Everyone works out for different reasons. Whether it is to lose weight, get stronger, to lean up and tone the body, help prevent health issues or fight against family history, it is important that whatever your reason or objective is that you first define your goal and make sure that it is right for you to help you find success. Setting a goal that is unrealistic or purely based on an urge, no matter how well intentioned it may be, is only going to set you up for failure and ultimately lead you to stop working out. So when you decide that you want to get started in an exercise program or start leading a healthy lifestyle, there are six simple steps that you can take to make sure that your goal is right for you.
The first step that you need to take is to make the goal personal and share it with someone you trust and feel comfortable with. If you aren’t starting an exercise program for yourself, whether it’s to look better, feel better or to get healthy, there isn’t anything binding you to it. We always know that there is an out. When we make the goal about us and it is something that we feel passionately about and when someone else knows about it, we are going to do anything and everything we can to make sure that we succeed.
The second step in making sure that your goal is right for you and a success is to make it specific. Losing weight is the number one goal that I hear. And while that is a worthy goal, it isn’t specific enough to make you feel satisfied. A one pound weight deficit is still losing weight, but I doubt that was your goal. So the questions is, how much weight do you want to lose?
The next step is to make sure that the goal is measurable. To get healthier is a very commendable goal, but how can you tell if you are reaching your goal? You want the goal to be measurable so that you can get baseline numbers that can be compared against throughout your training. What was your initial weight? What was your initial blood pressure and resting heart rate? Where are you starting at with your aerobic capacity? All of these factors can be measured so that 3 months, 6 months, 12 months down the road, you can go back and check them to determine your progress and if no progress is being made, to make adjustments so that you can.
The fourth step to deciding the appropriate goal is to make it action oriented. This means to determine a plan that is going to get you to reach your goal in the safest, most efficient way possible. Often, the best way to go about this is to set up an appointment with a personal trainer or physician to have them set up a program for you. You want to make sure that you are working at the proper intensities based upon your current fitness level and then progress your workout at the proper moment to maximize your results. It is important that this program works within your everyday lifestyle so that adherence to the program is easier where it can be scheduled into your day so that there aren’t any excuses.
The fifth step is to make your goal realistic. This may sound simple enough but more often than not, perception and reality don’t match. Again, if weight loss is your goal, determining how much weight you can expect to lose or is a healthy amount to lose is not an easy task, but is also crucial in determining your success and eventual happiness. Again, here is another time with this particular goal that making an appointment with a personal trainer or physician is an integral part of the process. These individuals will be able to determine your current body composition, factor in any health risks, and determine what is realistic and safe and then help guide you through the process.
The sixth and final step is to make your goal timed. This means simply when do you want to achieve your goal by? Putting an end date to your goal gives you something to work toward, as opposed to leaving it open ended where there is no real rush to achieving it.
So by following these steps, not only will you find success in achieving your goal, but you will also know that it is truly the right goal for you. And when that happens, you feel better about yourself, you are happier, feel a sense of pride and accomplishment, and are more likely to keep exercise a part of your life!