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  • Writer's pictureKameron Stone

Succeed With Fitness Goals

Updated: Oct 29, 2019

"Shoot for the moon because even if you fall short, you land amongst the stars" (John Lee Dumas) This is one of my favorite quotes about goal setting, it shows how important it is to set your goals high. Goal setting is one of the most important variables for creating success, especially within the realm of fitness. There are a lot of misconceptions about goal setting and there a lot of great theories about goal setting, I will go through the common misconceptions and the best of the best practices to create success with fitness goals.

Man standing on mountain succeeding

Benefits of Setting Fitness Goals

Setting smart fitness goals can have a huge impact on your fitness journey. When you set proper goals you are making a commitment to yourself and you feel more accountable to reach them. Setting fitness goals allows you to focus on the important elements of the skill you are practicing, along with increasing your self-confidence and motivation.

Setting specific goals increases performance and difficult goals increase performance, even more, when those goals are achievable. One of the greatest benefits of setting goals is the feedback you receive through them, with proper goals you will know if what you are doing is effective because you will be making progress towards your goal.

Setting Smart Fitness Goals

There is a very simple way to make sure that every goal is effective and works to improve your motivation. It is called setting SMART goals, SMART stands for; Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely.

Specific goals are clear, concise, and easy to understand. An easy way to determine if your goals are specific is to ask yourself "if I told somebody my goal, would they easily understand the intended outcome in detail? Would they know when it will be completed? Would they know how I am going to reach it?" If you answered yes, your goal will be specific.

Measurable goals are quantitative and able to be measured easily. When you set a measurable goal you will be able to measure your progress and receive valuable feedback from your efforts to help keep you motivated. an easy way to do this is to make sure that your goals are number oriented or at least set up in a way you can track your progress.

Attainable goals are goals that you can actually reach in a reasonable manner, but also it is important that you challenge yourself with your goals. The key to setting attainable goals is to place them just outside your comfort zone, this is the perfect spot to place your goals because they are attainable In your eyes and it will also help you grow and stretch your limits at the same time.

A goal is realistic if someone is willing and able to achieve their goal. The word realistic doesn't necessarily represent if something is possible, but it represents if someone believes they can accomplish it. If you truly believe you can reach your goal and you have reached a similar goal in the past then your goal is probably realistic.

Goals must be timely, a timely goal is one that has a set date for when you will complete it. You want your goals to cover a wide time gap as well, set goals that you can accomplish tomorrow and a year down the road. Setting both long term goals and short term goals is vital to a goal setting plan.

Fit girl doing yoga

Making a Goal Setting Plan

It is vital to have a goal setting plan. A goal setting plan is composed of one or more long term goals and multiple short-term goals that will progress you towards your long-term goal. It is important to have a long-term goal so that you never lose sight of what you are trying to achieve in the long run. It is also important to have short term goals that you can reach in a week to a month, this is important because you will be able to see the progress you are making. There is a lot of science behind why short-term goals are so effective and have such a large impact on motivation, but at the core, it is related to a dopamine hit that your brain gets when you reach a goal.

When you are setting long term goals you want to make them as personal as you possibly can, dig down deep into your life values and what you want your future to look like. Long term goals can be your blueprint for remodeling your body, which you will be living in for the rest of your life. You should set three types of long term goals; a six-month goal, a one-year goal, and a five-year goal. Each of your long term goals should be interrelated in some aspect as well.

Short term goals are just as important as the long term goals, maybe even more important because they are responsible for the day to day motivation and help you focus on the here and now. To create your short term goals you should break down your long term goals and determine what you need to accomplish in small parts to achieve your long term goals. When you are first starting to workout you could make it your goal to do thirty minutes of aerobic exercise while your heart rate is in a specific zone on a specific date. Basically, you want to make your short term goals as small and specific as you feel is necessary, it will only help you.

Male and female doing kettle bell exercise

Creating a Plan of Action

Once you have created your goal setting plan and incorporated the SMART goal setting technique you should create a plan of action. A plan of action takes your goal setting plan and allows you to start making progress towards your goals.

Within a plan of action, you need to start by stating your objective, you should already know your objective from the goals you have set. Next, you need to set a date of completion for your goal, this should have been stated in your goal setting plan as well. After you choose your date of completion you need to state the recourses that are needed to reach your goals, this can range from a gym membership or at home equipment to a form of transportation to get to the grocery store to buy healthy foods. Next is a vital piece to your plan of action, you need to make a list of daily tasks that you must do that are related to your goal, these may include eating certain foods, exercising, or maintain proper posture throughout the day.

Before you start taking action you should asses our current status of your goal and list the possible challenges you may face and how you will overcome them when they occur. Your life will be made much less stressful if you know how you're going to overcome potential challenges before they occur.

Factors That Affect Goal Commitment

When it comes to committing to your fitness goals there are many factors that have a role in your level of commitment. It is important to understand these factors because goals are ineffective if you do not stay committed to them. Some of the most important factors in goal commitment are things that you can have some control over.

You can improve your goal commitment by believing in yourself and believing that you truly can and will be able to reach your goals. If you don't believe in yourself it is extremely difficult to stay committed to perusing your goals.

Another factor that affects goal commitment is writing your goals down and making your goals public in some manner. When you write your goals down you are more likely to actually complete that goal and the same thing is true for making your goals public by telling someone your goals.

One last factor that affects goal commitment is who makes the goals, If you personally make your own goals you are more likely to stay committed to them than if someone else set the goal for you.

Male personal trainer training female on bike

Helpful Tips

There are a lot of different tips and tricks to improve the quality of your goals, one of my favorite tricks is to celebrate the completion of your goal at 90% of the way. This may seem counterintuitive at first, but the philosophy behind it is that the human mind wants the celebration. A little reward from celebrating can increase your motivation. The key to this trick is to set your new goal immediately after you reach the 90% mark on your current goal, this will eliminate the challenge of finishing the last ten percent of your goal which is usually the toughest part.

Regularly assess where you are in relation to your goal, when you do this you have a more clear picture the results that your actions are bringing and if you need to make adjustments. Along with this, it is helpful if you are moderately flexible with your goals and adapt during changing circumstances. There will be circumstances that affect your goals and sometimes the best option is to adjust your goals based on your current needs so that you can continue making progress and keep your motivation.

Common Misconceptions

The wrong mindset: Setting goals is simple and easy, Right? Well, setting goals is anything but simple. On the other hand, with the right guidance, it can be very easy. Most people think of a goal as an "end goal" and not as a stepping stone to reach your end goal. This is a mistake in many circumstances because only focusing on the long run will take your attention to the here and now and reduce your short term motivation.

Goals are permanent: When it comes to goals it is always important to try your best to reach your initial goals, but as I stated earlier sometimes unexpected circumstances arise and it may be necessary to adjust your goals so they are attainable for your current situation. Having the mindset that once you set a goal it cannot change is a big mistake because it is likely you will not stay committed to a goal you don't believe you can reach it.

Goals are not important: A large number of people believe that goals are not a necessity when it comes to a workout routine, in reality it is the foundation that your entire workout plan will be based upon. It is unlikely that you will move in the direction that you want to if you do not set effective goals.

Group of friends getting ready to race

The Take-Away

Setting proper fitness goals is one of the staples of a strong exercise regimen and can be the difference between you having fitness success and you quitting. Setting fitness goals should always be one of the first things you do when starting an exercise routine, it's important to make your goals rock solid by using the SMART goal setting method and fulfilling each requirement. Create a goal setting plan and a plan of action so that you can have effective goals that are interrelated and you can start your journey towards your goals. It's important to not fall prey to the common misconceptions of fitness goal setting and to set goals that are meaningful to yourself.

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