Advertising
Advertising

How to Set a Fitness Goal That Will Last?

How to Set a Fitness Goal That Will Last?

Setting a fitness goal is important to keep you on track and keep your eyes forward to what you want to accomplish. The best acronym to help you figure out how to set your goals is the SMART principle. First, you want a specific goal that is clear that you can understand. Second, a measurable goal that you will know when you have accomplished it. Third this goal could be attainable for you.

I will discuss the could part below. Fourth, it should be relevant to you. Thus, you are motivated to do it. Lastly this goal should be set with some sort of time frame in mind. Especially for older adults it is important to continue setting goals to improve or maintain your fitness level. I will use an example of planning to go on a trip to hike the Grand Canyon to drive home how this way of setting goals that will last can work for you.

Advertising

The More Specific Your Goal Is, The Clearer Your Know Where You Are Heading To

Making a goal to go on a hike somewhere or for a walk is not specific enough. Pick a specific place. The goal of hiking the Grand Canyon is specific. This is a specific place that you can research on how to best prepare hiking at. How many days would you hike it? How much mileage would you want to cover? You don’t to start mapping out the specific routes, a general target can work. Possibly adding that you want to do two moderate difficulty trails and two easy ones can assist you and one of difficult level can help you make the goal even more specific.

Make Sure Your Goal is Measurable, So You Can Recognise Your Progression and Achievements

The goal has to be more than go check out the Grand Canyon for a couple days. When it is set to hike specific difficulty trails of a certain number you have a goal to meet. You will know after hiking those trails that you can check off that goal. Also knowing the number of trails you want to hike and the difficulty you can decide how to decide which trails you hike on a given day. Possibly you would do the one of most difficulty on its own day. Then the following day you can do two easy trails and maybe one of moderate difficulty. Be strategic!

Advertising

Even before you hit the trails you will be able to track your progress how you are training for that trip. Your cardiovascular endurance to be able to walk a longer distance will improve. Your practicing hiking trails with walking poles will increase your fitness level and also your confidence in navigating uneven terrain.

Don’t Beat Yourself Up! Goals Need To Be Attainable To Be Motivating 

Perhaps there are some mobility problems or you are recovering from a knee replacement right now. Hiking the Grand Canyon may not be attainable in a month. However, setting a goal to enjoy five of the trails of easy difficulty 9 months from now could be attainable. Make that goal high. There is an argument that the goal should be within your reach enough that you have to stretch to get it – but not so high that it is not within your reach. On the other hand if you set your goal out of reach, even if you didn’t reach it you will raise the bar! If you need to improve your balance, then give yourself an attainable date to improve it by. Set yourself up for the success of enjoying that trip and not having to focus on your feet instead of the gorgeous scenery.

Advertising

Your Reason Is Your Ultimate Motivation

Finding your “why” as to why you want to achieve a goal is important. A why for this amazing hike is to improve your fitness level. Perhaps you are not motivated to just workout at home every week. You see training for this hike as a good way to spark the fire. This goal will motivate you to be more in touch with your body and raise your fitness level!

You Cannot Stay With One Goal Forever

You want to set a deadline or a date for the goal. This time aspect in this instance would largely depend upon not only your schedule but also the weather. Make sure that you are honest with yourself about how long it will take to get in the physical shape to hike all of the trails that you want to hike. You may need to make investments to assist you. Working with a Functional Aging Specialist such as myself can help you improve your balance, agility and mobility for that trip.

Advertising

Also, that professional has the perspective of useful tools such as proper shoes or hiking poles that can be make the hike less painful for your knees or hips. Lastly, he or she can help you with your plan, keep you on a consistent plan and be your personal cheering section!

When SMART fitness goals don’t work

If a fitness goal is set that is solely based on numbers it can set you up for failure. For instance, the goal is to lose 10 pounds in 2 months. During this time, the focus is entirely on that magic number. That focus on weight loses the big picture of the importance of moving better. I would challenge you that the byproduct of setting a goal of finishing a 5K or hiking the Grand Canyon will still facilitate fat loss when you are sticking to it. In addition, let’s say your goal is the lift 200 pounds. You have succeeded in lifting that amount but your upper body is so tight that your posture is affected. Thus, be careful with making numbers as your goal. You don’t want to have other aspects of your health suffer to meet that number. Think of the big picture.

With that in mind when you set your fitness goals – make it a goal of a kind of test that will show how far you have physically come. Between day one and when you plan to reach your goal you have to line up the aspects of your health, wellness and fitness and make sure that your address each of them.

Your goals are yours – don’t take someone else’s. If yours is to be able to get up from the floor to standing is your goal that is a great goal. Think about the work that it would take to make that happen. As always add consulting your doctor as you are thinking about your goal or after you have decided it. Reach out to Functional Aging Specialists that understand how to work with the older population to help them train f

More by this author

Damien Joyner

Fitness Professional for the diverse 40+ Population!

How to Set a Fitness Goal That Will Last? If You Take Care Of Your Need, Age Wouldn’t Be A Problem To Your Fitness Routine Age Shouldn’t be Your Restriction When It Comes To Exercising

Trending in Health

1 8 Best Teas for Weight Loss and Fat Burning 2 The Effects of Stress on Your Body And Mind (You Never Knew) 3 7 Signs You’re Burnt out (And How to Bounce Back) 4 How to Cope with COVID Anxiety And Stress 5 6 Health Benefits of Tumeric (And How to Take It For Good)

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on September 18, 2020

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

1. Exercise Daily

It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

Advertising

If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

3. Acknowledge Your Limits

Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

Advertising

Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

The basic nutritional advice includes:

  • Eat unprocessed foods
  • Eat more veggies
  • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
  • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

Advertising

Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

    5. Watch Out for Travel

    Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

    This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

    If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

    6. Start Slow

    Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

    If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

    Advertising

    7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

    Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

    My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

    If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

    I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

    Final Thoughts

    Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

    Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

    More Tips on Getting in Shape

    Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

    Reference

    Read Next