have a specific goal, it’s easier to identify when you have reached it and plan what you need to do to get there.  Try to avoid outcome goals like wanting to lose a specific amount of weight as these are harder to control. Opt for a process-orientated goal like completing a specific number of workouts per week instead.

2.     Measurable: Your goals should be measurable and in sight.

Setting benchmarks along the way to your main goal will help you track your progress. The further away the goal, the less the reward and less dopamine (happy hormone) is secreted in pursuit of that goal. Bang goes that motivation!

With your goals in sight your motivation can be a huge asset. For example, if your goal is to run 5k, set a weekly goal and you can measure your progress by tracking how much distance you’re running each week. Or if your goal is to improve your flexibility, you can measure progress by tracking how close you can get to touching your toes

3.    Achievable: Your goals should be challenging but achievable.

Setting unrealistic goals can be demotivating, so it’s important to set goals that are within your capabilities, but not too easy! It is important to find that balance.

For example, committing to working out 2-3 times per week for 30 minutes each time may be a more realistic goal than committing to working out 5-6 times per week for an hour each time.

When focusing on one goal it is easy to forget other aspects of your health. By ignoring your sleep or nutrition, your achievements can be affected, so make sure your goals are not to the detriment of other areas of your health.

4.     Relevant: Your goals should be relevant to your overall fitness goals.

For example, if your goal is to improve your cardiovascular health, it might not be relevant to focus on strength training exercises.

Consider your lifestyle, current fitness level, any health conditions, available time and what will make you feel good. If you haven’t exercised in a while, it may not be realistic to expect to run a marathon within a few weeks! Start with activities that are appropriate for your current fitness level and gradually work your way up to more challenging activities.

Perhaps you want to feel stronger and healthier so you can be more active with your children or grandchildren or want to walk unhindered around a 36 hole golf course? These are meaningful sources of motivation and, as a result, you might be more inspired and committed to putting in the effort required.

5.     Time specific: There are two aspects to Time. Daily and overall.

Your goals should have a deadline to create a habit and ultimately a sense of urgency and motivation. When you set yourself a realistic time frame, it’s easier to plan ahead and schedule the time you’ll need to dedicate towards achieving your goal, and you’re more likely to be motivated knowing there’s a specific deadline.

For example, if your goal is to complete a marathon, you might set a deadline of 6 months from now. Or ensuring you eat high protein and high fibre snacks each day will support your training goal.

By setting realistic fitness goals using the SMART framework, you’ll be more likely to achieve success and maintain a healthy and active lifestyle.

Remember, nothing happens over night and you may hit some bumps en-route. Setting achievable goals can help you stay motivated and on track.

Stay Positive – YOU can do this!

Helping you live your healthiest and happiest life. Revival Health & Wellbeing Centre offers a variety of treatments, clinics, counselling and holistic therapies from our specialist team of practitioners.

Please contact us on 01386 792 126 to discuss your consultation.