Once the new year hits people scramble to get gym memberships and equipment to work off the holiday pounds.
The reality is most need a lot more than that to reach their fitness goals.
Did you know that only 9% of Americans complete their New Year’s resolutions? By the end of the first week, 23% have already quit. And a whopping 43% of goals get scrapped before the beginning of February.
If you look back on the fitness goals you’ve set for yourself over the years, odds are that many of them were abandoned and pushed to the back of your mind. But don’t be hard on yourself. You had the vision. What you lacked was the right system to follow through with it.
There’s a gap between setting goals and achieving them that often isn’t filled. You’re far more likely to succeed if you plan exactly how you’re going to reach your goals. People typically think in terms of big goals such as losing twenty pounds, but it’s the small day-to-day wins that get us there.
So, let’s jump in. Let’s explore how to make sure you follow through on your targets.
Setting the Right Goals
It might sound like execution is where people fail. In actuality, the goals themselves might have contributed to it.
Get real. Impressive goals sound good. It feels good when you make them too. However, if it isn’t realistic you setting yourself to be disappointed in your performance. You’re ramping up the likelihood you’ll quit. Don’t lose sight of your current abilities and progress when you think of where you want to be.
Get specific. “I want to work out more and lose weight” is an example of a goal that needs more specificity. How do you plan to work out? Where will it take place? What days and time slots will you dedicate to working out? How much weight do you plan to lose and how long are you giving yourself to do it? Although forming your strategies comes next, it helps to roughly consider how your plan will all come together.
Do it for you. Sometimes you have to stop yourself and ask: “Am I doing this to improve my life or impress others?” Sometimes it might seem like we want to improve ourselves for other people, but at a certain point, it fails to motivate us. Explore all the reasons you want to increase your fitness level for you.
Designing Your Strategies
Goals without action plans behind them are dreams. It’s time to break down the steps that will lead you to the desired outcome.
Determine the what, why, where, and when. Now you can really get specific. Determine what type of workouts you want to focus on: whether it’s running, jump rope, or spin cycling for cardio. Writing down a schedule for yourself is vital. By giving yourself set days and times to do your workouts you’ll know how to stay on track. If one of your key goals is to get a flat stomach, you may want to double down on working on your abs twice a week rather than once.
Be consistent. Heroic efforts done on occasion aren’t what get you to the finish line. Rather, action you take unfailingly, whether you feel like it or not, separates the goal setters from the goal achievers. Consistency makes time your ally rather than your opponent.
Make it easy to stay on track and hard to fall behind. If you make getting started with your workouts easy, the rest will fall into place. For example, if you’re a homebody, scheduling your workouts in your rec room rather than the gym could be the difference between success and failure. Try placing exercise mats down as part of your morning routine. If your workout is scheduled for 2 pm, it will be more enticing to start when the equipment you need is ready to go.
Know what to do if you miss a workout. Skipping workouts is a slippery slope. It starts with one or two missed sessions. Next, you could feel so far off track that you’re tempted to give up. Develop a way to correct your course. For example, if you miss a day, make it a rule that you need to reschedule a workout to make up for it that week or the next.
Turn Big Goals into Many Small Goals
It’s good to have big goals. The trick is to stay encouraged during your journey even when you can’t see the light in the tunnel.
By breaking your big goals into smaller objectives, you can celebrate your wins along the way. Committing to working out five times a week is a way to reach your greater goals, but it isn’t just a plan. It’s a goal in itself. Every week you do it is a week you achieve a goal. And that’s something to feel good about.
In the beginning, you’ll likely have to start small so you can launch. As long as you stick to a consistent plan, your rate of progress will accelerate a little more each week. For example, you may feel comfortable with doing 10 reps of a certain exercise. Later, you may want to increase your reps to 15, and then 20. Progress expresses itself in many forms. Before you see the results, you’ll feel the results
Find an Accountability Partner
Your workout partner, your personal trainer, or a friend who has a passion for fitness can potentially be your accountability partner.
You may want to include your accountability partner in solidifying your goals. At the very least, they need to know your specific objectives and how you plan to achieve them. Next, the idea is to check in with them regularly and update them on your progress.
Studies have found that people who share their goals with others are twice as likely to reach them. It’s challenging enough to admit yourself you fell short of your targets. That’s a conversation you don’t want to have with your accountability partner. Conversely, you’ll feel good about yourself each time you have good news to report.
If your accountability partner is a friend or gym buddy you want to have a way to give back. Offer to be their accountability partner as well.
Don’t Be Too Hard on Yourself
If the thought of having specific goals, having a clear plan to achieve them, and remaining accountable sounds intimidating, don’t let it be.
To fall off track is human. As long as you keep going, you haven’t failed. There are always opportunities to make up for missed workouts or workouts that were cut short. Tomorrow is another day!
When you find areas that need improvement, focus on solutions. Remind yourself and your accountability partner that encouragement is a far better motivator than focusing on the fact that you fell short.
Goals are often overrated, and the plan you have to meet those goals is underrated. Too many people make big, vague fitness goals for themselves and don’t bridge the gap between dreams and the consistent action needed to realize them.
So much of your success is determined by the systems you use. By writing your goals down, getting specific in your goal-setting, and creating a plan of actionable steps you’ll be leagues ahead of the hopefuls who wonder why they’re still paying for a gym membership by the time spring arrives.