Defining Your Fitness Goals

2012-01-19 by . 2 comments

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As anyone knows, starting a fitness regimen can be hard when you have a multitude of questions floating around in your head  as you try to take on your New Year’s resolutions. Unfortunately, they aren’t simple to answer, and situations vary from person to person. Addressing weight loss and workout sessions and everything in between all at once will become overwhelming, hard to track, and the failure will only be demotivating.

Let’s start with some typical New Year’s resolutions. They tend to sound like this:

  • “I want to be fit.”
  • “I want to be healthy.”
  • “I want to lose weight.”

What is wrong with these statements? They are overly broad, generalized, vague statements that are unfocused, open to interpretation, and don’t say anything specific about what you really want or should do. Note that asking general questions like these also don’t make very good questions on the Fitness Stack Exchange and are likely to be closed. Without sitting down and really putting the mental effort into saying what you want, losing sight of your New Year’s resolution becomes very easy.

Focus on one goal and be extremely specific about it. Having a single, clear and defined goal will layout the foundation for you to discover how to reach that goal. That means quantifying what you want to achieve that is meaningful to you. Here are some examples:

  • “I want to lose 30 pounds in 3 months.”
  • “I want to run a 5K by June.”
  • “I want to deadlift 100 pounds.”

Now we’re getting somewhere. When you are specific about your goal, you can create a process to take specific, actionable steps to meet your end result. By keeping it simple, hitting an achievable milestone will be an empowering experience. There will be less variables to think of while tracking progress, and a smaller goal will also be easier to fit in your schedule. Once you’ve established what you want to achieve, then you can move on to figuring out how you should achieve it.

Obviously, deciding what exercise or routine is best for you depends on the goal. That subject is for another day, however. The steps you take to reach your goal will vary in themselves. Given that though, creating a habit out of those steps is ultimately what you want to do. Having a process and system in place is definitely better than grasping at straws and shooting in the dark.

As lofty as swimming the English Channel or running a marathon may seem, they are certainly not impossible feats. It takes lots of time (and sometimes decades) to reach such levels, but even elite athletes had to take the first step. Fitness requires takes time and patience. If you take one small step towards your goal, slowly work your way up and increase your metric (e.g. lift a slightly heavier weight, cut your running time by a seconds) the next workout. Strive to push yourself without overexerting to the point where it becomes detrimental.

Don’t consider missing your goal a failure. The final outcome is not supposed to be the end of your fitness experience. The habit you create and the intrinsic change in your behavior is really what you should be aiming for in the New Year rather than stating the outcome as a resolution. Keep going, and you will eventually reach your goal.

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2 Comments

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  • Bernie says:

    I found a great goal organizer on the web that not only helps me plan and keep track of my fitness goals, it also has a journal built in. Whenever I’m going over my goals it’s easy to just click on my journal and away I go!

  • Mayank says:

    While starting a workout (or any endeavor for that matter), its very necessary to have a S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Timely) goals. They keep you motivated. Who knows maybe one day you will become an exercise addict! 🙂

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