New Year, New Me: How To Mindfully Choose Achievable Goals In Fitness

New Year is the time of the year when we usually make our resolutions for the upcoming year. These resolutions often affect our diet, fitness goals, jobs, and hobbies. All the euphoria around New Year can influence us to set some not-so-realistic goals, which we’ll struggle to achieve, and when we fail, we’ll end up feeling even more miserable than we did when we started. The key to achieving your fitness goals is to set achievable goals, something YOUR body can do, to start small, with baby steps, to set measurable and time-bound goals, among other things. Fitness goals are important for us on so many levels. Besides making us healthy and good-looking, achieving fitness goals can hold us accountable, it can show us how capable we are, it can help us push through difficult times and hard exercises for the benefits of long-lasting future changes. The point is to learn how to set realistic fitness goals you’ll actually achieve.

1. Start slowly and move once a day

In order to set and achieve your fitness goals, it’s quintessential to start slowly, taking baby steps. Don’t try to change many things at once as it will ultimately lead to failure and then you’ve achieved nothing. Instead of setting s goal to start eating healthily, going to the gym 5 times a week, and sleeping for at least 8 hours every night try with a single step at a time. So, for example, start avoiding sugary foods and add one vegetable to each meal. When you get a hold of that, try regulating your sleep habits. And when these two steps have set in, start with going to the gym twice a week. Slowly add a step by step. In this way, you’ll feel much better as you’ll feel really proud of yourself for achieving every goal that you’ve set. And this will be the incentive for you to continue with good fitness practice.

2. Swap unhealthy food for the healthy one

The next essential step to our physical health, condition, and well-being is our diet. You can’t start exercising regularly and continue eating junk and sugary, highly processed food and expect to lose weight or achieve certain fitness goals that regard our physical shape. It doesn’t go together. For the ultimately positive results, you should also make some modifications to your diet. It’s important to eat a varied diet that includes plenty of fruits and veggies, fish, nuts, and other foods rich in protein, minerals, vitamins, and fibers. Implementing new, healthy habits slowly, combined with physical exercise is a sure way for success. The best way to do this is to evaluate the type of food you’re eating now and to consider some healthier alternatives which you’ll gradually add to your diet. As already mentioned, be mindful of how you implement healthy foods into your lifestyle, the key is in taking baby steps.

senior biking down path near lake - Pixabay

3. Begin with a single goal

When making a resolution that concerns fitness, many people make a mistake by trying to change many things at once, without any previous experience in taking up some sport. And in this case, it is very difficult, if not impossible to achieve these goals. Having too many goals to achieve at the same time usually results in failure. People then start feeling anxious if they can’t achieve all of their goals. This eventually leads to negative self-talk and it can actually decrease your chances of achieving any further goals. To avoid this, come up with a single goal and move on to the next one only when you’ve achieved the first one. How does this actually apply to real life? Instead of setting a goal to hit the gym 5 times a week, set the initial goal to 2 or 3 times a week. Instead of running 5km set your goal to 1km and slowly increase the mileage.

Instead of cycling 50km to a nearby city, start cycling around your neighborhood. To achieve a certain cycling goal, you need a quality bike, based on your features, preferences and goals. You’ll find a wide range of bikes online including mountain bikes, pavement bikes and road bikes along with all kinds of bike accessories that’ll make your bike even more functional and appealing. One of the key components in achieving your goals is having the proper equipment as well, so take it into consideration

4. Define your goal by making it measurable, specific and time-bound

In order to be able to track your progress, it’s important to set a goal so that you can measure it. And fitness experts suggest that the more specific your goal is, the clearer the way to achieve it is. For example, setting a goal ‘to be stronger’ is pretty vague., while setting your goal to do a certain number of pull-ups and push-ups is easily measurable. Making your goal specific means setting a goal such as doing 20 push-ups in 1 minute. What’s more, being time-bound helps you in concentrating your efforts and making a more structured plan that consists of several micro-goals and thus creating a sense of urgency. Every goal can be made measurable, specific and time-bound. So, for example, a goal that has all the features of an attainable one would be to run a 5km marathon nonstop in 6 months or to correctly perform a pull-up in 3 months.

girl walking down road - Pixabay

5. Simple and easy goals for starters

When thinking about your goals, a good strategy is to start with a goal that seems easy to reach and attain. Why is this so? Experts suggest that when we consider a certain thing to be easy, we have already gone through the potential obstacles that could threaten our progress in our minds. As far as your confidence is concerned, in order to achieve a certain goal, you must believe strongly that you are able to do it. If you don’t have faith that you can do it, then you probably won’t be able to do it. And the wins, no matter how small they may seem to you, are crucial. This is due to the fact that the more success you have on your fitness journey, the more you’ll feel the need and wish to keep up with it. It will act positively on your confidence and persistence.

6. Divide your ultimate goal into micro-goals

Having an ultimate goal is absolutely fine, but dividing it into smaller, easily achievable, confidence-building goals is even better. As already explained, small wins and successes work as building blocks for long-lasting results and effects. A real-life example would be that you have the ultimate goal of running a mile in 9 minutes. The micro goals would then be running half a mile in 5 minutes, for example. In that way, you can assess where you currently are and what’s your progress. Feeling proud of yourself and rewarding yourself mentally is important as waiting a long time for a certain accomplishment can affect your motivation negatively. And motivation is absolutely necessary when achieving a certain goal. So for the best results, divide your macro goal into smaller, micro-goals that are achievable on a basis of 2 to 3 weeks. It will do wonders for your ultimate goal.

7. Seek professional help

Fitness is not just about doing exercises and training. Rather, it’s about doing it right. And sometimes, it’s difficult for us to evaluate whether we’re doing something properly. This is the time when we would consult a personal trainer and have him or her correct our moves. You can also seek professional help if you don’t know where to start, what’s your current fitness level, what would be the goals you want to achieve and what’s the best way to do it. Professional personal trainers can help you out with all kinds of questions and they can direct you to the right path. They can also help you in deciding what a realistic goal for you is, which is, as we saw, highly important when considering long-term changes and effects. When consulting a personal trainer, he will ask you questions about your previous fitness history (Have you trained before? Are you a former athlete? Do you have experience lifting weights?), about your work, diet and social history (Do you have a demanding, high-stress job? Do you go out frequently? What do you eat usually?) and about any health issues and conditions.

These questions are essential for understanding where you currently are and what you can achieve in a certain time frame. Personal trainers can also have you undertake some athletic tests, such as endurance tests and strength tests—to assess your baseline level of fitness. Once your personal trainer understands you, he or she will be able to create a fitness program just for you, based on your features and goals. This program is to take you to your goal in a way that’s not stressful for you and that you can achieve easily at your own pace.

It is possible to achieve any fitness goal if you know how to start and what to do. This article aims to offer you some advice, tips and tricks on how to mindfully choose attainable fitness goals – a fairly good start.