Goal Setting in 2021
What is goal setting? Goal setting can be a powerful way of helping you to achieve what you want , or want to improve on, in your life and helping you focus on the steps needed to achieve them.
Creating goals with your health and fitness is one way to give yourself direction and motivation, and set yourself up for success. Setting specific fitness goals can help to provide the determination you need to commit to training regularly and eating better, which ultimately will lead you to building health habits. You want your goals to be realistic and tailored to you specifically so that you remain consistent.
The way you create your goals is important. If you want to be effective, consider five main focus areas when creating your goals:
Be specific and clearly define your goal. Effective goal setting involves more than just writing down a vague, broad, idea of what you want to achieve. You need to get specific. When you have a specific goal, it’s easier to plan it out, see what you need to do in order to achieve it, then it will be easier to know if you have reached it as well. For example, the goal “I want to get fit” is not specific enough. What do you define as fit? Do you want to gain strength? Do you want to lose weight? Do you want to up your endurance? Do you want to go off of cholesterol medicine? Etc. When setting a goal, think about the “who, what, when, where, why, and how” of your desired outcome can help. Aim to clearly describe what you are trying to achieve. An example of a specific goal could be: “I want to be able to do a 30 second plank.” Striving for this particular goal means you are working towards getting fitter and stronger. It also provides a focus for your training and helps keep you determined.
You also want to make your goals measurable. When you can track your goal(s) against a starting point, you know if you are getting closer to achieving it! This can help to motivate you to continue working towards the goal.
Some examples of measurable fitness goals are:
Achieving a set number of repetitions, or specific amount of time time, of an exercise
Running your first 5k
Lifting a specific weight for a new 1RM
Why is it important to be able to measure and track your goal in this way? When goal setting, if you make your goals measurable it will make it easier to track when you have achieved that goal, as well as see progress toward it over time.
An example regarding push-ups, a measurable fitness goal would be: “I want to be able to do 10 push-ups on my toes”.
By specifying how many push ups you want to do, you can then measure your progress by keeping track of how many you can successfully complete over time; 3, 5, 7, until you reach that goal.
Your goals also need to be achievable. All goals should be challenging, however, it is important that they are also achievable. For example, setting a goal of doing a 30 second plank your first week of training when you have only done 10 seconds, or doing 20 push ups on your toes in the space of two weeks is probably not an achievable goal when you are a fitness beginner. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t go ahead and set yourself some big goals! But they also need to be broken down to smaller, achievable goals that lead towards the larger one.
Let's consider the goal of doing a 30 second plank. If you are a fitness beginner, an achievable version of this goal might be to aim for it in 4-12 weeks depending how often you train.
You can then work towards this by setting smaller goals, such as 5 seconds comfortable, then 10 seconds, 15 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds comfortably before taking new, more challenging steps to achieve the overall goal of 30 seconds.
Your goals need to be relevant to you. Be sure to set your goals high but make sure they suit your lifestyle. Considering your lifestyle, circumstances, resources, and current fitness level, you need to set goals that you can realistically do the work to achieve. Think about why you want to achieve your goal(s). Perhaps you want to feel stronger and healthier so that you can be more active with your family, improve your quality of life as you age, hit new running records; these are meaningful goals and, as a result, you might be more committed to working towards them. Similarly, if you decide to commit to five morning workouts a week when it doesn't suit your lifestyle, then this might not be a realistic goal for you and you will not stick with it. Remember, it’s all about building healthy habits and getting in a routine that works for YOU.
Goals should also be timely. Setting a start time and deadline for your goal is important. This allows you to work out a plan to achieve the goal by breaking it into daily actions and smaller milestones. It also helps you to reach your overall larger goal. If it is not timely you may “fall of the bandwagon” so to speak.
With any goal, it’s important to keep track of your progress and regularly assess how you are doing. You will need to be flexible, it’s possible you’ll have to modify if you encounter a fitness setback. And If you like to have regular rewards and reminders, try using a fitness tracker.
When setting your fitness goals, it’s so important that they are YOUR goals and are meaningful and realistic to you. Map them out, get accountability and commit to yourself. And I can’t stress enough, please don’t compare your goals to anyone else, as everyone ’s fitness journey is unique and each person has different strengths and will have different challenges. It’s all about building healthy habits and becoming the best version of our self in whatever state we are in!