Setting Fitness Goals: 5 Golden Rules

It is generally accepted that if we want to succeed in life, we need to set goals and this is no different when it comes to hitting the gym. Without goals we lack focus and direction.

Goal setting not only allows us to take ownership of our own success, it also provides us with a way to benchmark for determining whether we are actually succeeding.

To accomplish our goals, we need to know how to set them. Goal setting is a process that starts with careful consideration of what we want to achieve and ends with a lot of hard work to actually do it.

1) Setting Goals

Make sure your goals are clear and concise whilst still being realistic. The most important thing when setting a goal is that it needs to mean something to you. You have to be emotionally attached to the goal and what the outcome means to you, for example, “I want to run a marathon because my mate bet me I couldn’t finish it”, doesn’t come from within and will have no meaning if you don’t finish it. Yet to say “I want to run a marathon because I want to make myself proud”, has intrinsic value and you are far more likely to succeed.

2) Set Achievable Goals

⦁ Simple – no need for two-page goals, keep it short and sweet
⦁ Meaningful – it needs to mean something to you
⦁ As if – write the goal as though you have already achieved it in the future, i.e. “I ran a marathon” (this will help you visualise the goal)
⦁ Responsible – only you can be responsible for the outcome
⦁ Towards – state the goal moving towards it instead of away from it, .i.e. “I want to be 10 stone” as opposed to “I want to lose 5 pounds”

3) Write Your Goals Down

Write your goals somewhere you will see them on a regularly basis. This is a form of positive affirmation, reminding you of what you are going to achieve. Once written down it becomes real and once it becomes real, make sure you own it. Also include loved ones or training partners in the process, so that you become accountable for your actions.

4) Stick With It

Success is not linear, you will have blips along the way and things won’t always go to plan. Stick with process and have faith in yourself and you will get there. The key thing to remember is that when things don’t go right, find out why. This means you can make changes so that it doesn’t happen again.

5) Don’t Beat Yourself Up

A goal is not an immovable object, it is something you have decided to work towards. To achieve your goal you have put a plan together. Yet sometimes, life is not that simple and so your goal has to be flexible to an extent. If your goal is to run a marathon in sub 4 hours and 15 minutes and you finish with 4 hours and 16 minutes that is still an incredible achievement. If you wanted to be 10 stone on the 1st November and you are 10st 2Ibs on the day of weigh-in, then great job. The reality is that you have made changes, stuck to a plan and have moved towards your goal. So, give yourself a pat on the back, have a review of why you missed your goal by a small margin and go again!