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How To Set Fitness Goals And Achieve Them

Here are some simple tips to help you set goals and achieve them, no matter what.
Max Cotton

If you exercise, there’s probably a reason behind it. That doesn’t mean you always look forward to it, but for most of us there’s a catalyst and a motivator for it.

Your goal has to matter, as you'll need to dig deep when you're working towards it. If your goal isn’t sexy, big and meaningful, you’ll probably quit.

Because hitting your training goals isn’t down to luck, it’s down to you.

How to set your goals right

Have a good think, and think big. It should be something that excites you and will make you feel amazing when you’ve smashed it. This will help when it gets hard. There are usually three types of goals: performance, vanity, and health. Let's delve into them 👇

1. Performance goal - What do you want to be able to do?

Have a think about what you want to be able to do - whether it be strength, cardio or a specific exercise - and write it down. Go big and try not to change course or add too many more until you've started knocking them off, e.g.

  • 5 pull ups
  • Run 5km comfortably
  • 60kg+ strict press

2. Vanity goal - What do you want to look like?

If you have a goal around aesthetics, there’s a few ways you can define it, but it usually comes quite easily to most people. It’s also relatively easy to measure.

It’s not vain to have vanity goals; you can have whatever goals you like, so go crazy and write down whatever it is you actually want:

  • Bigger biceps
  • Defined abs
  • Peachy glutes 🍑

3. Health goal - How do you want to feel?

Some of us don’t have specific performance or aesthetic goals, we just want to feel generally more healthy, less fatigued and more energised. This one is slightly different in that it’s less tangible and more difficult to measure, but it’s the one that will have the most lasting impact on your overall health.

To get there, start by setting a consistency goal, don’t set it at the most you could possibly do, instead consider:

  • What’s the minimum I need to do to have an impact on my general health? Unsure?
    Speak to your coach.
  • What’s realistic? Rather than the most you can do in your best week.

If you set your target at 1-2 sessions below what you can do in your best week, you’re more likely to succeed and you can always add a few sessions on if you’re having a great week.

Break big goals into smaller, micro-goals

Now, your goal is big and scary, you have to break it down into manageable chunks. Let's take the example of completing 20 full press-ups and assume you can't complete one full rep right now. How do you do it?

The first milestone is one rep unassisted - no knees down, full range of motion.

Then, you'll aim for five, then ten, and so on. It will be hard and take consistency and discipline, but you'll get there.

Whatever your goal is, don't let how unprepared you are right now put you off starting. Break it down into smaller goals, and get attacking those first.

How to smash your goals, no matter what

1. Have someone in your corner

A supportive friend or personal trainer can make all the difference, at this time of year in particular.

They’ll keep you accountable, make sure you turn up and stick to your goals, and offer some (much needed) words of encouragement.

2. Be prepared to push yourself

There is no substitute for hard work. Yes, work smart, but don't see that as an alternative to working hard. Work smart and hard.

Harsh, but fair. Fact is your motivation will wane at some point, especially in January (that’s probably why you’re reading this), but sometimes you just have to grit your teeth and get it done, follow the motions and stick to the plan. Not every workout will feel amazing, but everyone will move you closer to your goals and you’ll almost never regret doing it.

This is why your goal has to be meaningful to you, as you'll need to dig deep frequently when you're working towards it.

Honestly, January is tough. But if you can stay moving and motivated through the coldest, darkest month of the year, you’re way more likely to smash through the other 11.

So keep going. You got this. 👊

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