All successful ventures start with a well thought out plan. Would you open a business without a business plan or go on a journey without mapping out your trip? Probably not, so why would you start a fitness or weight loss program without taking the time to write down a set of goals that you wish to obtain. Everyone starts out with thoughts of achieving success in their fitness efforts but sometimes failure happens not because of lack of commitment but because of failure to plan. Goals keep you motivated, provide direction and add purpose for exercise and dieting which can give long-lasting behavioral changes.
When developing goals make sure they are realistic and obtainable. Be specific and put them in writing so you can refer to them often. This will keep them fresh in your mind at all times. It is important to develop long and short-term goals. Your short-term goals are goals that you want to obtain in four to eight weeks, and your long-term goals are goals you wish to obtain in 6 months – 1 year. Both are equally important, however you will find that your short-term goals are the ones that keep you pumped and ready to go! Short-term goals program your mind to stay focused on the task, which helps to achieve that goal. Update goals at appropriate times to record progress or lack thereof. You may need to make changes accordingly to continue to gain overall fitness success.
Below you will find a short checklist to help guide you during your goal setting process:
- Why are you exercising? This could be weight loss, increase strength etc.
- What is motivating you to make changes?
- What are your specific goals? This should be a detailed plan including how you are going attain your specific goal.
- What is the big picture? Could this be improving your quality of life, getting ready for that big marathon, etc?
- What is the motivating you to make changes? Your doctor, family, etc
Whatever your goals, be sure of the following to maximize adherence to your program because even a well thought out plan can fall short if there are too many barriers. Take into account that plans should be flexible and adjusted depending on what is happening in your life. Below are a few questions to ask yourself, to help keep you on track:
- Are the activities that you have chosen, the ones you enjoy doing? Find exercises that you enjoy, lets face it if you don’t like it you won’t do it!
- Can you commit to your exercise program?
- How do you schedule and organize exercise into your day? You must make an effort to schedule exercise into your hectic day whether it is in morning, a quick workout at noon, or on your way home. You are more likely to stick with an exercise program if you include it into your daily routine.
- Do you maximize your exercise effort? Is your exercise program productive?
- Do you feel good after exercising?
Once you have established goals use them as a road map, they will guide you on your road to success. Refer to them often and watch your progress grow towards success!
‘The clearer the goal, the better your chance to succeed” – Anonymous