It is the question that everyone asks, when starting a fitness plan, do I make short term or long term goals? The fact is, you should make both. Too many people decide they just want to look good and don’t really think of what it takes to get there. Therefore, they give themselves seriously unobtainable goals and get defeated and scratch the whole idea. It is not fun when that happens because that is the exact opposite of what it’s supposed to do. Fitness goals are supposed to make you feel strong – like you can conquer the world – however, making a fitness goal can be tough. What exactly do you want? I mean, the end goal is generally the same for all of us – hopefully it isn’t solely based on weight – but it is normally to lose inches and/or define muscle. Or, to look AND FEEL smokin’ hot in that dress you’ve been staring at in the store window every time you pass by. But, how do you set a goal and stick to it? Personally, I can’t make only long term goals because they take too long for me to feel like I’ve done a great job. I truly need to make both short term that leads into my long term. However, to succeed, it is incredibly important that your short term goals are obtainable. The last thing you want to do is feel like you’ve failed. Sometimes failing is as easy as giving yourself unrealistic goals and, basically, setting yourself up for failure. Now, that’s not saying don’t push yourself and give yourself a challenge, but you don’t need to set something completely unobtainable.
Holly Rilinger, NYC Celebrity trainer and founder of Holly Rilinger Fitness, has some amazing advice when setting goals. Holly says:
“It’s important to know WHERE you are going before you start anything in life. Just as you have a destination in mind when you get in a car, you should have a destination in mind when you start a fitness plan. By no means does this indicate the destination can’t change, it simply gives you direction.
A few things to keep in mind while setting goals are
1- make them realistic
2- make them measurable
3- set a date to be reached
4- speak in the present tense”
Because we tend to know exactly where we want to be in our minds, we generally assume that we can get there with no problems and set unrealistic goals because we think of the end product and not what it takes to get there. Rilinger says
“You can think big and still make your goals realistic. As an example…setting a goal to lose 1% body fat in a month is realistic. Setting a goal to lose 5% body fat is not. It feels good to succeed so set yourself up for success as you set your goals. If your goals are measurable it’s easy to determine if you’ve reached your goal or not. For example, ‘workout more often’ is not measurable. Be descript. ‘I will workout 5 times per week'”
Stating exactly what you will take is helpful too. State “I will do the eliptical machine twice this week, take one spin class and two strength training classes (or lift weights twice)”.
Rilinger also lets us know that it isn’t only physically doing the work, a lot of it is mental.
“When writing goals speak in the present tense; you speak as if you are accomplishing that goal. There is power in the spoken word and even more power in the way we write things down. We are basically communicating with ourselves!! ‘I fit into a size ___ jeans’ sends a message to yourself and makes it part of your reality. Don’t be afraid. I personally set 1, 5 and 10 year goals.”
And, last but not least, Rilinger gives us the key to her success
“Dream BIG. Don’t be afraid to DESIGN the life of your dreams. When you take yourself 10 years out it’s mind blowing…but WHY wouldn’t you do this? Things don’t just happen. Dreams are the result of planning and persistence. WRITE YOUR FUTURE.”
Trust me, once you start dreaming big AND taking action, your dreams can become your reality. Just make sure you’re realistic in what you set and that your goals are obtainable for your lifestyle.