04 Oct 2021
Goal Setting & Why You Should Be Using It To Achieve Your Fitness Goals
What are your fitness goals? There are some common things my clients say they want to achieve when they come to me for help.
- Lose weight
- Get fit
- Be healthier
- Get stronger
You’ve probably heard and thought these numerous times. But I’m going to tell you what major difference between those who succeed and make positive changes and those who fail or drop out.
A big factor for me is goal setting. Just saying you want to get fit doesn’t have any substance. How can you even determine that? There is no way of measuring it. To help my clients succeed and truly make changes, you have to first help them set the right goals that will inspire and motivate and that can be measured and tracked. For me it’s often about creating a strong mindset and goals allow you clarity and structure to provide the template to create a stronger mindset.
The Importance of Setting Fitness Goals
Before beginning the process of setting and trying to achieve fitness and health goals, it helps to have an understanding of why doing so is important. I already know this because I have been using goal setting for over 12 years. I’ve witnessed how you see greater results when you start with an achievable, specific goal as opposed to just diving in without a plan.
But to have a complete understanding of why goals can help you achieve more for the everyday individual is a lot harder but I’m going to explain just why it’s imperative to use goal setting when it comes to achieving your goals.
Goals Make Change Seem attainable not impossible.
A lot of people delay getting involved in training or fitness because making big changes seems impossible and they already have enough on their plate. It takes a lot of courage for that overweight client to come to me for help and guidance. They have likely wanted to change for a long time, but doing so felt daunting to say the least. they’ve tried before. Lost a bit of weight and then put it all back on and some more.
Set small, actionable goals and you will begin to see that change can happen. It’s not climbing Everest. It’s starting with small tiny steps then can amount to a much larger height.
Goals Spike Motivation
One of the most common challenges I have faced in the past is keeping clients motivated. With goals in place, you have something to look back on over and over as a source of motivation. Keep the goal always in focus and you will stay more motivated for longer, whether it’s a specific weight loss or being able to complete a 10k run without walking. If it’s always your focus and what you’re thinking of every little milestone along the way will keep those motivation levels high.
With Goals, You See Progress
This fits in nicely with the topic of motivation. When you have goals to hit, you actually see the progress you’re making as a result of input of effort. If you want to lose a certain number of inches from your stomach, for example, you can measure that. You can tangibly see that the work you are putting in is working therefore are far more likely to carry on doing the same. As the old adage says. If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.
Every Workout is More Efficient with Goals
When you have a specific goal, or goals, every training session will be more focused than it would be otherwise. Without goals, or with very vague goals, like losing weight or gaining lean muscle tissue, workouts often lack focus and structure. Meaning you jump from one exercise to the other without any idea of what they are doing to help you achieve your goals or if you’re training at the right intensity. With the right goals, you’ll actually save time by honing in on exactly what you need to achieve and the structure to reach your goals.
Not setting goals means you’re constantly riding against the wave.
What all this means is that without firm goals in place, success is more difficult to achieve. not impossible but a lot harder than it needs to be. You may lose some weight; you’ll probably get a little stronger; you will be healthier than before you started training; but will you achieve all you wanted to and hold on to those goals? The likelihood is slim. You need goals to succeed, to achieve what you set out to achieve.
Tips for Setting Effective Fitness Goals
Goal setting is unfortunately not as simple as just saying what you want: I want to lose 15kg; I want to run faster; I want to squat 150kg. Sure, you can make it that simple, but if you do, the probability of succeeding will diminish. Good goal setting is thoughtful. It takes time, consideration, and planning to create goals that won’t be a setup to fall flat on your face.
Look at New Year’s resolutions. It’s well known that the vast majority of people fail at the big goals they set for the coming year. This isn’t because we don’t want to achieve those goals or make real changes. It’s because we don’t know how to set effective goals that prepare us to achieve.
Here’s how to set out those goals. As well as my things to avoid when setting goals.
1. Break goals into parts.
A big reason New Year’s resolutions fail is that they’re too big. Losing 25kg by the end of the year is a great health goal, but it’s pretty difficult to face something so major. Achieving that goal is far more likely to be reached if you break it down into smaller parts. For example, Aim to lose 0.6kg a week. This is far more manageable and therefore in your mind far more achievable.
2. Make goals specific and measurable.
Your clients with performance goals are more likely to succeed. Why? Because their goals are usually very specific, like running a 5k in under 24 minutes. When you have something specific to hit, you can make a better plan for actually getting there.
Athletic and performance goals are also typically measurable. For a fitness competition, for instance, your client may want to have a certain number of inches around their biceps. You can measure that, which means you can plan more focused training strategies to achieve it.
3. Make goals realistic and attainable
There’s nothing wrong with dreaming big (I love too), but big, monstrous goals that are unrealistic and often set you up for failure. If a client comes to me with a goal that seems unreasonable, I don’t shut down the idea completely. Instead, I work with them to break it into smaller, more attainable goals that add up to the bigger picture.
With goals that are unrealistic, you will only get frustrated and be more likely to quit. With smaller, realistic goals you’ll see that you are making progress toward something bigger. This provides greater motivation.
4. Put a time limit on it.
Goals need to be time-constrained. With no time limit, there is no urgency and no reason to test your limits and push yourself. If your goal is simply to lose 10 kg, when do you want achieve this by? You could potentially spend the rest of your life trying to lose that weight. Set a precise goal with a time limit, like 5 months, and then break it down into smaller goals with shorter time periods. Such as weekly and monthly targets.
5. Goals must be meaningful.
If goals are not personally meaningful for you, then you’ll never meet them. There needs to be an emotional attachment, which is why it is essential that you set your own goals. I never tell a client you need to lose 15kg. They need to tell me specifically what they’d like to do creating ownership on that goal. I help guide them, but never look at new clients and decide what changes they need to make. It has to be up to them!
Avoid These Common Mistakes When Setting Goals
Now you know that setting goals are much more complicated than many people imagine. Anyone can set a goal in seconds, but to do it right takes thought and planning. Successful goal setting also requires avoiding some pitfalls. Learn from the mistakes of others and avoid these common mistakes:
- Setting negative goals. Don’t set goals like ‘not being fat’ or ‘never eating junk food again.’ Success is more attainable with positive goals.
- Being afraid to adjust goals as needed. Adjustment doesn’t mean failure. Ingrain this in your mind because failing is a big demotivator. Always be prepared to change goals if you find they are not realistic or need more time.
- Not keeping track of progress. Put your goals in writing, and then keep a record of your progress. Remember, goals should be measurable. When you measure and record progress, you get to see the benefits of your efforts and this is motivating.
- Punishing failures. Again, avoid the idea of failure altogether, and whatever you do, don’t punish yourself. This is not helpful but it is a common reaction to not meeting goals. We have a tendency to punish ourselves. Instead analyse what went wrong and what you can do differently going forward.
- Not rewarding achievements. Punishment is counterproductive, but rewards can be helpful and motivating. Celebrate each small goal met and each bit of progress recorded.
- Focusing on perfection. Perfection is pointless, and going for it sets even the most motivated client up for failure. Focus on consistency and progress, not perfection.
Setting fitness goals is a cornerstone of success in making lasting, healthy changes. Goals should always be at the forefront of your training.
If you are struggling with achieving your goals and feel you need help then go ahead and drop me an email today on firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more information on how we can help you. Just like we’re helping hundred’s of other individuals become a fitter, healthier version of themselves. Alternatively go to this link to set up a consultation call.