HOW TO STICK TO YOUR FITNESS GOALS
Gym goals can be difficult. We all start with good intentions for self improvement with a large dose of motivation. We start and then somewhere down the line we fall off the wagon, where did the direction and motivation go?
There are many reasons for this, so let me take you through what might be holding you back from reaching your fitness goals and how to get back on track fast should you fall off again.
PEN TO PAPER
Planning is always going to be the number one key factor for any type of successful project.
I like to write out, What - Why - How. Example:
- WHAT do I want to achieve? = To be able to run 10k comfortably within an hour.
- WHY do I want to achieve that? = So I can take part in a 10k race and feel confident and prepared to do it well.
- HOW do I achieve that? = Being committed to running 3x per week and recording my runs on my running app with a constant commitment to improve my distance and time.
The question 'why' is a huge factor to staying focused. We all have an emotional tie for why we want change. We all have a drive to be fit and healthy, write down what yours is. When you begin to waiver or feel demotivated, do back to this and remind yourself why you're doing what you're doing.
HAVE A PLAN
An analogy I will always hold at the front of my mind was one my Dad told me. 'Scott, you can't eat an Elephant in one go. When eating an Elephant, take one bite at a time.'
Some fitness goals are bigger than others, so achievability factors will vary person to person. Don't expect to see big change in a week, understand change happens from habitual behaviour and consistency. A phrase widely used is setting SMART goals:
- Time Bound
Set Specific Goals
Your goal must be clear and well defined. Vague or generalized goals are unhelpful because they don't provide sufficient direction. Remember, you need goals to show you the way. Make it as easy as you can to get where you want to go by defining precisely where you want to end up.
Set Measurable Goals
Include precise amounts, dates, and so on in your goals so you can measure your degree of success. If your goal is simply defined as "To reduce expenses" how will you know when you have been successful? In one month's time if you have a 1 percent reduction or in two years' time when you have a 10 percent reduction? Without a way to measure your success you miss out on the celebration that comes with knowing you have actually achieved something.
Set Attainable Goals
Make sure that it's possible to achieve the goals you set. If you set a goal that you have no hope of achieving, you will only demoralize yourself and erode your confidence.
However, resist the urge to set goals that are too easy. Accomplishing a goal that you didn't have to work hard for can be anticlimactic at best, and can also make you fear setting future goals that carry a risk of non-achievement. By setting realistic yet challenging goals, you hit the balance you need. These are the types of goals that require you to "raise the bar" and they bring the greatest personal satisfaction.
Set Relevant Goals
Goals should be relevant to the direction you want your life and career to take. By keeping goals aligned with this, you'll develop the focus you need to get ahead and do what you want. Set widely scattered and inconsistent goals, and you'll fritter your time – and your life – away.
Set Time-Bound Goals
Your goals must have a deadline. Again, this means that you know when you can celebrate success. When you are working on a deadline, your sense of urgency increases and achievement will come that much quicker.
There are many examples in this world of people achieving huge physical feats so we all know that almost anything is achievable one way or another. However life can get in the way or more frequently the case we get in the way of ourselves. Strive for progress, not perfection. Keep positive and get inspired. There are many podcasts, youtube videos and books out there that offer motivation and guidance in anything and everything! Although I’m a huge believer in being kind to yourself, I also strongly believe that it’s extremely common to procrastinate and lose focus. That said, take ownership of your health and fitness and you'll reap the benefits, both physically and mentally.
Author: Scott Ashley