How to Set and Achieve Fitness Goals

So here we are in February, the perfect time to assess our progress towards the goals we set at the beginning of the year. If you’re like many you may be cringing at the thought because what research tells us is that by the first week of the year 1/4 of those who make a resolution give up and another 40% abandon their goal by the end of the month.

Any time we experience failure, the associated feelings can be those of defeat, sadness and low self esteem. But hold on! Its’ only February! There are several more months to work it out. It’s important to understand that change doesn’t just happen because you said so. Changing requires work in progress so a “now or never” approach can be counterproductive. Because of this, it’s also helpful to acknowledge that sometimes “failure” is part of the process. Few things worth changing happen overnight.

    So what can you do to help yourself along the way? Here are some suggestions:

  1. Get out of your way. That’s right. Sometimes we are in the way of our own success and sabotage our efforts through negative self talk, cynicism and undermining thoughts. These constant thoughts that go through our minds must be recognized as just that. Thoughts. They are not you, they don’t define you. You don’t have to solve them, get over them or hide them. Just acknowledge them, let go and focus on what you can do at the present moment. That in itself can take you a step closer to your goal.
  2. Ask the right questions. Are your goals realistic? Don’t base your goal on other people’s abilities and success. In regards to weight loss and fitness we are not all designed the same. What worked for someone else may not work for you. If your expectations are unrealistic you are setting yourself up for failure. To be ambitious and optimistic is one thing but to be unrealistic is another.
  3. Abstract doesn’t work. Be specific. Telling yourself that you will lose weight and get in shape is hard to measure and surprisingly not so simple to define. What does being in shape really mean to you? It’s better to make a clear and precise statement like “I will go the gym three times a week”
  4. Have a plan and surround yourself with the tools and support you need. Investing in a few sessions with a personal trainer to learn proper form and execution will save you time and keep you safe. Is there a running or cycling group in your area? Can you find a friend to be accountable to? Friends and groups with similar goals and interests can carry you through the days where motivation may be low.
  5. Use Measuring Tools: Acknowledge that all the little things over the days will contribute to the end result. Are you now able to get up three flights of stairs quicker or without being winded? Are you able to carry more groceries? Lift your toddler with more ease? Has your posture improved? Do you have more energy to get through the day? These are all valid and important things to consider when you look at your progress and success. Most likely you will feel better before you actually start to see a difference. Don’t underestimate the benefits of these simple things.
  6. Never give up. Period. Those who succeeded reaching their goals never gave up no matter how many attempts it took. It takes time for habits to stick.

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Gena Govas

I am an OPA National level athlete, six time marathoner and life long fitness enthusiast. My passion for exercise is the added force behind the success of my clients. I'm a Can Fit Pro Personal Trainer Specialist, and upcoming Can Fit Pro Nutrition Specialist and Tabata Certified Instructor. I have also completed Can Fit Pro Older Adult training. Since 2003 I have worked with a variety of fitness levels in Toronto and the GTA. The advances in research constantly change what we know about exercise, diet and general well-being and I stay on top of changes through continued education, research and training.