Setting fitness goals is the easy part. Following through with them is where things get difficult. We get so excited thinking about our goals for the year to lose 10 pounds or finally sign up for a 10k that we don’t always think about how to follow through on those commitments once February rolls around.
Life gets in the way and before you know it, your fitness goals go untouched and unaccomplished. You might end up feeling ashamed of your lack of progress or frustrated with yourself for not following through. Does this sound familiar?
This goal setting and frustrating inability to achieve those goals is something I’ve struggled with throughout my life. There would be days of high motivation and excitement where I’d announce my very ambitious goals to the world, only to realize a few months later that I completely forgot about them.
Through my goal-setting failures I’ve come to discover these 5 quick tips that I use in my own life today to establish goals that I can actually follow through on:
- Set SMART goals
- Write them down
- Make time in your schedule
- Recruit a workout buddy
- Track your progress
Here’s the secret though: you have to commit. No goal can be accomplished if you don’t try and you don’t put in the work. But the good news is that there are ways you can set yourself up for easier success and that is what I’m here to share with you.
1. Set SMART goals
You might have heard of SMART goals before, but if you haven’t it stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. The biggest mistake I see people making when setting fitness goals is not making them SMART goals.
It’s a lot harder to work towards your goals if you don’t know exactly what you are trying to achieve. If your goal is to “lose weight” you need to ask yourself how much weight do you want to lose and by when? If your goal is to “work out more” you need to ask yourself what is realistic for my schedule and what exactly is “more”?
Only by setting goals that are specific in nature, can be measured, are realistic for you, and have a deadline, can you actually set out for success in achieving them.
2. Write them down
One of the biggest reasons why we don’t achieve our goals is because we forget about them. Even the most important fitness goals you set for yourself are often de-prioritized when the realities of our busy life come crashing down on us.
When there are groceries to shop for, deadlines to meet, bills to pay, those goals sometimes fade to the background. But like your grocery and to-do list, it’s important to write your fitness goals down and reference them regularly.
Sometimes it’s important to have a gentle reminder visible to us to keep our goals top of mind. That way we can’t as easily forget them and are more likely to make progress towards them. I’ve blogged about this before because I’m a firm believer in writing down your goals and displaying them somewhere you are sure to look every single day.
3. Make time in your schedule
We are all busy but if a goal is important to you, you can make time for it.
If you are reading that sentence and saying to yourself, “I seriously do not have any time for my fitness goals” then I recommend tracking your activity for a full week. Write down every single thing you do every day for a whole week (be super honest here) and at the end of the week take a look at how you spend your time.
Sometimes the time we don’t think we have is actually disguised by unproductive habits or unnecessary activities. By clearing those out, and readjusting your schedule to fit in the activities you need to do to hit your fitness goals, you have a higher likelihood of achieving them.
4. Recruit a workout buddy
When you share your fitness goals with close friends, family, and colleagues, you create a system of supporters. They will ask how things are going, they are going to check in on you, and they might even join you in your goal. If you can get a friend or family member involved in your workout routine you can both hold each other accountable to the goals you have set for yourself.
When you make a commitment to workout with someone, it is a lot harder to skip. Now you are not only giving excuses to yourself, but to another person. For the person who needs a lot of social support and accountability, this tip is super important.
5. Track your progress
I didn’t start seriously following my own workout routine until I started writing down my workouts every week. Tracking your workouts creates a layer of accountability that can actually help motivate you to stick to a routine. Not only that, but it’s actually kind of fun to track your progress and look back at what you’ve done.
There are a ton of different ways you could track your workout. Some people use apps to track their progress, others keep a note on their phone, and others have something they print out and post up.
Getting into a new routine takes time and being able to check an achievement off of your list takes even more time. This can be incredibly discouraging at first because we want to see results and we want to know that the work we are putting in is helping us towards our goals.
But here’s my promise to you: if you stick with your routine and you follow these 5 tips, you will see progress.
And if things aren’t working? Adjust your plan or your goal! It’s important to adjust and adapt to what makes sense for you, your schedule, and your body. So go forth and conquer those workout plans in 2021!