Be honest, how many times have you thought or even said out loud ‘I’m really going to start exercising’, ‘tomorrow I’m going to join the gym’ or even ‘I think I’ll give that class a go’. Alas, all good intentions but tomorrow rarely comes.
There’s one simple reason. You haven’t set yourself a goal to motivate you to do any of these things!
You may be reading this thinking you haven’t got a goal, but trust me you can always create one. Yes for some people it’s obvious – they want to lose weight, build muscle, tone up, get stronger, look good on their holiday, fit into that new dress for a friend’s wedding and the list goes on – but what about if you just want to be fit and healthy?
When I work with clients, I start by assessing their initial abilities. How long before they are out of breath during cardio, how fast can they sprint or row, how heavy are the weights they are comfortable using – then the first goal is simple. Improvement.
So, you can do 10 push ups – aim to improve to 20.
You can run 3 miles in 35 minutes – cut it down to 30.
You can bicep curl 4kg – push it to 6kg.
These are the basics. Adding small improvements to give you something to work towards will give you the motivation to keep going because you will be able to measure your achievement.
An important aspect of goal setting is adding a time measurement to your goals. It’s all well and good to say that you want to be able to double the number of push ups you can do in a row but you need it to be an achievable goal. You don’t want to say ‘I need to do this in a week’, knowing full well that won’t be possible and demotivating yourself when you fail to do so. In the reverse, you also don’t want to set a time limit that is too long for a small goal ‘I want to do this in a year’ – far too long and demotivating. If you don’t see progress you’ll almost certainly lose interest and give up on your exercise journey.
So what’s the key? Set multiple goals to get you to your end goal.
‘I want to lose 4 stone in the next year (long term) Within the next 5 months I will have lost 2 stone (medium term) and I will have lost half a stone within the first month (short term).’
Each of these goals will allow you to actually SEE and MEASURE your progress during your fitness journey, and keep you engaged and motivated with your training programme.