What is your overall fitness goal?
Like any journey you take in life, you need to know what your overall destination is, and your fitness goals are no exception. It is best if you think about what it is that you ultimately want to achieve. Is it to run a marathon, is it to get shredded like a Spartan warrior, or is it to lose 20Kg of the wobbly stuff? Whatever your aim is, setting the goal will give you much more focus and allow you to break it down into smaller steps and create habits around those steps. Consistency will be a one of the keys to long-lasting success.
When you set your goal, be sure to be as specific as you can. For example, if you are starting a fitness regime to lose weight, write your goal down in as much detail as possible such as “In the next 6 months I will lose 10 kg of body-fat, reducing my body-fat percentage to 15%”. With specifics in your goal, you will know exactly what you will need to check and test regularly to stay on track. If you state that your goal is to “get into shape before the summer”, there is nothing in it to watch, nothing to hold you accountable for any success and nothing at all specific. With this type of goal, I would expect you to stick to it for 2 week’s maximum!
Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible. – Tony RobbinsTweet This!
What are the small steps to achieving your goal?
Once you have your overall, specific main goal, the best way to create successful habits is by breaking it down into smaller, easier goals that can be done consistently. By doing this, you will know exactly what you need to do to succeed.
For example, if you have a weight loss goal, you could break it down into daily steps such as making sure you eat cleanly and that you are in a calorie deficit, complete 15-45 mins activity daily (The lower the time, the higher the intensity is needed), or finding alternative meals or snacks that are lower in calories.
If your goal is to run a marathon, your small steps will mostly be aimed towards the distances you are completing, maybe starting with 3-5 km depending on your current fitness level and increasing this steadily. You will also need to include steps on stretching to avoid injury and nutrition to make sure you have the energy to sustain running long distances.
The daily things that you know you need to undertake will be beneficial when it comes to making the decision to actually carry out the actions needed to meet your overall aim.
What are you ready to give to make your goal?
When most people set goals of any kind, this question is often one that is neglected, but I feel it is an important one. Most people seem to expect that because they want to do something, it will magically happen with little or no adjustment to their life. Sadly, it doesn’t work like that.
When I think about what I will need to give to achieve a fitness goal, I have to think about what I know is not going to be at all beneficial. For example, if I want to lose weight, I know I will need to seriously cut back on the chocolate, biscuits and pizza. As much as enjoy these things, I need to be realistic about how much they are going to hinder any attempt at losing weight.
If I want to train for an endurance event, the main thing I will have to give is going to be time related. Depending on the distances for the event, you may need to give 1-2 hours, 4 times per week or more. That is a lot of time to give, so your dedication and focus will play a major part.
How to Apply a Risk and a Reward
Applying a risk or reward to your fitness goal can be a bit of fun, as well as a major motivator. This can come in the form of a bet with your mates or your significant other, or something more accountable such as staking a bet for a weight loss aim on dietbet.com.
There are many examples of adding a risk and reward. Some people choose to start a small web page that holds them accountable for what they are hoping to achieve. If they achieve their aim, they get the bragging rights that they can share across their page, since failure could mean having to admit defeat publicly. If you make a wager with your significant other, your risk of not achieving could mean washing up for the next months, but the reward could mean trying something you have always wanted to!
How to Stay motivated, even at the worst of times
We all get days when we don’t want to give anything extra, so being able to push through these boundaries will definitely make a big difference when it comes to achieving your fitness goals. What is going to keep you motivated is having the goal that you thought about earlier, in mind.
Visualizing what you want to do and seeing the end goal will make it a bit easier to pass on the sausage roll at lunch time, or the cakes that have been brought in to the office for a colleagues’ birthday. Knowing that every small detractor you avoid is a massive step closer to smashing your goal and achieving exactly what you set out to do.
To be honest, getting out there and doing something when you really don’t want to is one of the best motivators of all. If you can do it when you would rather not, you will feel unstoppable!
How to Play the long game and set new goals
One of the main things that I cannot stress enough is not to expect things to happen overnight or with smallest effort. Having trained people from all walks of life and for very different reasons spanning from the usual weight loss and muscle gain, to such things as improvement of balance and easing the effects of ME, it is surprising how many people expect a big result from little effort. It takes discipline, focus and long-term regular activity to get and keep up fitness goals.
Once you have achieved your fitness goal, do not rest on your laurels and think that because you have it, you will keep it. Setting new goals and continuing with your training is hugely important, so that all your efforts are not in vain. The good news here is that maintenance is easier than achievement. It still takes effort, but you will already have the habits in place to keep you rolling on.
The other exciting part is that you can set yourself grander goals. If your main goal was to get to 15% body-fat, why not aim for 10% (for men) and get a six-pack? If your goal was to complete a triathlon, why not up it and set a goal to complete a half iron-man?
Remember the famous quote by Napoleon Hill:
If you believe it, you can achieve it. It just takes a little more effort than those that are happy to be ordinary. Believe in yourself and be extra-ordinary! Best of luck in achieving your goals!
Author Bio: Stuart Carter
Having been an overweight teenager, I got into regular activity at the age of 18 and after a few years decided to make a living from it. I qualified as a Personal trainer in 2001 and since then have worked with all types of people across almost every job in the fitness industry. I am the author of ‘The Easy Fitness Guide’ which I launched through Amazon Kindle publishing in February 2016, and run 2 websites. www.theeasyfitnessguide.com aims to show how good fitness can be achieved by being more active and making slight changes to your nutrition. Also www.3sdsportswear.com that offers advice on training, nutrition and techniques to people like me that are serial beginners in many sports. I am active on Twitter at the handle @3sdsportswear