“Be better today than you were yesterday” Jim Harbaugh, Head Football coach of the University of Michigan Wolverines.

Whether you are a beginner, weekend warrior or serious athlete, you have a fitness goal in mind. Many times with a busy work schedule, kids, or other unexpected things that life throws at you, it is very easy to get sidetracked from your fitness goals.

This can lead to not exercising as much, not giving a full effort and worst case, stopping exercise entirely. You can’t prevent life from happening to you, but you can learn how to set fitness goals that last.

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Be realistic

A lot of people don’t achieve their fitness goals because they have unrealistic expectations of how quickly they should progress or how they should look, and quit out of frustration. The worst thing that you can do is to compare your progress to someone else’s.

We are all built differently; we all have different barriers to overcome. My best advice to you is to put on blinders (not literally, you’d look kind of silly). Focus on your goals and not what other people are doing. If you’re focused too much on how well someone else is progressing, then you’re not giving your workouts the attention that they deserve.

For example, you’re not going to go from a couch potato to a tri-athlete in a few weeks. Just like you’re not going from a 100lb squat to a 300lb squat in a few weeks; this isn’t even something that’s going to happen in a few months.

However, it can happen if you put the effort in. Building towards your fitness goals is something that can take years depending on what it is. Arnold Schwarzenegger didn’t start off looking like he did during his Mr. Olympia reign; it took time, discipline, planning and a clear vision.

Have a vision

When setting your fitness goals, ask yourself these questions. Why am I doing this? What do I want from this? Where do I see myself in one month, one year, etc?

Get an image in your head and keep that image in your head. Having a clear vision is a very effective component of setting your fitness goals. Every great accomplishment has had someone envisioning the end product. Fitness goals are no exception.

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Make a plan

To achieve your fitness goals, you also have to know how you’re going to do it. It is very difficult, if not impossible; to get the results that you want without some planning. Imagine building a house with a bunch of tools and materials with no blueprint. It can be done, but a lot of things won’t line up correctly, things will be missing, etc.

Fitness programs are very well thought out with a specific goal in mind. Exercise order, reps, sets, cadence, and load; are all variables that are taken into account when a program is put together. It is part science and part art form. It is very important to know what you want to do and what is preventing you from doing it.

Work schedule too busy? Set aside 30 minutes a day to do your exercise. Kids not letting you exercise? Include them on your routine. Left side of your body a little weaker? Build it up. The important thing is to make a plan and follow it step by step, no matter how small or large each step may be. That being said…

Set mini goals to achieve the big goal

If you’re planning on running a marathon and the furthest that you have ever run is one mile, that 25 miles can seem pretty daunting. Aim for 5 miles. Once you reach 5, aim for 10 miles, then 15 and so forth.

Before you know it, you will be at the level to run that marathon. By setting little goals, the big goal seems more achievable. Each mini goal that you accomplish gets you a little closer to the big goal. That 25 miles doesn’t seem so far away now does it?

I cannot emphasize enough to log your workouts. This way, you can keep track of all of the progress that you have made. One thing that I have done with those whom I’ve trained is to write down on a board their big goals.

Under each one, we write down smaller goals and each time we achieve them, they get crossed off. It can be something as little as adding 100 more steps to your day or something as big as beating a personal best.

Seeing what you’ve accomplished and what you’ve overcome will give you that much more confidence and motivation to keep going. Instead of saying “look how far away I am”, you say to yourself “look how close I’m getting”.

In Conclusion

Making fitness a part of your life is more a journey than it is a destination. Every trainer I know is always looking for that new mountain to climb. We set our goals, achieve those goals and then set new goals. That’s how progress is made.

Fitness is one of the things that you get out of it what you put into it. When I said to be realistic, I didn’t mean to not dream big. By all means set very high goals for yourself, just remember the little goals and steps on the way to get there.

If you follow the plans and execute them, you will be well on your way to achieving your fitness goals.

 

 

 

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