As personal trainers, we encourage clients and members to set goals to help direct their fitness journey. However, we understand how frustrating it can be not to reach those goals, or to face struggles during the process. Here are our top tips for goal setting, and ways you can make the journey a positive one.
We are all for our clients and members having huge aspirations and aiming high, but we recognise our role in ensuring the goals set remain realistic. If you’re just starting out in the gym, perhaps an Ultra-marathon a few months after you dive into your first workout isn’t the most appropriate goal to start. But a 5K followed by a 10K could be a great place to start! If your goal is weight loss, or weight gain then it is important to be honest with both yourself and your trainer as to how many days a week you are going to be able to commit to the gym and also understand that taking an interest in your nutrition is imperative; you can’t out train a bad diet! Plus, why wouldn’t you want to fill your body with healthy, nutritious goodies?! Being realistic with your goal setting means they are within reach, if you are committed.
Setting a goal and the steps to take in order to achieve it is one thing, but sticking to the plan is a totally different ball game! You’ll likely come across weeks where the plan feels a little more of a struggle, you might miss a couple of sessions or indulge on a few too many treats but it’s important to remain positive and get back on track as soon as you can. Planning your visits to the gym in a diary is a good way of staying committed; just like an appointment or meeting with work, the time is set and it becomes harder to find excuses not to train. Even better if you plan that session with another person; no one likes the feeling of guilt when you cancel on someone! Preparing your meals in advance is a great failsafe when it comes to staying on track with your diet. Having food ready for you when you get up in the morning, are bored at your desk, or when you get home from a long day at work will help stop you reaching for the unhealthy snacks when the hunger pangs strike (and save you heaps of time!) Try a few different recipes and keep things varied!
Set Short-Term Goals
Setting one huge goal can often be daunting and feel very distant, leaving you feeling demotivated and more likely to give up. Think about some shorter-term goals that will help you stay on track and feeling positive. If overall it’s an aesthetic goal you are pursuing, why not focus on some performance goals in the meantime? In the first few weeks you might not see a huge change in appearance, but it’s highly likely that you’ll find yourself able to do things you couldn’t before. Perhaps you started with a few minutes on the treadmill before feeling really puffed out but now you can manage a 3k run, or you struggled to do a sit up but can now do 10 in a row? As trainers, we see these improvements all the time but sadly we find lots of clients focussing solely on the way they look and feeling disheartened when they don’t see changes as soon as they thought they would.
Fitness should be fun and something you’d like to continue for life. Perhaps you love the atmosphere of a group exercise class and being told what to do by an instructor or enjoy coming with a friend. Maybe it’s the buzz of chasing down that personal best, or the endorphins you get from a HIIT-based workout. Whatever it is, by choosing something you enjoy you’re more likely to stick with it for the long run.