Monday, October 15, 2007

How To Set Fitness Goals

We’ve all heard the old proverb ‘a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step’ right?

The moral is that in order to achieve anything in life we have to take some small action toward making it happen.

Seems like sound and logical advice on the most part, but a word of caution.

That one small step could be all it takes to ensure the failure of all of your health and fitness efforts.

Especially if that step is in the wrong direction!

You see, most new and returning exercisers set out with good intentions and a list of ‘wishes’ without ever giving a thought to planning or setting realistic goals.

They simply join a gym and begin a diet with the intention of ‘getting fit’ or ‘losing weight’ and then feel disillusioned a couple of months later when neither result is achieved.

This sets in place a vicious cycle of failure where negative results create negative thoughts and feelings which, in turn, perpetuate the negative results.

And on, and on and on…

If you really want to see some real success and actually achieve your goals for a change, then follow these 4 simple steps:

Define your aim – Merely stating that you wish to ‘lose weight’ or ‘get fit’ is of little value when setting your health and fitness goals. These definitions are far too broad and are relatively meaningless and as such hold very little power to motivate us.

Instead you need to define what these terms mean.

Is getting fit running a mile?

Completing the marathon?

Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro?

Does losing weight involve losing 15lbs of total weight or 10lbs of body-fat?

Can you see the difference in the approach?

In the first instance we are merely ‘getting fit’ whereas in the second we are completing the marathon. This creates a situation where we now have a specific target to aim at along with an actual measure from which we can ascertain our current level of success.

If you want to stay motivated and on track then stating your specific aim is the best way to assure your success.


Define your purpose – Whilst many people have found some level of success with the first step, there are still many who set their goals specifically and yet still fail to achieve them.

Invariably, when assessing why success was not forthcoming there always seems to be the feeling that the goal was not worth the effort required to achieve it. For this reason it is important to determine from the outset ‘WHY am I doing this thing?’

You see, without this sense of purpose there will always be a lack of passion or compelling reasons to stay with the goal when the going gets tough.

Conversely, those people who exhibit a great sense of purpose are always more willing to find a way when the odds are stacked against them. The difference is passion!

WHY DO YOU WANT TO ACHIEVE THIS? (What makes it so important to you?)

Define the territory and plan the route – Even if you know where you want to get to and why you want to get there, it’s still a good idea to plan HOW you’re going to achieve the goal.

This is somewhat like planning a route on a map.

You may well be able to locate the destination on the map, but if you don’t know where you’re starting from you’ll never know which turns to take in order to get there and so you’ll be more likely to get lost along the way.

In terms of health and fitness, it’s a good idea to find out where you’re starting from by taking measurements, photographs and maybe testing your fitness with a run, some pushups or some other test relevant to the goal.

This will enable you to determine where you are relative to the end goal and allow you to plan the following weeks and months of training accordingly. In addition, you’ll be able to perform these tests at 4-6 week periods to find out how well you’re doing and adapt your approach if it’s not working.

WHERE ARE YOU IN RELATION TO THE GOAL? What do you need to do in order to get from where you are now to your final destination?

Take massive and consistent action – Even when all of the above steps are completed, it’s all for nothing if you fail to do anything to actually make progress toward your goal. You have to DO SOMETHING! And the bigger the better!

You see, sometimes it’s the small things that stop you from achieving the big things in life. Small things like habits exert an immense influence upon our lives and create a ‘gravitational pull’ every time we try to break free of them.

For this reason it’s often a good idea to smash a habit by taking massive action at the start of your new health and fitness ‘habit’. Don’t just ‘start a diet’, change your lifestyle!

But we all know that large actions aren’t always sustainable don’t we?

This is where consistency becomes important. It’s the ‘little things’ that we do everyday that determine our success in any endeavour and so our efforts need to focus on doing the right little things everyday.

For example, a single workout will produced few if any gains in muscle tone or fitness, but perform that same workout on a regular basis and you create a powerful habit that will practically guarantee your health and fitness success. This is the power of the little things!



There you have it.

These four steps are simple yet very effective and are the blueprint for practically every successful person you’ve ever read or heard about.

Follow them for six months and you’ll be astounded at what can be achieved.

I guarantee it!


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