My Fitness Blog: Goal Setting
Have you been reading my blog, feeling inspired and ready to make a change but unsure of how to make a start on your journey? Or, have you set too many goals and finding yourself underachieving?
Don’t worry, I was exactly the same. I hope this article can provide some tips on what to do and what not to do when setting your fitness goals. These tips are from the lessons I’ve learnt and from the mistakes I’ve made. Remember, goals are personal, so tailor them to suit your fitness needs and don’t just steal your friends. What’s right for someone else might not be right for you. If you ever need any help the staff at FCT will be at hand to offer support and advice to personalise your goals!
There are a lot of different methods to set your goals but the system I’ve chosen to use is based on the SMART way of target setting.
Whatever your goal is, it needs to be clear, precise and specific. Something like, “Get fit”, is too broad a term as there are lots of ways to get fit. It’s important to get specific with yourself and narrow down exactly what you want to do and achieve.
Ask yourself some questions like these:
1. How am I going to get fit?
2. What does fit mean? Is it to lose weight, get toned or increase endurance?
Ok, choose your goal. I’m going to go with “I will reduce my body fat levels”.
If you’ve got other goals you’d like to reach, don’t worry, you can create more SMART goals later. For now, let’s focus on just the one.
Now you have your goal but that alone is not enough. You need to work out how exactly you can track your progress and how you know when you have achieved this goal. Generally, making a goal measurable means adding a number, let’s see what that does to our goal.
With my goal, “I will reduce my body fat”, to make it measurable I can say “I will reduce my body fat percentage (%)”, and now I can track and record my progress, and know when I achieve my goal. I will need to find out my starting % and then monitor progress as I exercise, and eat healthier until I reach my target.
It doesn’t have to be percentage body fat like my target, it can be anything you want as long as you can monitor progress and know when you’ve completed your goal.
A popular method of tracking healthy weight loss is by calculating and monitoring your BMI. BMI stands for Body Mass Index and here’s how the NHS have described it: “a measure that uses your height and weight to work out if your weight is healthy”. According to the NHS, a healthy adult’s BMI is within the range of 18.5 to 24.9 and depending on your score you will be within 4 categories; underweight, healthy weight, over weight or obese. I would point out that there are limitations to using BMI, one of which is that muscle weighs more than fat. For example, a weight trainer or boxer would be considered obese due to their weight when in fact they are healthy as they have a large amount of lean muscle. If you want to use BMI to work out your goals, the NHS has provided an online calculator which you can use HERE
With your SMART goals it’s great to aim high, but you’ve also got to keep your feet on the ground. It’s important to know exactly how high or low you want to go. A goal that’s too high can be demoralising as it’s too hard and a goal that’s too low can be demotivating as it’s too easy. It’s important to be realistic with this; you know what’s best for you.
For example, let’s look at my goal. I believe what’s attainable for me is a 5% reduction in my body fat. I’ve chosen 5% as I think that that target is realistic and attainable, but I’ll also have to challenge myself to achieve it.
These are YOUR goals, so make them important and relevant to you. If they aren’t relevant to your life then you’re less likely to see them through, listen to other people’s advice but always follow what you think is best. Working towards someone else’s goal, or being pressured into a certain goal can be disheartening.
Take a minute to examine your own goal. Is it relevant to what you want to do?
It’s important to find out what fits into your lifestyle and will help drive you to achieving your goals.
Last but not least, time. Achieving targets and goals should be time-bound and include an end-point. This is key to knowing by when your goals should be achieved and can really help motivate and help give focus, get the head down and push ourselves towards our goals; it’s an extra motivation.
Let’s use my goal as an example again. Healthy weight loss is around 1-2 pounds per week and I can use this to calculate how long it should take to achieve my goal of 5% body fat.
Now my goal has become “I will lose 5% of my body fat % in 3 months.”
As you can see I now have set myself a specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound goal.
I hope you all will get the result you want but don’t be put off if you don’t, set a new goal and get back on your fitness journey. It’s all about working out what works best for you and unfortunately in fitness there is no one size fits all.
It’s a good idea to have a couple action-orientated goals to work towards. Here are mine:
1. I will lose 5% of my body fat % in 3 months.
2. I will run 5 days a week for 2K.
3. I will only eat out or eat fast food for 1 meal per week.
I hope this blog has been of some help and you set yourself some fitness goals.
If you’ve enjoyed then please like and share. Leave a comment if there’s something you’d like me to blog about! See you next Friday for the next blog.
Friday, 18th January 2019