It’s the New Year and you’re ready for a new you! As a personal trainer, each January I see lots of new clients who are striving to reach new fitness goals – which is great! But while we often set out with good intentions and lofty goals, sometimes we fall short and give up. This year, instead of giving up and ending up back at square one next January, let’s take a look at my top three goal-setting strategies:
- Be honest with yourself about your starting point.
Evaluating your start point means taking inventory of your current health habits. Is your daily exercise a walk from your cubicle to the water cooler, and maybe a 20-minute walk twice a week? Or maybe you’re already a gym rat? Whatever your current fitness level it’s important to take an honest assessment. Your baseline is an average look at your typical fitness habits over the past 6 months to one year.
- Enlist positive thinking and realistic thinking.
Research has shown that optimistic thinking is good for our health and achievement. But when it comes to setting and achieving goals, research has also shown that positive thinking alone can actually be detrimental to success. Pairing positive thinking with realistic thinking, research shows, improves goal achievement. This means, don’t just imagine the benefits of reaching your goal, but give equal attention to the real-life obstacles that will come up and create a specific plan to overcome those obstacles.
- Revisit, revise, repeat.
This seems like common sense, and yet it is one of the most common reasons for goal failure. Life gets busy and our goal just drops off the radar. Add to that all-or-nothing thinking and you’ve got another failed attempt at building fitness. This time, create check-in dates for yourself, either with a trainer, a like-minded fitness-oriented friend or just on a workout log. The check-in is key to success because it holds you accountable to your plan and forces you to evaluate what is or isn’t working. If it is working, great! Take a moment to identify why it’s working – this will help you continue to be successful in the future. But be honest with yourself if your initial plan isn’t working. If it’s not, don’t get discouraged! That’s really important feedback that you can use: was your initial assessment of your fitness level unrealistic? Did you forget to schedule your workouts, hoping to just squeeze them in here and there? That works for some people, but not everyone. That’s important self-knowledge that you can work with and build a plan around.
We’ve got a whole year in front of us to create new, healthy habits. Invest a little time upfront to take an honest assessment of where you are now, be realistic as well as positive about what you can accomplish, then be willing to check-in on those goals and revise as necessary. If you do, next January you’ll be poised to launch an even bigger fitness goal.
To learn more about my approach to fitness and personal training, please check out my website at www.performancecolorado.com.
Go get your sweat on!