Got Goals? Although well-intended, New Year’s resolutions are often abandoned. Don’t let your commitment to working out be a short-lived New Year’s resolution. Instead, develop realistic fitness goals; review them frequently and savor the accomplishment of meeting them.
Without goals, it can be hard for many people to get motivated to exercise, and they may work out sporadically or eventually quit. Even intrinsically motivated people like myself should use goals to avoid falling into the same routine without challenging the mind and body.
To help achieve success, it’s important to follow some basic guidelines when creating realistic fitness goals:
- Be specific. Don’t simply say that you want to exercise more – but aim for 3-4 days each week for 30 or 60 minutes.
- Make goals realistic. Nothing sets you up more for failure than an unrealistic goal, like aiming to run a marathon one month after you’ve starting jogging for the first time. Start with a 5K instead, and work your way up.
- Measurement is important. We are motivated by tracking success. So, in conjunction with being specific, track and measure your progress, whether that is increasing your time on the elliptical each week, shedding one pound every two weeks or trimming time from your lap swimming.
- Adjust goals as necessary. These are your goals, and they don’t have to be set in stone. For instance, if your goal of exercising four times each week isn’t manageable this month due to your heavy workload, then shoot for three times and be satisfied with that. It’s better to adjust than quit entirely.
- Share your goals. Sometimes this can be hard, but making yourself accountable to someone else helps encourage you to pursue progress and be more likely to accomplish your objective.