When it comes to motivating oneself to exercise, many people find it beneficial to set goals. But just how do you set effective exercise goals? This post takes a look into how to set exercise goals that are effective.
Why are goals important?
Setting goals in life is necessary to achieve peak performance. This includes work goals, personal goals and fitness goals. Most of us don’t enjoy exercising for the sake of exercising. A goal can provide something to work towards. Each week we can measure our progress towards this goal – seeing how close we are to achieving our goal and how far we’ve come can encourage us to keep exercising each week.
How to set the right goals
While workout goals are important, you need to make sure that you’re setting effective goals that will actually motivate you and get you results. Below are just a few tips for setting effective exercise goals.
Make sure that progress is measurable
You need to make sure that you can measure your progress towards a goal. This requires you to choose a goal that can be measured – such as reaching a specific weight, being able to lift a certain weight, being able to run a certain distance or slimming your waist down to a specific size. Vague goals like wanting to ‘lose weight’ or ‘become a better runner’ are not effective because they cannot be measured. A measurable goal allows you to record your progress over time – either through a diary, blog or an app – and you can get a more accurate idea of how far you need to go.
Set short-term and long-term goals
It’s important to set both long term and short term goals. Short term goals can give you something new to work towards each week. Long term goals can give you something to aim all of your workouts towards. There may be times when long term goals seem too far off – in these cases you can focus on short term goals. In other cases, you may experience short term hurdles or setbacks – in these instances, you can use long term goals to motivate you by reminding yourself of how far you’ve come.
Make goals challenging but realistic
An exercise goal needs to push you out of your comfort zone, however it also needs to be something you can realistically achieve. A month to lose 3 stone or train for a marathon is an unrealistic goal for most people. Research into what the average amount of time is to achieve these goals, and identify the average milestones along the way- this will ensure that your short term and long term goals are realistic. You can even download workout plans to help you.
Don’t move the goalposts
Once you’ve set a goal, try to stick rigidly to it. Unless you experience an injury or some other unavoidable event that interrupts your training, there should be no reason to delay your long-term goal or reduce the end requirements. If you keep doing this, you’ll eventually demotivate yourself by no longer having a goal that you can stick to. Set a date and a figure that you want to achieve and don’t change it unless you’re forced to.