Anytime you start a new fitness regimen or even if you've been at it for a while, you need goals. Goals don’t just give you something to aim for – they are also a good way to measure your results and your progress. Here are some tips to help you with setting fitness goals:
1) Be realistic. If you haven't been very active over the past few years, it's unwise to plan for a marathon in four weeks. Your goals need to be just beyond your current fitness level so you have something to strive for. From time to time you will want to push yourself, but never set a goal that is beyond your reach.
A realistic goal for someone who hasn't been working out is to start off with half a mile or a mile. A mile should take you about 15 minutes at a steady pace. For beginners, that's a great start. You can add half-mile increments every week or every two weeks.
If you want to walk in a marathon, you should give yourself at least 6 months to prepare for it, assuming it's a short marathon.
2) Set your own goals. Never set a goal because someone else is or because you think someone else wants you to set a big goal. This is about you, not them. If you want to lose 40 pounds, but your spouse or partner thinks you should lose 50, go with your goal. It's not about how they think you should look or feel. Losing forty pounds will make you feel much better and look better too. That's all that matters.
3) Be sure you want it. When you set a goal make sure it's something you want and are planned to work for. Like mentioned above, you don't want to set a goal for yourself because someone else wants you to do it. You have to want it for yourself. Setting a goal that isn't personal to you is a sure way to not reach it. You will come to despise any goal that isn't something you want to reach for yourself.
4) Set small daily or weekly goals. If five minutes is all you can manage on your workout, do it. That's five minutes you didn't spend sitting on the couch. Plan to add one minute each day. If that seems too much after a few days, then add one minute every other day. Find what works for you and do it.
5) Set a bigger monthly goal. This should not be a huge goal but something you can reach if you push yourself a little more. Set this goal to ensure that twice a week you do more than your daily routine. This will help build endurance and stamina. It will also help you add those extra minutes a little faster.
Goals are important in life and in your physical fitness program too. You may want to use something referred to as SMART goals. This means your goals should be:
Specific – The more specific your goal is, the easier it is to work towards. Instead of wanting to lose weight, set a goal of wanting to lose ten pounds.
Measurable – Your goal needs to be measurable. That's another reason it should be specific. You can't keep track of wanting to lose weight, but you can keep track of how much of that ten pounds you've lost.
Attainable – If your goal is way out there, like wanting to lose thirty pounds in thirty days, that's not very attainable. A more reachable goal is to lose ten pounds in thirty days. That may not seem like a lot, but it can be measured and attained.
Relevant – Your goals should be relevant to what you want to accomplish.
Timely – This means it needs a deadline. You need a time frame to work with. Wanting to lose ten pounds is great, but if you don't put a deadline on it, it could take you months to reach. Instead, give it a due date so you can keep track of it.