I have written plenty in the past about the importance of planning to achieve improved health and fitness. The first step in the planning process is to understand what it is you really want to achieve. It’s very easy to say ‘I want to lose weight’ or ‘ I want to get fit’; however these statements are meaningless and won’t enable you to bring about change.
To identify what you want to achieve means you drilling down deeper, and to be honest how many of us have the time to do explore what is really driving us?
In our busy lives defining our goals can either seem to be a luxury or a bit of a waste of time! I see so many enthusiastic people wanting to just get out there and exercise! However all too often they are doing completely the wrong thing, wasting precious time and money as they plateau with their fitness or weight.
Health and fitness goals need to be SMART! Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-Bound. Often it’s best to start by identifying the fitness problem and use this to help focus your goal. Some examples could be:
Problem: “I don’t feel fit enough to run round with the children in the park”
Goal: To be able to play cricket with the children / cycle with the children for an hour by their next school holiday.
Problem: “I am struggling to do up my favourite jeans and want to feel comfortable”
Goal: To be able to wear my jeans comfortably in time for the girls night out next month.
Problem: I want to enter a 5K run but am not fit enough at the moment
Goal: To be fit for my first 5K run which I’ll sign up for in 6 weeks time.
Problem: Back pain / knee pain is stopping me exercising.
Goal: Find an exercise regime to help overcome my back/knee pain.
Problem: I usually pull out of my evening fitness class because I feel tired after working all day.
Goal: Increase my energy levels to make sure I get to my evening fitness class on a regular basis.
For very long term goals such as I want to run a half-marathon in 9 months, or I want to drop 3 dress sizes by next summer, you will need to add some shorter term intermediate goals or milestones such as “to complete a 10K run in 2 months time, or drop a dress size in 6 weeks”.
Once you have identified your health and fitness goals, use these to set yourself a series of actions. In our example “I usually pull out of my evening fitness class because I feel tired after working all day” actions could include:
Remember that most health and fitness related goals require you to think about nutrition and a perhaps a change in routine as well as consideration of what type of exercise is best.
Ask yourself the following questions as you set out your list of actions:
Remember too that body adjusts to fitness regimes quite quickly so to progress you will need to change things regularly. Review your progress after about 6 weeks and see what’s worked, what hasn’t and what you might need to change as you set your next set of goals.
I would love to see your goals, please post up on Facebook and share.
With over 20 years experience in the fitness industry, Debbie's philosophy is to provide results driven, progressive but functional training solutions that fit in to our