Don’t put off your health and wellness goals any longer. You can begin to transform your mind and body through fitness as soon as today. Whether you want to manage a health condition, become stronger and more fit, or feel better about your personal appearance, goal-setting is the way to get there. Keep reading for our top 6 tips to achieve your fitness goals.
What are the most common fitness goals?
Good health is about much more than a number on a scale or a clothing size. It’s about creating lifestyle habits to stay active and reduce your odds of heart disease, diabetes, and other conditions that can be preventable.
People set fitness goals to achieve:
- Better confidence and self-worth
- Decreased pain caused by excess weight
- Improved mobility, strength, and balance
- Increased stamina and energy levels
- More effective recovery after an injury
- Reduced risk of common health conditions
Here are our top six tips to achieve your fitness goals:
- Have a Realistic Plan: A weight loss of 10 pounds in 10 days is not going to be easy to maintain. Instead, aim to lose three to five percent of your body weight over a period of months. A realistic plan is the key to sustainable weight loss and lasting lifestyle changes. We recommend writing down specific short and long-term fitness goals to guide you. Examples of short-term goals might be to reduce your daily sugar intake by 30 grams or to log 8,000 steps by dinner time. These smaller goals will give you the momentum to keep going and to strive for bigger wins. When you conquer certain milestones along the way, you feel more capable. Suddenly, that ultimate goal weight or half-marathon race suddenly doesn’t seem out of reach!
- Find a Partner: Ask a friend, family member, or coworker to be your accountability partner to reduce your chance of slacking off. Without someone to answer to, it’s much more tempting to skip a workout or make unhealthy food choices.There are several ways to work with an accountability partner. You can schedule meetups at the gym a few times a week or meet them in the park for a walk or jog. If you can’t meet in person, workout together via Zoom or Skype. Online fitness and support groups are another good way to connect with others who are working toward similar fitness goals.If you prefer working out alone, make a pact to check in with your fitness partner daily to discuss how your day went and share your triumphs and your challenges.
- Track Your Progress: It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by major dietary and fitness changes. For many people, it can take weeks or even months to start seeing results. Tracking your efforts daily, weekly, and monthly helps remind you that you are making progress and motivates you to stay the course.There are a wide range of mobile apps and smartwatches you can use to log your meals and track your heart rate, physical activity, calories burned, and even your sleep habits. Seeing what you have accomplished in a single day can reaffirm your resolve and remind you that yes, you are heading in the right direction.
- Do What You Love: Fitness should never be something you dread. Think about it –you’re probably much more likely to tackle the activities you enjoy, while pushing more mundane tasks to the bottom of your to-do list. Exercise programs are available for people of all ages, fitness levels, and abilities. It’s just a matter of finding the right workout for you. Do you enjoy recreational sports, lifting weights, or working out with machines? Some people prefer walking, running, or lower impact activities like yoga and Pilates. Explore what’s available. You can find countless free workout tutorials online or visit your local gym for a tour. Many offer free trial periods. Ask friends and family what sports and activities they enjoy. The ideal fitness plan should align with your health goals, your interests, and your lifestyle. Always check with your physical therapist and healthcare provider before starting any new exercise program.
- Celebrate the Wins: It takes time to make drastic lifestyle changes and meet long-term fitness goals. In the meantime, make a point to acknowledge the wins along the way. Pat yourself on the back for your determination and hard work. Rewards can be something simple like a latte from your local coffee shop after a week of workouts (consider a healthier option!), or a new pair of sneakers once you’ve hit your first weight-loss goal. When you celebrate the mini-milestones, you feel like you are winning every day. Did you reach your water intake goal for the day or take the time to prepare a nutritious meal instead of ordering takeout? Maybe you kept that appointment with your trainer even though you were tempted to cancel. These are all wins! It’s these everyday choices and actions that, over time, add up to big results.
- Don’t Let a Setback Get You Down: Setbacks happen for many reasons. An injury can interrupt your fitness plan. Some people fall back into old patterns after a challenging life event. But it’s important to accept setbacks for what they are: common and surmountable. Remember that a cheat day or time away from the gym won’t immediately undo weeks of hard work. After a lapse in your exercise or fitness program, be gentle with yourself and focus on moving forward with even more resolve tonight, tomorrow, or next week. When it comes to health and physical fitness, the goal is always progress, not perfection.
If your morale is down, or you’ve hit a plateau in your fitness plan, consider talking with a friend or trainer for a pep talk. If you are recovering from an injury, discuss a safe and appropriate return to activity with your physical therapist. Find a physical therapy clinic near you.
With a practical fitness plan, plenty of support, and a positive mindset, you can use these tips to achieve your fitness goals!