It’s Time to Shape Up: How to Set Long Term Fitness Goals and Stick to Them
Are you guilty of setting fitness goals but constantly fall of the bandwagon? Here are a few simple ways to set long term fitness goals and actually achieve them!
Every January, countless people around the world set New Year’s Resolutions. And by January 12th, a large number of those people will have already given up. When it comes to setting long term fitness goals, there are plenty of mistakes goal setters make.
They set goals too high, so there’s no way they’ll ever reach them. Or they set their goals with expectations of achieving them too fast. When those deadlines come and go, motivation falters and goals are abandoned.
If you’re ready to learn how to set fitness goals you’ll actually achieve, keep reading. We’re breaking down what you need to know about setting realistic long term goals and how to stick to them.
When you’re first starting on the path to reaching your fitness goals, it can be easy to go overboard. Maybe you’re excited about trying a new workout, like jogging or spinning. You might think it’ll be easier than it really is to run your first race or beat a speed goal.
Or perhaps you’re dreaming of losing weight and finally having the body you’ve always dreamed of. Your excitement to get started might have you overestimating how much you can realistically lose in a given time period.
While it’s great to be enthusiastic about your fitness goals, you won’t be doing yourself any favors by setting them too high.
If you want to stick to your goals, make sure they are ones you can actually obtain. While it’s fine to set long term goals which could take a year or two to reach, setting goals further out than this can make them feel impossible, even to the most motivated individual.
Being unrealistic about your goals will make them impossible to reach. But when you’re trying to avoid that, it’s also important not to go too far the other way.
This means not setting goals which are so broad that you won’t be able to track your process. When it comes to setting health and fitness goals, you need to make them specific enough that you’ll know the moment you’ve reached them.
If your goal is to start running, set a goal to run a certain distance without stopping or to sign up for your first race. If your goal is to lose weight, define a number of pounds you’d like to lose.
Don’t worry too much about making your goals too short or long term; we’ll go over fixing that problem next. For now, just make sure your goal is something you can track.
Setting a single, specific goal is great. But when you’retired after weeks of working out or sick of eating healthy foods that are on your diet, you’ll start to lose your motivation.
That’s where milestones come in. Once you’ve set your specific goal, break it down into milestones you can achieve in the short term.For instance, if your goal was to lose 50 pounds, your milestone could be set at every 5 pounds you lose.
While losing 50 pounds could take months or years, you might be able to achieve 5 pounds within a few weeks. When you get to celebrate this milestone, it will help inspire you to keep pushing forward.
The self-gratification of reaching a milestone on your fitness goal journey might give you a dose of inspiration. But when your muscles are aching or your stomach is growling, even that might not be enough for you.
Giving yourself concrete rewards each time you meet a milestone will do much more to inspire you.
Your rewards could be any number of things. Maybe you get a cheat meal or a scoop of your favorite ice cream. Maybe you’ll allow yourself to buy a new workout shirt or leggings.
Or your reward could be completely unrelated to your fitness goals. From movie tickets to one morning where you get to sleep in,your reward can be anything you want. Just make sure it’s something you want bad enough that you’ll do everything you can to reach your fitness or health goal.
Get a Coach
No one knows you better than yourself.
You can set realistic goals, break them down into milestones, and reward yourself. But if you’ve failed to reach goals in the past,you might already be thinking even these things won’t be enough to inspire and motivate you.
If this is the case, it might be time to get additional help. This doesn’t have to be an actual, human coach you meet weekly or biweekly.
Apps and smart devices have made it easier than ever for you to get workouts, track your health, and get motivated from the comfort of your home or on the treadmill at your local gym.
Make a Daily Plan
Reaching long term goals happens by working towards them little by little, day after day. To help you stay on track each day when you’re months or even years away from reaching your goals, create a daily plan. Your plan might include the length of your workouts, calorie goals for meals, or other guidelines.
This plan will act as a reminder of what you need to do. Plus, it gives you an actual checklist you can cross off as you go, sort of like miniature milestones on your fitness journey.
Daily plans are also good for helping you stay on track to achieving your fitness goals even when you’re busy or out of town on vacation.
Click here to learn more about creating your own daily plan and what you should include.
Reaching Your Long Term Fitness Goals
No matter how lofty and distant your long term fitness goals seem at the moment, these tips can help you achieve them. By being specific and realistic, setting milestones, rewarding yourself, and getting help when you need it, you can start living the life you’ve been dreaming of.
Now that you’re upping your workouts, you’ll likely start noticing your sore muscles. Help combat the pain and keep yourself focused on your goals by learning how to properly foam roll.