Having goals is a great way to achieve anything we may be dreaming about. Many of us have aspirations of being a super-sexy, head-turning, lingerie model type person that appears to have popped off the pages of a catalogue, who can also demolish a kitchen, wrangle a two-year old boy, and run a marathon without breaking much of a sweat. Or maybe that’s just my dream.
But these things don’t just happen. They take serious work, frustratingly enough. So I am here to share with you some goal setting tips.
If you have wandered here after searching long an hard for goal setting tips, I am sure you have already seen the classic method using the acronym S.M.A.R.T. (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely). This is a classic for many reasons. It works and it makes sense. However, when it comes to fitness, I believe there are important things left out of this equation.
- Photographic evidence: Do I mean having photos for evidence that we all have followed trends that later we regretted? (I’m talking to my Junior high self with center-parted hair from the late nineties). No, I am talking about honest photographs that show whether or not progress is being made in ways that you are hoping for. We all know there are days when chasing fitness goals that the scale just will not budge. However, with some filter-free unbiased images, you can see what changes you have made, or that you haven’t and something about your approach may need tweaking. If you see that you have improved, you may be more inclined to stick with it, and to be proud of what you have achieved. Tip: try to use the same clothes at equal time increments, and wait at least 4 weeks between photos to give yourself some time.
- Tape measurements: I know there are a thousand ways to measure our selves on a quest for fitness. Between the Bod Pod, calipers, the scales that send electricity through you to measure your fat percentage and a boatload more, there are a lot of options. I find the tape measure to be my favorite because it is free, private, and less susceptible to false readings because of hydration or being measured by someone else. It is another way to see real changes being made if you aren’t seeing them in photos.
- A fitness journal: A great way to see your abilities improve is a fitness journal, because after all being fit is about being able to do more today than you could yesterday. Whether it is an amount of weight you lift with ease, how far you can run without walking, or just how much energy you have in the morning, it is important to track the changes that are occurring so you can see how far you’ve come.
- Get Physical: Or rather, get a physical with your doctor to see how your blood chemistry or body composition could be improved, and then schedule one for a year later with a goal in mind. You’d be surprised how quickly a year can fly by, and how much you can improve and possibly increase your lifespan with only 365 days.
- Schedule Something New: whether it’s a 5k, a muscle body competition, or a triathlon, it is important to have an event to work toward that is relevant to your overall goal. For example, my mom and I have signed up for a Disney Half Marathon (I’m terrified of course) to keep us moving until September. The idea of something public motivates me to not fall behind, and to look like I at least kind-of know what I’m doing, but if your motivation comes from something else use that!
- Know thyself: Know what you enjoy, and if you know you have no idea what you enjoy, trying a new activity every month or week could be your goal. Don’t force yourself into something that is torture for you or you won’t do it very long and you’ll be back at square one. And if you know you want to change, but there are many things that need change, just aim for 1 new behavior a week.
- Never Never Never Quit: I don’t mean never take breaks, I’m a fan of breaks for physical and mental health, but never give up. Time will pass no matter what, but what you do with that time is up to you. Use everyday wisely.
Always check with a physician before changing your diet or activities, but I hope that something in this list inspires you to be healthier or encourages you to keep trying today or someday in the future. Take care out there!