Whether you’re a thrice-weekly class enthusiast, a chilled-out Yogi or a bonafide bodybuilder, everyone has individual fitness goals they’d like to reach when it comes to health and fitness. The progression it takes to get to these goals, however, is rarely as straightforward as we’d like, and we often get caught up in vague objectives — our appearance, for example — over more specific and measurable goals, such as adding weights to major lifts or shaving valuable minutes off a run.
Managing more attainable goals, we believe, is crucial to the longevity of your training plan and your fitness goals, and we’ve recruited the help of Natural Fitness Food’s Head of Nutrition Rachel Butcher and Third Space Elite Trainer and Education Coordinator Tom Hall to arm you with the right set of tools to help you set effective, measurable and realistic fitness goals. Let’s get stuck in.
Know Your ‘Why’
“Finding your true why can be the ultimate motivation boost, not just to get started but to keep going,” says Butcher. “Why do you want to move more? Why do you want to eat well? Why do you want to take care of yourself? Take some time to reflect on what truly matters to you and identify that intrinsic motivation. Take some time to embrace who you are now, focus on acceptance and appreciating your body for what it can do. This will encourage you to keep going for what truly matters.”
Break Up Your Objectives
For Hall, dicing up his client’s objectives was crucial to their success in the long-term. “It’s about short-term, medium-term and long-term, and ask them ‘what do you want to achieve in seven days, in 90 days and in 12 months?’” he says. “I want somebody to write down at least three things in each section that are related to performance and fitness, the body, lifestyle and nutrition”. That way, Hall explains, each time benchmark has four goals attributed to it. “Essentially, you get those goals that are spread out over those benchmarks, and they should work into eachother.” A nutrition goal, Hall suggests, is to track calories for seven days and, by 90 days, to have lost weight after logging calories more regularly.
As tempting as certain four- or six-week smash-and-grab training plans can be, staying consistent over weeks, months and years can actually yield more realistic results in both body and mind. Youll learn more along the way, too. “Nobody is perfect and when instilling a new habit, no one should expect perfection every single day,” says Butcher. “There will be little inconsistencies here and there but if you stick to your goal more often than not, you are still moving in the right direction and all is not lost from a slip-up – it may even work in your favour overall.”
Set Goals You Want to Keep
“For many setting fitness resolutions, the mind immediately pictures gruelling HIIT sessions and running 5k a day. This could be a great thing for some, but for others it may well feel like daily punishment,” says Butcher. “If you are not emphatically a runner, you are unlikely to feel any joy or get anything positive out of dusting off the trainers and pounding the pavement.” Alternatively, Butcher suggests, find something that you enjoy and you won’t feel like you need to ‘stick’ to it at all. “Whatever your fitness goal, turning up and getting it done won’t alone make you stick with it, you need to enjoy it and that isn’t just from a self-love perspective.” In BJ Fogg’s Tiny Habits: The Small Changes That Change Everything, Fogg explains that if something feels good and triggers a feeling of accomplishment, the production of dopamine (affecting motivation and mood) propels you to perform the habit more often.
Adding your training plans, workouts and events into your calendar will help you become more accountable to your goals, says Hall, but it’s also important to hold yourself up to a certain standard — you are your greatest critic, after all. “Start to ask yourself deep questions about why you want to achieve your goals,” says Hall, who suggests a starting points, including “Why do you want to change your nutrition and why is important to change it going forward? What do you feel you need to improve on and increase your chances of success? What do you know, deep down, is stopping you from achieving where you want in to be in seven days, ninety days and 12 months? And, lastly, what was the main reason you’ve not seen results in the past and what will help you steer the course this time?”