Are you looking to set some fitness goals for the new year but aren’t quite sure how to get started?
If you create unrealistic fitness goals, you’re going to be disappointed when you don’t achieve them. This may cause you to throw in the towel on your fitness journey altogether.
To make sure this doesn’t happen, you need to set achievable fitness goals. But how do you know if your goals are achievable or not?
Check out this guide to learn how to set achievable fitness goals.
Understand What Healthy Weight Loss Looks Like
When many people start a weight loss journey, they focus on the pounds on the scale and how quickly they can drop them. But it’s important to understand that healthy weight loss doesn’t equal fast weight loss.
Losing weight too quickly isn’t just bad for your health, it’s also not sustainable. Many people who drop a ton of weight really quickly end up gaining it back within a few months. Often, they end up putting on even more weight because they’ve completely screwed up their metabolism.
But what does healthy weight loss look like? How many pounds should you be dropping per week? Generally speaking, you should aim to lose 0.5 pounds to 2.0 pounds per week.
This will involve cutting out around 1000 to 3500 calories per week from your diet, or adding in an extra exercise session or two per week. Cutting out this amount of calories per week doesn’t mean you need to starve yourself.
Instead, you just need to make some healthier swaps in your diet. For example, instead of drinking fruit juice or soda each day, you can switch to water. Or, instead of putting a huge slab of butter on your toast, you can eat it with a thin layer of peanut butter.
These small changes can really add up, and they can help you drop the weight slowly but steadily.
Use the SMART Goal Strategy
Making use of the SMART goal strategy can help you achieve your fitness goals: SMART is an acronym. It stands for:
- Specific: Your weight loss goals need to include numbers, dates, times, etc.
- Measurable: You need a way to measure your progress (i.e., pounds dropped, muscle mass gained, fitting into old pants, etc.)
- Achievable: Make sure to choose fitness goals that are attainable (in other words, don’t try to drop ten pounds in one week)
- Realistic: Your fitness goals should be results-based and achievable within a certain time frame
- Timely: Set a deadline for achieving your fitness goals, it could be one month from now or one year from now
Using the SMART goal system can really help you get specific and hone in on your fitness goals. Let’s take a general fitness goal that many people say and apply the SMART goal strategy to it so you can see what it looks like in action.
For example, your goal might be, “I want to get in better shape.” Getting in better shape can mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people. Do you want to run a marathon, or just have an easier time getting up the stairs?
Your SMART goal strategy may look like this:
- Specific: I want to run a 10k
- Measurable: Each week, I’m going to track my mileage until I’m closer to my goal
- Achievable: I’m going to run three times per week, doing one long run per week and adding an extra mile onto my long run each week
- Realistic: I want to be able to run a 10k within six months
- Timely: On August 21st, I’m going to compete in a 10k race and try to get my time under one hour
As you can see, the SMART goal strategy helps you plan out your fitness goals and make them more achievable. You can even take things one step further by writing out your workouts each week and tracking your run times to measure your progress.
Don’t Just Focus On the Scale
When many people begin their fitness journeys, they become obsessed with the number on the scale. But, it’s important to remember that the scale doesn’t tell the whole story.
Often, the scale doesn’t even tell you the truth. There are many things that can cause the number on the scale to jump without your body composition actually changing. For example, many women find that the scale is higher a few days before their period due to bloat and water weight.
However, this doesn’t mean they’ve actually gained fat, it just means their bodies are holding onto excess water. While the scale can be a great tool for tracking your fitness journey, it shouldn’t be the only tool you use. Here are some other ways you can measure your fitness goals:
- Pay attention to the way your clothes fit
- Pay attention to your energy levels and your mood throughout the day
- Pay attention to your exercise routine- Is it becoming easier? Are you getting in better shape? Are you challenging yourself more during your workouts?
- Pay attention to your sleep- Sleep is directly linked to exercise and weight loss. Chances are, if you’re sleeping well, your exercise and diet are also improving
As you can see, there are many different ways you can track your fitness journey.
Are You Ready to Start Your Fitness Journey?
Now that you’ve read this article, it’s time for you to begin your fitness journey. Everyone’s fitness journey looks different, so don’t compare yourself to others. Instead, focus on achieving the goals you’ve set for yourself.
And, check in with our blog for more fitness tips.