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Going For Gold - Challenging Yourself With Fitness Goals

Setting fitness goals are one of the best ways to maintain motivation for exercise. Numerous studies in psychology have shown that individuals who set goals have a far better chance of achieving them than those who do not. Short term goals give you something more immediate to focus on, while long term goals help you strive for higher achievements by keeping your overall fitness and health objective in mind. Once you have reached your goals, make sure to acknowledge that achievement and mark them off your list so you can then make new goals.

Here is why fitness goals are important. They -

  • Give you direction and keep you on the right track
  • Make working out more efficient
  • Help you progress more quickly
  • Help you see your progress
  • Keep you motivated
  • Can help you feel empowered and confident

Here are 10 tools to help you hit your fitness goals:

1. Master a skill.

There is a real sense of accomplishment in mastering a new skill. Look for something you have always wanted to learn, it could be as simple as mastering a perfect push-up or something more complex like learning a flamenco dance. Either way, it is something to strive for that will increase your fitness.

2. Train for an event.

A great way to keep motivated and stay on track is to sign up for an event such as a local half marathon or charity event. Even better, recruit some friends or family to join you, helping you stay motivated and keep you all accountable.

3. Change up your routine.

Your body adapts to exercise very quickly. Mixing up your routine will not only help you push your body further but will also keep you from getting bored.

4. Be specific about what you want.

Setting goals like ‘I want to lose weight’ or ‘I want to get fit’ are too vague. You need to be specific in order to work towards your goal and to know if you are on track to achieving it. If you want to lose weight you need to set down how much weight you want to lose and by when e.g. 5kg in 6 weeks. If you want to get fit, look at being able to run a certain amount of kilometres in a set time e.g. 5km in 30 minutes. Think SMART when setting goals = Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, with a Timeframe.

5. Identify your barriers.

Life is busy and we all have excuses for not achieving our goals. Try to identify what these excuses or barriers are. Once you know what’s stopping you from achieving your goals you can put measures in place to overcome it.

6. Keep a training diary.

This will allow you to make a schedule, track your workouts, monitor your progress and keep you accountable to help you smash your fitness goals!

7. Improve your balance.

There are many benefits to improving your balance, including improving your coordination, joint stability, and reaction time. A simple balance exercise involves seeing how long you can stand on one foot; start with 10 seconds on each foot and progress from there.

8. Get stronger.

Undoubtedly there are many benefits to increasing muscle mass and overall strength. Age-related muscle loss begins at around age 35 and continues to progress at about 1% per year. Strength training can slow muscle loss as well as help prevent or control conditions including ones that effect the cardiovascular system, metabolic system, joints and bones. Choose goals like increasing the amount of weight used or the amount of reps done over a period of time.

9. Lower your body fat percentage.

It can be beneficial to know what your body fat percentage is as a higher reading increases your risk of metabolic disorders and cardiovascular disease. The ideal range for women is 21-30% and for men is 14-20%. Working towards lowering your body fat can really ramp up your fitness.

10. Track your progress.

This is important, otherwise you won’t know if you are on track to achieve your goals. There can be temptation to lessen the intensity of your workouts or skip workouts altogether. Tracking your progress makes it easier to push towards your goal.