These days, there’s all this advice out there concerning proper goal-setting. Especially now, with New Year’s having just passed, it seems like everyone and their sister is offering their two cents on the subject…
You have to be specific + clear about what you want.
You need to give yourself a deadline.
The goal must be measurable.
Yada yada yada…
And truly that information is helpful + it has its place, but what do you do when you’re unsure of how to pick a goal in the first place?
I mean, you very well know that you want to be the healthier, more capable version of yourself- yet you can’t quite put that idea in your head into words.
Related: The Power of Visualizing Your Goals
That’s the frustration, isn’t it? All this habit-making, goal-achieving advice in the world won’t help if you can’t figure out what goal to go after in the first place.
So, what’s a girl to do?
Don’t freak out just yet… I have a plan for you, my friend.
3 Steps to Defining a Fitness Goal You’re Actually Excited About
1. Find Your Why:
Aside from your doctor insisting you better your health (or else!), there’s likely a more personal reason behind your decision to improve your fitness routine.
Maybe you want to ‘look’ better…
…Are you uncomfortable with your physical appearance? Would you prefer to have more defined muscles in order to achieve that ‘toned’ look? Do you want to rock a bikini at the beach this summer without feeling nervous + anxious?
Perhaps to you, health is about ‘feeling’ better…
…Do you want to have more energy to play with your kids? Are you striving to become stronger + feel more empowered? Does it put you more at ease knowing that you’re treating your body well?
Or are you trying to follow what’s trending…
…Did your best girlfriend kick the caffeine habit, so now you think you should too? Is everyone at the office trying some new + popular juice cleanse- and despite your aversion to liquid diets you jump on in too so not to get left behind?
If your answer resonates more with the latter, it’s likely you will encounter greater difficulty sticking to those goals.
The truth of the matter is- when you’re not intrinsically motivated to pursue + achieve your fitness goal, there’s less desire propelling you forward to take action.
It’s the difference between “I have to go to this Booty Bootcamp group exercise class tonight” + “I get to go to this Booty Bootcamp workout- I can’t wait!”.
I know it’s easy to arbitrarily choose a goal that seems healthy or impressive or aspirational, but goals are not one-size-fits all. Chose a goal that has meaning to you- don’t just jump on the bandwagon because everyone else is.
2. Determine What Makes You Happy
Everyone has an opinion these days. And thanks to the Internet it’s easier than ever to let that opinion be known to the entire world.
It used to be in the line at the supermarket where we’d be bombarded most with marketing ploys + messages from fitness companies- you know, that spot right before the checkout where they put all the women’s magazines with those hard-to-miss headlines: ‘Why You Absolutely Need to Eat Kale Everyday’ or ‘The 3 Exercises that Should Be Included in Every Workout’…
But now we have Facebook Ads + Instagram influencers + endless spam in our inboxes that all tell us what we ‘should’ be doing when it comes to fitness.
Really, the question we need to ask ourselves is- what do we want? What would make us happy?
There’s many ways to define success when it comes to fitness. For some people, that means sculpting 6-pack abs. However, having a tight + toned midsection isn’t mandatory to living a healthy lifestyle.
Perhaps you’re happier at a slightly higher body fat percentage because you better enjoy the way your clothes fit – plus it allows you the freedom to be more lenient with your eating habits, which is a win for you all in itself.
Don’t just choose a goal because you think you ought to. Choose a goal that you feel compelled to complete + one that once completed, would add meaning to your life.
3. Seek Out Enjoyable Ways to Reach that Goal
True story: I once ran a marathon despite the fact that I can’t stand endurance running.
You can bet it was my first + only marathon completed to-date.
Now I’m all for pushing past comfort zones, but why exactly did I suffer through weeks of training + a brutal four hours on race day in order to complete this marathon?
I thought it would bring me closer to my ultimate goal at the time- which was to lose all the weight I had gained during my freshman year of college.
A friend of mine (who is an avid runner, by the way) had been looking to complete a marathon for some time, and she wanted to run with a partner that would help keep her accountable throughout the process.
I knew that the extra cardio would come in handy- so without hesitation I agreed to race with her.
In full disclosure, had it not been for this friend pushing me to run each + everyday, it’s unlikely that I would have ever crossed that finish line. While I will admit that I did feel a deep sense of accomplishment upon completing that marathon, it wasn’t long after that race that I returned to my old habits.
Because running didn’t make me happy. Plan + simple.
For me, running was a chore, not something I enjoyed. It wasn’t until I discovered my passion for strength training that my fitness habits started to stick + I began to have success with my fitness endeavors.
My point with this whole story is that it’s possible to share the same goal with someone + yet take completely different paths to get there.
Pursing your goal doesn’t have to be a painful!
Find the way that makes you most happy. I promise, you’ll greatly increase your odds of achieving success if you enjoy the process.
I would love to hear from you. Let me know in the comments some of your favorite fitness goals- what has helped you to stick with them?
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