When it comes to setting goals for fitness, one size does not fit all—what works for one person might not be the best approach for you, and what might challenge one person may not challenge you.
Why Should You Set Challenging Goals?
Setting fitness goals is essential for helping you to stay on track and to stay motivated, but it is even more essential to make sure that your goals are challenging enough to push you out of your comfort zone. Otherwise, you may quickly become bored or frustrated with your workout routine.
Pushing yourself out of your comfort zone is essential for seeing results; if you’re not challenging yourself, you’re likely to plateau and get stuck in a fitness rut. Some leading psychologists point out that we humans tend to like being in comfortable routines, but once we break out of our comfort zones by taking risks or challenging ourselves, we often find that we’re capable of so much more than we thought.
So how can you set fitness goals that will challenge you without overwhelming you?
Start by setting realistic expectations.
It can be difficult to set fitness goals that are both challenging and realistically achievable. If your goals are too easy, you may quickly become discouraged. On the other hand, if your goals are too ambitious, you may find yourself quitting before you even get started.
The key is to find a balance between the two. A good way to do this is to set a goal that is slightly outside of your comfort zone. For example, if you usually walk for 20 minutes a day, try setting a goal of 30 minutes for the next month. Or if you typically lift weights three times a week, increase it to four times a week. By gradually pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone, you can ensure that your fitness goals are both challenging and achievable.
Next, be specific in your goal-setting.
Rather than simply saying that you want to “get in shape,” set a specific goal such as running a 5K or losing 10 pounds. According to the SMART acronym (with criteria that are attributed to Peter Drucker’s “management by objectives” concept), goals should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-based. SMART goals will help you to stay focused and motivated as you work towards achieving them.
For example, instead of setting a goal to “lose weight,” try setting a goal to “lose 10 pounds in 3 months.” This goal is specific (10 pounds), measurable (you can weigh yourself to track progress), achievable (3 months is a realistic timeframe), relevant (weight loss is relevant to overall fitness), and time-based (3 months).
Finally, don’t be afraid to ask for help.
If you’re struggling to set fitness goals that actively keep you challenged, or are having trouble reaching your fitness goals on your own, enlisting the help of professionals can make all the difference. Professionals can help you set goals that are appropriately challenging, and then provide the support and guidance you need to stay motivated and keep you on track to reach them.
You can set fitness goals that will challenge you without being overwhelming. Remember to start challenging yourself gradually, be specific, and don’t be afraid to ask for help when needed. By setting realistic yet challenging goals, you can ensure that you’ll see the results you’re looking for.