The Importance of Setting Fitness Goals and How to Do It Right

setting fitness goals

setting fitness goals

The art of setting fitness goals rests in the motto, “focused and few.”

Even the smallest achievements provide a sense of pride, happiness, and self-worth. Together, these become the inertia needed to continue setting new goals and your continued success in achieving them.

Types of Fitness Goals

There are two main kinds of goals: outcome goals and process goals.

Outcome goals, or long-term goals, reflect what you want to achieve. They create the big picture. Most people focus only on outcome goals—“I want to lose weight,” or, “I want to run a 5K”—and often fail to achieve them because they don’t set the second type of goal, process goals.

Process goals serve as the stepping stones, or short-term goals, that help you reach the big picture. They are the small steps you plan to take to achieve your outcome goals. You have control over these.

Mastering process goals will get you to the big picture.

How to Set Achievable Fitness Goals

If you want to make a difference in your life, you need to create and stick to a solid plan.

Set an outcome goal first.

It may be vague right now, but you probably have a goal in mind. What’s your big picture? Whether you plan to wear your wedding dress when renewing your vows for your 30th wedding anniversary or climb Mount Kilimanjaro, recognizing that big picture is essential for setting attainable process goals.

Be realistic.

Know your limits. Set outcome goals you feel confident you can achieve through reaching each process goal. If you want the perfect bikini bod, don’t wait until May to put your plan in place. Set process goals that indicate the progress you plan to achieve each month and work consistently towards those goals.

Be specific.

Every goal you set should be measurable. If your outcome goal is to complete a 5K marathon by the age of 50, vowing to simply “jog more” is too vague. Make your process goals to jog a specific distance weekly, then monthly; but start small so you don’t overwhelm yourself.

Set deadlines.

Setting goals is one thing. Setting deadlines is another. Without deadlines, you may be more inclined to push off your next workout for a day…and then two…and then three. And before you know it, you’re convinced you’ll never achieve that shiny outcome goal. Don’t get sucked into this mindset. Set deadlines and stick to them.

Plan your process.

Ask yourself, “What are the specific things I need to do on a consistent basis to achieve my goal?” Your answers to this question will determine your process goals. List the specific actions you will take and how often you will do them. For example, “I will strength train for a half hour three times a week.” “I will do a half hour on the elliptical three times a week before I go to work.”  “I will plan and prepare my meals for the week on Sunday afternoon.”

Write it out.

It’s not enough to have this system bouncing around in your head. Whether you keep a journal or a whiteboard on the fridge, recording your process goals and progress can inspire you to keep pushing to achieve your outcome goal.

Consult a personal trainer.

You need a support system. The best way to stay accountable for your progress is to connect with a personal trainer who can help you develop and stick to a fitness plan that works best for you as an individual. But don’t go with just any personal trainer—it’s important to know how to choose a personal trainer who’s right for you.

Maintain a positive mindset. Following these key points when setting fitness goals will help you achieve and even exceed your goals. Connect with the team at Cause and Effects Fitness to learn more about how we can collaborate with you to help you reach your fitness goals.

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