Blog written by Vybe.
When a new year comes around, a lot of us want to put in extra effort and hit our fitness goals. Most fail. Most of the gym memberships bought in January languish unused for the rest of the year. Fitness equipment such as weights, yoga mats, and massage guns, gather dust.
The fact is that simply making a decision to hit your goals is not enough for many people. You need to focus on boosting your motivation so that you want to meet those goals and they become a true priority in your life, rather than an afterthought. This also means coming up with fitness goals that are right for you and what you want out of life.
Types of Fitness Goals
There are two overall types of fitness goal - short term and long term. Each has some specific issues when it comes to motivating yourself and sticking to your guns.
Short-Term Fitness Goals
The most important thing about short-term goals is that they have to be realistic. You can't go from zero to marathon in 90 days. Training for a 5k is much more reasonable. On the other hand, some people set goals that are too easy and then don't move beyond them.
Write your short-term goals down. They don't have to have anything to do with competing. They could be as simple as "Taking the stairs up to my 8th floor apartment without getting out of breath" or "Not needing to ask for help lifting the propane can." Functional lifestyle goals can actually be better for many people than "completing the local fun run" because you can see the point of them.
That said, if you have an activity you love, then your goals can absolutely focus around that activity. You might set a goal of increasing the number of sets of tennis you can play before you need to take a break, increasing your maximum bench press lift, or cycling to a certain restaurant you want to go to.
Make your goal fit into your everyday routine, too. Home equipment can help a lot because you don't have to trek to the gym...and even a gym on the way to work might not be a good idea on weekends.
Long-Term Fitness Goals
One common mistake people make is to set only a long-term goal. The problem with this is you lose motivation before attaining it. Instead, break your long term goal down into smaller segments.
For example, if you dream of completing a marathon, don't set that as your only goal. Instead, break it down into smaller sections. Most people look for shorter races that ramp up before the event they are interested in.
You don't need to have a long-term goal, or it can be as simple as "Keep improving my overall health." But if you do, make sure that you split it up.
Celebrate each and every success, no matter how small.
How to Set Fitness Goals
We already talked a little it about setting goals, but here is a run down:
- Be realistic and attainable. Don't set a massive goal you aren't going to be able to meet.
- Be clear. Don't set vague goals such as "Feeling better in yourself." Goals need to be tangible or you will never actually meet them.
- Break your goals down into manageable chunks that are easy to achieve. Celebrate each step, no matter how small. This includes things like signing up for a race or finding the right class.
- Choose a goal you want to meet. Don't let peer pressure push you into something (unless that really is your best motivation). If you don't enjoy your fitness activity, then it will become just another chore.
- Ask for help. Hiring a personal trainer or coach can help. If you can't afford it, then find a fitness buddy. There's nothing better than training for an event together.
- Track your successes and failures. Write down your goals. Keep a fitness journal. There are phone apps for this, but some people find a physical journal helps them keep up better.
- Don't focus on weight loss or appearance. Diets don't generally work. Losing ten pounds for your friend's wedding is not a good goal...first of all, you are doing it for somebody else, second, you will only gain it back. Focus instead on how you feel and what your body can do.
Setting the right goals is absolutely key. Most people fail because their goal is centered around how they "should" lose weight, "should" exercise, "should" get in shape. Also, don't be afraid to change your goals if they aren't working, or if a new activity you tried isn't as fun as you thought it would be.
Fitness Goals For Beginners
It's particularly important to set realistic and attainable goals if you have been sedentary or are a beginner to the fitness movement. Pushing yourself too hard can easily result in injury.
Start out by writing down all the reasons you want to get fit. Good reasons might include:
- Your doctor has told you you need to get more active.
- You want to try a sport or activity.
- You want to go on a vacation that includes more physical activity than you are used to.
- You would like to be able to do more of your errands on foot or by bike to save money or benefit the environment.
Knowing why you want to get fit and writing it down will help you come up with suitable goals. It's a good idea to talk to your doctor before starting a fitness program or new activity. Some trainers and coaches will insist on getting a doctor's note before they will take you on as a client.
Set easy goals to start with. If you are planning an active vacation or a new activity, then you should talk to people already involved about what you should consider doing first. They may suggest specific "homework" to do before your trip or your first training session. You can incorporate this into your goals.
For example, if you are planning on a hiking vacation, you can set yourself distance goals that build up to being able to hike for several days. This might start with a simple walk around your nearest park or the neighborhood. You can also set a goal of buying all the gear you are going to need...if you're going with a guide, they will typically provide a list.
5 Ways To Boost Your Motivation and Reach Your Fitness Goals
Still having problems with motivation? Don't worry, we all have days when we don't feel like working out. Here are five more ways to boost your motivation.
- Bring a friend. The value of a fitness buddy can't be overestimated. This needs to be somebody who shares your goals, or at least with whom you can work on those goals. Some couples find that working out together and working towards a goal or shared activity can even benefit their relationship, but don't assume the best person is your partner. You may be happier doing different things. The other kind of friend you can bring is the four footed kind. Dogs are great for getting you off the couch...but if you get a dog to get fit, be sure to pick a more active breed or both of you might end up on the couch.
- Give yourself incentives. In some cases, you may find that the activity is its own reward, or the satisfaction from reaching the goal is sufficient. But most people need incentives to keep themselves motivated. You can try things like going out to dinner with a friend, buying yourself a small gift, or "gamifying" your workout by giving yourself points for everything you do. Experiment to see what works for you. Is it spending a day binging your favorite show? A bottle of wine? Avoid using empty calorie foods as a reward, obviously, but you need incentives to meet each of your milestones.
- Write down how you feel after a workout, and then look at it every time you flag. This reminds you that you are doing this to feel good about yourself and in your body
- Consider wearable tech. A fitness tracker can make a huge difference by making it easier to keep your goals tangible. Steps goals really do work for many people. You can also have friendly competitions with others to get in the most steps in a day...just don't cheat by riding a horse!
- Make sure that you set yourself up for success by making it easy to incorporate your workout into your routine. Work out at a time which works for you. There's often a lot of pressure to get up early to exercise, but not everyone can do that without sacrificing sleep. While you should avoid working out in the late evening (this can cause insomnia), there is nothing less virtuous about working out at lunch time or after work. Or whenever your favorite class is being held. Work with your body on fitness, not against it.
Setting the right goals makes a huge difference. You need to be motivated, and that means you need to want to meet those fitness goals. Choose activities you love and interesting workouts, and focus on your fitness goals for you, not for anyone else. Vybe's percussion massage guns can help by reducing muscle soreness and risk of injury, thus helping you keep on track.