You probably already know that setting workout goals is important, but did you realize that there are both short-term and long-term fitness goals that you need to set?
While they are very different, each one is important in its own right, and both will go a long way toward helping you achieve the body, fitness level and overall health you desire.
Here is the difference between short-term and long-term fitness goals, and what role each plays in your workouts.
What Are Some Examples Of Short-Term Fitness Goals?
A short-term goal is one that is achievable in a shorter amount of time. Some examples of short-term goals could include, “workout three times a week,” “eat less carbs,” “or run one mile every day.”
If you already work out three times a week, vow to exercise five times a week. Other examples of short-term goals include things like adjusting your eating habits like cutting out soft drinks, or adding extra reps onto your sets (perhaps doing 12 dumbbell biceps curls instead of 10) or adding more weight onto each set (lifting 15 pound weights for each bicep curl rather than 10).
If you are a runner, you might decide to add five minutes to your run or an extra block. Swimmers might decide to add an extra lap.
These are considered short-term goals because they are more quickly attained. You can achieve these by the end of the day, the end of the week, or the end of the month. Long-term goals, on the other hand, often take more time, more perseverance and more willpower to achieve. They are equally important, however, and shouldn’t be ignored if you want to achieve your ideal fit.
What Is A Long-Term Fitness Goal?
A long-term goal is one that that you set for yourself as an end goal , one that you wish to achieve with all your workouts.
For example, do you want to lose 20 pounds? 50? 100? Obviously, this is not a short-term goal, as it is not achievable in just a couple of weeks or months. It is, however, a strong long-term fitness goal.
Long-term goals include living healthier, lowering your BMI or your cholesterol — making lifestyle changes. Your long-term goal is something you will get to by completing all of your short-term goals. If you run a bit further every week, or add an extra workout session each week, you will obviously up your calorie burn and make it to your goals, over time.
Another realistic long-term goal is setting fitness goals such as ‘running a 5K’ or ‘running a half marathon.’ If you are interested in one of these it is extremely important to set up short-term goals (like running more each week) to get you to that end, long-term goal. As you can see, short-term and long-term fitness goals go hand-in-hand.
How Can I Meet My Fitness Goals?
Once you’ve decided on the best short-term and long-term fitness goals for you, the next step is to plan out how you can achieve them. Schedule workout sessions on your calendar for months in advance. Go through your cabinets and throw out junk food, then hit the stores for some fresh fruit and vegetables. Consider meeting with a trusted friend once a week to discuss your progress. Accountability partners are a great way to stay on-track.
Another way to reach your fitness goals is by getting a personal trainer. A personal trainer can help you reach your goals through motivation and custom workouts. If you are ready to get in shape or make a lifestyle change, meet with me today. I’d love to help plan and achieve your fitness goals. You can find out more about my personal training, HERE .
*This post was originally published in April 2014 but has been updated and republished for the sake of accuracy and freshness.

Contents

New year fitness goals 2020

Set long term and short term fitness goals for the new year

The new year is a great time to set new health and fitness goals. In the US the cold winter months coincide with the new year and see a spike in workplace absences, which may be linked to seasonal illnesses. Staying fit and healthy over this time of the year can help support your body to be as strong and relislient as possible.

The new year also brings with it an idea of a fresh start, especially if the previous year hasn’t been a great one for you.

However, you shouldn’t set goals ONLY because it’s a new year and you think you should. Set goals and start taking action on them whenever YOU ARE READY to do so. When you want it enough, it’s time to get started!

To focus on your new year fitness, set yourself:

  1. 1-3 long term fitness goals (6-12 months)
  2. Break each one down to medium term fitness goals (three months)
  3. Break these down to short term fitness goals (a short-term goal definition is usually around four weeks)
  4. Set weekly targets – one step at a time!
  5. Set daily habits and actions
  6. Give yourself a little incentive boost by setting one or more appropriate rewards for reaching your goals

Your long term fitness goals and short term fitness goals need to be SMARTE: SPECIFIC, MEASURABLE, ACHIEVABLE, RELEVANT, TIME SPECIFIC and EXCITING (ENJOYABLE too!)

They should be stated positively, be things you have control over and be things that YOU want, not that others want. You must have a clear understanding of WHY your goal is important to you. If you have a strong emotional driver there will be a far greater likelihood of success.

A long term fitness goal example that includes the person’s ‘why’:

By the end of 2020 I will have completed my first 5 km fun run. I will feel so proud to be able to show my children that consistency and dedication pay off. The increased energy I will have will allow me to spend more quality time with my family, which I am so excited about

Example of short term goal

Good short term goals should be related to your long term goal. A short term goal definition is simply something that you want to achieve that will take you closer to your overall vision of success.

So if we take the above long term goal example, examples of short term goals related to this could be:

“By the end of February I will be able to jog non stop for two minutes”

Once you’ve set a short term goal like this (which clearly relates to your long term goal), set your targets for the month that will help ensure you reach your short term fitness goal.

For example: “Every week for the month of February I will complete two walk-jog sessions where I will jog for one minute and then walk for four minutes, repeated four times”.

or

“By the end of February I will have a good enough base fitness level so I can begin jogging in March”.

If this is your short term fitness goal, again you would then set the targets that will help you reach it. For example “I will achieve this goal by completing two cardio sessions and one leg strength session every week”.

Do you have your own example of short term goals you’d like to achieve in health and fitness now?

What to do with your long term and short term fitness goals once you’ve set them

Make your long term and short term fitness goals visual and put them in prominent places where you will be reminded of them (e.g. on your wall and fridge, and in your wallet). Then tell people about them – accountability is another factor that will contribute towards your success.

Not quite feeling like taking any major steps yet? Maybe you’re feeling a bit rough after a holiday food or alcohol binge? If so, I’ve put together some tips to help you feel better and get yourself on track.

Are you ready to set some epic health and fitness goals for the new year? If so, check out my review of this awesome goal planner to get you started.

I’d love for you to share your long term fitness goals examples for others to read. What do you want to achieve in terms of your health and fitness goals for 2020? Feel free to leave yours in the comment box below. Here’s to a great 2020!

Types of Fitness Goals

17.07.2017 0

Episode #1 of the course Setting and achieving fitness goals by Aimee Frazier

Welcome! This course will empower you with the tools you need to accomplish your fitness goals. Within these 10 lessons, you will learn how the body responds to different types of workouts and how to shape workouts based upon your specific goal. You’ll also learn how to set realistic goals, how to track your progress, and how to gain the support you need to stay on track long term. By the end of this course, you will have a clear, step-by-step understanding of how to set and achieve your fitness goals. The first five episodes are focused on understanding the four basic types of fitness goals and exercise science. The last five episodes are focused on the practical components of achieving your goals.

Training for a Specific Body Type or Fitness Goal

While genetics have some influence over people’s body types, there is a great deal of room for people to shape their bodies to look or perform in a certain way. You’ve probably noticed that different athletes have very different body types. For example, runners typically have a very slim body, without a lot of excess muscle or fat mass, because their training and body type allows them to maximize their speed and endurance. Football players typically have a much higher body weight and much more muscular mass, with developed and coordinated strength.

Just as athletes follow specific training for their goals to maximize their performance, anyone can decide how they want their body to be shaped or conditioned. Once they have their goal in mind, they can use specific training techniques to develop their physique or conditioning.

Four Types of Fitness Goals

There are four general types of fitness goals:

• Losing weight

• Building endurance

• Building strength

• Gaining weight

So, what type of fitness goal would you like to achieve from the list above? What would that look like, and how would you feel if you accomplished it?

Setting Up Your SMART Fitness Goal

When you set a goal, it’s important to be detailed so you can have a clear guide of exactly what you are hoping to accomplish. SMART is an acronym that highlights guidelines when setting a goal, so you can know exactly when you have accomplished it. Following the guidelines will ensure that your goal is detailed, relevant, and possible. Get out a pen and paper or a digital note-taking app, and write down your goal. Then run it through the guidelines below to make it more detailed:

Specific: What exactly do you want to accomplish?

Measurable: How will you know if you’re making progress? Many goals measure an increase or decrease in a specific quantity, whether that’s weight or a race time.

Attainable: It’s very important that your goal is realistic. If you’re not sure what’s realistic, try to be conservative with your estimate. For example, “I’d like to lose three pounds a week,” isn’t realistic (or healthy). It might be more realistic to say, “I’d like to lose one pound every week.”

Relevant: Does it make sense to pursue this goal at this time in your life? For example: if you don’t have transportation to the gym, it might make the most sense to focus on workouts that you can do at home or in a nearby park.

Timeframe: Make sure your goal has a specific time that you’d like to take to accomplish it. Short-term goals can be accomplished in a week to a month, and long-term goals may need more time. It may be helpful to break down long-term goals into shorter goals.

Have you written down your goal? Good! This goal will direct how you design your workouts and how you shape your diet, and will project the clear path forward. In the following lessons, you will begin outlining steps to accomplish your goal, now that it has been defined.

Stay tuned! In our next lesson, we will focus on how to workout to lose weight.

Cheers to your health,

Aimee Frazier

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Write It Down, Make It Happen: Knowing What You Want And Getting It by Henriette Anne Klauser

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15 Fitness Goals That Will Help You Live a Healthier Life This Year

Starting such a journey is never easy and you must remember this is not a crash diet, it is a lifestyle. Don’t panic and think you have to do it all at once as this will most likely overwhelm you. You may also find yourself giving up because crash diet are not sustainable.

The best approach is to make simple changes to your daily habits and over time, you will notice all your bad habits have turned into good habits.

Accordingly to a study by Phillippa Lally, a health psychology researcher at University College London, on average, it takes more than 2 months before a new behaviour becomes automatic — 66 days to be exact. And how long it takes a new habit to form can vary widely depending on the behavior, the person, and the circumstances.

Here are 15 fitness goals to help you on your journey:

1. Drink More Water

W.H.Auden said it best when he said ‘Thousands Have Lived Without Love, Not One Without Water’. With any diet, the most important thing to remember is to stay hydrated. Drinking water will support your body with digestion, transporting nutrition to your body and even help improve cognitive function.

Ideally, you want to drink about half your body weight in ounces per day i.e. if you weight 150 pounds, you should drink 75 ounces of water a day.

Hopefully, by following this rule, you will be able to maintain a consistent consumption of water per day.

2. Add Some Lemon & Apple Cider Vinegar to Your Water

It is recommended we sleep for about 8 hours a day, this means we spend about 8 hours per day dehydrated. Therefore, hydrating your body first thing in the morning is absolutely necessary.

The best way to achieve hydration is by starting your day with a glass or even two of water. For that extra boost, add lemon juice and ½ teaspoons of apple cider vinegar. The lemon and apple cider vinegar will help your body with detoxifying, cleansing and digestion

3. Stop Drinking Your Calories

Yes, keeping hydrated is important but try to avoid high calorie drinks such as soft drinks, speciality coffee and juices as they are full of fast acting sugar.

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Really push yourself to stop drinking such drinks and before you know it, you will notice the benefits.

4. Start Stretching More Often

Always remember to stretch! The benefits are vast and the repercussions of failing to stretch can be dramatic.

Do yourself a favour and always stretch before and after a workout. This will promote a healthy cool down, improve flexibility and reduce next day aches. Failure to stretch can lead to injures and muscle damage.

So, the next time you work out, don’t forget you dedicate a few minutes to stretching before and after your workout. You will thank me for it later!

Here’re some simple stretching exercises you can start trying:

15 Static Stretching Exercises to Totally Enhance Your Workout Routine

5. Add in Some High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

You may have heard about HIIT training because it is the big thing right now and believe me when I say ‘It works!’.

The benefits include lower body fat, increased stamina, leaner muscles and fantastic hormonal benefits.

HIIT is where you perform an intense exercise, for a very short time frame (about 30 seconds) followed by a slower exercise for about 90 seconds.

Performing a HIIT routine for 1-3 times a week will lead to great results.

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6. Focus on Your Breathing When You Work Out

For the most part, breathing is second nature to most of us. But when exercising, you may find yourself holding your breath and this is not good.

It is important to consciously take deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth, this will fill your lungs with oxygen.

7. Build More Lean Muscle

We all want to have lean muscles because not only does it look good, it has great health benefits:

  • Improved posture
  • Reduced body fat
  • Improved metabolism
  • Strong bones
  • Protects and improves joint health
  • Improves stamina

Learn more about building muscle in this guide:

How Long Does it Take to Build Muscle and Increase Fat Loss?

8. Decrease Body Fat

This may seem like an obvious one but it is one of the most important steps to a healthier you. Reducing your body fat has a lot of benefits such as:

  • Improved joints and tendons
  • Lowered risk of diabetes
  • Reduced risk of heart disease
  • Reduced inflammation
  • Better performance and endurance
  • Improved appearance and confidence
  • Better hormonal profiles in your body

Remember, it is not a race to see how quickly you can decrease your body fat, a healthy weight loss is around 1-2 pounds a week.

Crash dieting or pushing yourself too much in the gym can lead to you achieving an unrealistic target, and you may find yourself gaining all the weight you have lost.

Think of it as a lifestyle and take it slow and steady.

9. Eat More Greens

What you eat is the most important factor in a healthier living plan. It is important to ensure you are getting as many nutrients and vitamins from the food you are eating as possible.

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Focus on dark, leafy greens as they will provide you with a wide array of vitamins, minerals, nutrients and antioxidants – all of which you body needs!

Don’t forget to avoid processed and manufactured food. They are usually high in fat and have minimal vitamins.

10. Start Eliminating Sugar

Another top goal you can start immediately is reducing the amount of sugar you consume. It also won’t cost you anything, save you money and improve your health in the long run.

There’s no surprise we eat too much sugar and this should be one of your top goals moving forward (eliminating or drastically reducing sugar).

Cutting out liquid calories is a great way to start. If you’re looking for something sweet, turn to fruits or even dark chocolate.

11. Allow Yourself to Rest and Recovery

The workout is where you go to breakdown the muscle tissue and it builds back through proper nutrition, rest and recovery. It might be tempting to go to the gym for two hours every day as hard as you can to achieve your goals but that’s not the most effective approach.

If you don’t allow for proper rest and recovery, it can set you back a few steps. Your body is more prone to injury and even illness as you can weaken your immune system from all the progressive intensity the body is facing.

12. Get More Sleep

When you are deprived of sleep, you make it next to impossible to achieve your health and fitness goals. Lack of sleep can increase stress hormones in your body and over time these can lead to a lot of inflammation and chronic diseases.

Make sleep a priority to let your body heal and rejuvenate. A good approach is 7 to 8 hours. Also, allow yourself some wind-down time and a pre-bed routine to help get more consistent sleep every night.

13. Focus on the Habit and Not the Result

It’s easy to get caught up in trying to achieve a certain look or shed time off of your mile, but the more important focus is on the habit that will bring you those goals.

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Don’t look at the scale, the tape measure, or the body fat percentage. Focus on the habits that will lead to those achievements.

Don’t compare yourself to where others are, you’re right where you need to be.

14. Take Your Fitness Outside

This may be hard depending on the weather you experience, but the more you can be outside exposed to fresh air and sunlight, the better.

Being stuck in the gym doing cardio while staring at a wall won’t do much for your mental stimulation.

Try to challenge your body more by getting outside. Hiking is great and also just running and walking. Give yourself more mental stimulation and a constantly changing environment. It also beats breathing in that recycled gym air.

15. Do at Least One Pull Up

This is a great last goal to focus on because it’s a great test of strength and to see how you are progressing with your fitness.

If you haven’t been able to do one, you know what a challenge it can be. Having the goal of doing at least one pull up will not only show you how far you’ve progressed but is a great way to become dedicated and motivated.

The Bottom Line

It will become more attainable through the year if you’re consistent with your fitness. Set yourself a concrete timeline as when you want to accomplish some or all of these goals. In fact, start making one of these goals happen this month!

This guide on achieving goals will be helpful for you:

How to Set Goals and Achieve Them Successfully

Featured photo credit: ivan Torres via unsplash.com

Reference

^ Phillippa Lally: How are habits formed: Modelling habit formation in the real world
^ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Losing Weight
^ Unity Point: The Scary Truth About Sleep Deprivation and Chronic Diseases

One thing we fitness pros are always babbling on about is the importance of having goals. In fact, the first thing I ask prospective clients is what they want to achieve, so I can help ‘em get there. And while there’s no such thing as a bad goal, having more specific intentions can be even more powerful—especially when you can measure that progress along the way. Consider adding these five goals to your list:

—Amy Roberts, NASM-CPT

Goal #1: Lower your body fat percentage
Clients often tell me they just want to lose 5 or 10 pounds to “lean out.” (Sound familiar?) But you’ve probably heard the old “muscle weighs more than fat” line. While that’s not technically true (a pound is a pound), it is true that a pound of muscle is denser and takes up less space than a pound of fat. So if your goal is to shed pounds, you really should be aiming to lose body fat and gain (or retain) muscle. Essentially, you’re hoping to shift your body composition and lower your body fat percentage. You can measure this in a number of ways: You can ask a trainer at your gym to test it using skinfold calipers, you can try a body-comp scale or monitor that uses bioimpedance (where you stand on or hold metal pads and a current determines your body composition), or you can go to a special lab for a more accurate (though pricier) air- or water-displacement test. Keep in mind that the first two options aren’t 100-percent accurate, but as long as the measurements are done under the same general conditions, you’ll be able to get a pretty good look at your progress.

Goal #2: Get stronger
I get that you don’t want to look like Joe Manganiello, but you shouldn’t be afraid to make strength one of your goals. In fact, unless you put some crazy concerted effort into it, the typical woman will never “bulk up.” (Newsflash: You CAN be strong and skinny!) What I like about strength as a goal is that it’s much more quantifiable than “toning up,” which is what women often say when they’re describing the desire to build muscle. Strength can be measured by the number of pushups you can do, the amount of weight you lift on the cable machine, or the increase in reps you can handle. It’s also noticeable in daily life: The ease with which you lug your groceries or lift your suitcase into the overhead bin. And if you want to check your progress in the mirror, find out how long it takes to see muscle definition.

Goal #3: Master a skill
Write down this goal if you’re one of those people who just doesn’t get particularly amped about running/lifting/sweating just for the sake of it. Hey, I hear ya. Sometimes you need a specific skill to hone in on. My gateway drug into fitness was a weekly adult gymnastics class that hooked me in. But if tumbling isn’t your thing (no way, really!?), just pick another sport or skill that you want to learn to excel in—like Pilates, lifting weights, or boxing. Already found your fitness muse but need an extra boost? Make specific achievement goals, such as targeting a number of chin-ups (can’t do a single one? Try our chin-up challenge to learn how in six weeks!) or conquering a forearm stand in yoga.

Goal #4: Make fitness a part of your routine
I meet people daily who want to shape up for a specific event—a wedding, a school reunion, bikini season… While I would never begrudge anyone wanting to look and feel her best for any reason, I try to encourage a more long-term approach. Sure, you’re motivated to work hard for the grand occasion, but do really you want to put in all that effort only to let it fall by the wayside later? Consider how you can keep those gym dates, favorite classes or regular runs in your schedule for the long haul. A lot of things can motivate you: finding a workout buddy, blocking off your calendar with hard-and-fast “fitness appointments,” and prioritizing personal training or those pricey-but-awesome indoor cycling classes in your budget. What’s important is that you find your mojo and hold onto it. But if you really need an end goal, just make a point to try something for a month or two (like our newest 6 weeks to bootcamp fit plan). By the time you’re finished, chances are you’ll be hooked.

Goal #5: Train for an event
There’s one exception where shaping up with a deadline can actually come in handy, and that’s training for a fitness event. Some of us are just more deadline-driven than others, and by giving yourself a specific point at which you’ll have to prove your stuff (beyond looking fit in the photos), you’ll be that much more motivated to keep up with your training. So sign up for a triathlon, a 5k, or an endurance event like an obstacle course. Then, train like hell. Who knows? After the rush of completing your first one, you may decide to make it a habit.

The No B.S. Keys to Success for the 6 Most Common Fitness Goals

I have had this article on the backburner for a while. Ironically, one of the best writers on Breaking Muscle, Andrew Read, put an article out recently that included one of the points I want to address – the Principle of Specificity. I want to piggy-back off his enlightening piece and add other reality-based points.

It seems today well-intended people are going down the wrong path to achieve their goals. They fall prey to exceptional marketing techniques that have a proven science base that could be written on an atom. Let me explain with some typical examples:

  • A dude wants to “get big.” He purchases the latest issue of Pump Illustrated and follows the two-hour, five days per week routine replete with a gazillion sets and exercises.
  • A dudette wants to lose her “muffin top.” She opts to purchase a “three easy payments” program/device advertised on an infomercial at 4:00 a.m.
  • A tennis dude wants to increase his footwork and quickness. He busts out the agility ladder and performs a menu of drills hoping it will transfer to the tennis court.
  • A high school soccer dudette wants to improve her “core” strength and balance to hopefully improve her play on the field. She is all over an exercise she saw a world-class soccer player performing: standing on a BOSU ball while doing torso twists against a resistance band.
  • A dude and a dudette want to get “ripped.” They proceed to empty their piggy banks to purchase the latest program that will “incinerate” fat, “sculpt” muscle, and render them the next badass walking around in swimwear.

I think you know where I am going with this. You’d think that after years of seeing products, programs, and ideas come and go because they were eventually proven ineffective, we would have woken up and smelled the Maxwell House coffee. But many remain either completely gullible or outright stupid.

We have all heard this: “If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.” Let me add to that this: “If it is not physically taxing, doesn’t require some discipline, attempts to mimic a sport-skill, and/or is promoted by a fitness model, it is most likely a waste of your time (and money).”

The following list covers 99% of most common fitness and/or sport goals sought by the masses:

  • Lose fat.
  • Build muscle.
  • Get stronger.
  • Improve endurance/conditioning.
  • Improve athletic skills.
  • Improve joint flexibility.
  • I will even throw in “tone,” “sculpt,” and “firm up” so we can put those ridiculous terms to bed.

Before I address these common goals, let’s take a refresher course in reality.

Issue #1: Body Type

Maybe you’re tall, have wide shoulders, long arms, a short torso, and long legs. Maybe you’re short, have wide shoulders, narrow hips, short arms, long torso, and short legs. You might have proportionate everything with the exception of long legs or wide hips. You might be the lucky one and have a narrow waist, wide shoulders, and a proportionate, rock-hard booty. The point is, you are stuck with the body type you were born with. Yes, some are blessed and some cursed, but that is the truth.

Whatever you possess, the only realistic alterations you can make are these:

  1. The amount of fat you possess.
  2. Your muscle size and strength.
  3. Your cardiovascular ability.
  4. To an extent, your joint flexibility.

Issue #2: Discipline

A simple solution to an improved physique: shore up your dietary intake and become more active. Unfortunately, we live in a country where there is an abundance of these:

  1. Potent, non-nutritious food.
  2. Technology that limits our need to get up and move (computers, cell phones, elevators, escalators, Walmart scooters).
  3. Declining self-discipline.

Do you want it or not? If you do, you will do everything possible to get to your goal(s). If not, well, do the math (many people from coast to coast are doing math right now).

Okay, now on to addressing common goals.

Common Goal #1: Lose Fat

Do this: Eat better. Stabilize blood sugar levels, cut out lousy carbs, reduce your caloric intake, and build some metabolically-expensive muscle tissue. Oh, and one more thing: GET OFF YOUR ASS AND MOVE.

Common Goal #2: Build Muscle & Get Stronger

Do this: Resistance train hard and progressively. Hit it hard, document it, and do more the next session. Rest hard and eat properly to allow growth and strength to occur. You don’t need two-hour, high-volume sessions.

Common Goal #3: Improve Endurance

Do this: perform high intensity intervals, do 20-30 minute high-level continuous training, use a rower, stepper or other device, do boot camp-type workouts or body weight circuits. Whatever you do, push yourself, get your heart rate up, and tolerate the temporary discomfort you will experience. Don’t be soft.

Common Goal #4: Improve Athletic Skills

Here’s a novel concept: PRACTICE YOUR SPORT SKILLS. Want to be a better baseball pitcher? Then pitch. Soccer goalkeeper? Get your butt in front of the goal and practice stopping the ball, thousands of times. Basketball? Shoot, dribble, and pass against live opponents as much as you can.

Tons of research on the Principle of Specificity (Here are four examples: 1, 2, 3, 4) clearly shows only exactness in the practice of specific skill execution – not almost, nearly, nor close – improves the skill. You cannot improve a specific skill or movement by throwing medicine balls, wearing a weighted vest, mimicking a skill against a resistance band, or performing martial arts (unless you are attempting to improve your skills in martial arts). You can use some of these drills/methods to enhance your conditioning/endurance provided you create fatigue, but you are wasting your time if attempting to enhance specific skills.

Sorry to disappoint you, but if you believe to the contrary, you have been hoodwinked. Look beyond the hype and false advertising, examine the research, and get a grip.

Common Goal #5: Increase Flexibility

Do this: Understand your genetic endowment limits your potential regarding joint flexibility. Your skeletal structure – including the bone, ligament, and tendon infrastructure – dictates your potential range of motion at each joint. So, to maximize your potential, perform static stretches and PNF stretches within reason.

Common Goal #6: Tone, Sculpt, or Firm Up

Do this: You cannot flex, sculpt, or firm up fat. You can build muscle and lose fat. Toning is a matter of losing fat and building muscle. Sculpting is an embarrassing term. What are you, a clay artist? Your muscle belly size is a genetic issue. Long muscle bellies or short muscle bellies – you can only do so much. Firming up is analogous to toning. You can only “firm” muscle by strength training and losing body fat. Build or maintain muscle, lose fat, and let the firming begin.

1. Rushall, B.S., Pyke, F.S. (1991). Training for sports and fitness. Melbourne, Australia: Macmillan of Australia.

2. Schmidt, Richard A. (1991). Motor Learning and Performance: From Principles to Practice, pg 222, Human Kinetics.

3. Sage,G.W. (1971). An Introduction to Motor-Behavior: A Neuropsychological Approach. Addison-Wesley, Philippines.

Photos courtesy of .

When you decide to create the most effective workout routine possible to reach your specific fitness goal, there is an important question you need to ask yourself first.

That question is… just what the hell is your specific fitness goal?

If I had to guess, I’d say these are the most common answers you’d get to this question:

  • To build muscle.
  • To lose fat.
  • To gain weight.
  • To lose weight.
  • To get “toned.”
  • To increase strength.
  • To improve performance.
  • To get “in shape.”
  • To be healthier.
  • To look great naked.
  • Any combination of the items on this list.

And those are just the broad answers. Some people may have much more specific fitness goals in mind. For example, build X pounds of muscle, lose X of fat, get a 6 pack, deadlift 400lbs, fit into a certain piece of clothing, and so on and so on and so on.

Whatever your workout/exercise related goal may be, and no matter how broad or specific it may be, the first key step in creating the workout routine that will work best for you is figuring out what your overall fitness goal is right now.

So, what is your current fitness goal?

Based on your answer, certain aspects of your workout routine will need to be set up a certain way to best accommodate that goal.

Since there’s a million ways this can go and I’m a big fan of simplifying things as much as possible, we’re going to break up all of the possible fitness goals into just 2 groups:

  1. Team “Looks”
  2. Team “Performance”

Let me show you what they include…

Team “Looks”

The people in this group have the primary goal of improving the way their body looks.

They want to build muscle, lose fat, or do both. This group also includes more generic goals like getting “toned,” or getting a 6 pack, or losing weight/gaining weight, or really anything that basically translates into “I want to look better.”

Granted, there are various differences between the goals I just described, and there are some adjustments that should be made to your workout routine depending on EXACTLY which goal is yours (don’t worry, I’m going to explain all of them).

But, in the most basic sense, anyone whose primary goal is to somehow improve the way their body looks falls into this same top level category.

Team “Performance”

The people in this group have the primary goal of improving the way their body performs.

They want to get stronger, get faster, get better at a certain sport or activity, or really anything that basically translates into “I want to perform better.”

Granted, there are again various differences between the goals I just described, and there are some adjustments that should be made to your workout routine depending on EXACTLY what your goal is.

But, in the most basic sense, anyone whose primary goal is to somehow improve the way their body performs falls into this same top level category.

Team “Looks” vs Team “Performance”

So, did you figure out which group your fitness goal fits into best? Good.

Now is a good time to mention that there is a lot of overlap between the groups. Meaning, training for performance will ultimately lead to more muscle and/or less fat in most cases. And, training for looks will ultimately lead to increased strength and/or improved performance in most cases.

However, it will NOT be in a way that is most optimal for those goals. It would be more of a side effect.

That’s why the objective here is to set up a workout routine that is as optimal as possible for your primary fitness goal. That needs to be the sole focus even though it may lead to various secondary goals being reached as well.

Meaning, if your goal is “looks” related, you want to only do the things that will maximize those results. If your goal is “performance” related, you want to only do the things that will maximize those results.

As obvious as that seems, there are plenty of idiots out there on the internet trying to tell you that people on Team Looks should be doing things that work best for Team Performance, and vice-versa.

Why? Because they’re either really ignorant, just trying to sell you something, or plain old stupid.

We will avoid that here.

What’s next?

Now that you have your exact fitness goal in mind, you’re ready to start putting together a workout routine that is aimed at reaching your goal as quickly and effectively as possible.

The next step is to figure out what your training experience level is. Meaning, are you a beginner, intermediate or advanced trainee? Let’s find out…

Do You Need A Beginner, Intermediate or Advanced Workout Routine?

(This article is part of a completely free guide to creating the best workout routine possible for your exact goal. It starts here: The Ultimate Weight Training Workout Routine)

How to Set Your Fitness Goals

Many people find that having a firm goal in mind motivates them to move ahead on a project. Goals are most useful when they are specific, realistic, and important to you. Be sure to review your goals regularly as you make progress or your priorities change.

Download and use the Goal-Setting Worksheet to document where you want to be in both the short-and long-term.

STEP 1: Write Down Your Short-Term Goals

Write down at least two of your personal short-term goals. What will you do over the next week or two that will help you make physical activity a regular part of your life? Think about the things you need to get or do to be physically active. For example, you may need to buy appropriate fitness clothes or walking shoes. Make sure your short-term goals will really help you be more active.

If you’re already active, think of short-term goals to increase your level of physical activity. For example, over the next week or two, increase the amount of weight you lift or try a new kind of physical activity. No matter what your starting point, reaching your short-term goals will give you confidence to progress toward your long-term goals.

STEP 2: Write Down Your Long-Term Goals

Write down at least two long-term goals. Focus on where you want to be in 6 months, a year, or 2 years from now. Remember, setting goals will help you make physical activity part of your everyday life, monitor your progress, and celebrate your success.

STEP 3: Revisit Your Goals

A few weeks after you start regular physical activity, you may start to see progress toward your goals. You may feel stronger and more energetic. You may notice that you can do things faster, longer, and more easily.

As you increase your fitness level, you also might find that you need to revisit your goals and make your activities more challenging to see additional results.

You know how it goes — we all start out the year with aspirations to get fit, get healthy, and be our best selves. But when those goals are based on long-term ideas of how we want to look (“lose 10 pounds,” “go down a pants size,” “get abs,”) rather than short-term goals on how we want to feel, those goals fall through in a matter of months, or even weeks, and you feel let down, disappointed, and like a failure.

Break the cycle this year and make fitness goals based on what’s actually good for you, and goals that you’ll actually be able to stick to. When you focus on what your body can do, rather than how your body looks, you’ll start to appreciate it so much more, and want to give it more of what it needs to be its healthiest. If you’re looking for a little extra motivation to get you moving, look no further than Nordstrom. Not only do they have the best selection of activewear and sneakers, but they also have some of the most stylish accessories (think water bottles, wireless headphones, and super chic gym bags).

Replace your fitness goals that are focused on the way you look or the way your pants fit with these 15 resolutions that will make you *actually* stronger and healthier:

1. Try one new workout every month

Keeping the same exact routine when it comes to your fitness is never a good thing. For one, your body gets used to the same workouts, meaning you’ll plateau and won’t continue to get stronger. But also, if you stick to the same exact workout routine, you’ll get bored. Being bored will make you less likely to want to workout, but also you want be enjoying it, and guess what — exercising should be fun.

How to Accomplish It:

  • Always be looking for new opportunities to workout. Check out the classes your gym offers, say yes if your work friend invites you along on her run after work, or if you see a $10 first class deal at a yoga studio, do it.
  • Go for the opposite workout of what you’re used to. If you’re a gym rat who prefers weight training, try a dance class; or if you’re a diehard yogi, try an HIIT workout. Changing up the routine will not only help your body get stronger, but will help you enjoy the process, too.
  • Instead of stocking up on your usual gym uniform, go for more versatile pieces like sturdy leggings, sports bras, or light tanks (rather than gym shorts or cycling shoes that are specific for certain workouts).

2. Stretch more

Stretching is one of the top things we can do to help strengthen our muscles, avoid injuries, and even relieve tension — both physical and mental. And yet, people often don’t stretch enough, and combined with a sedentary lifestyle and tougher workouts, are causing more injuries and muscle strain.

  • Lightly stretch the muscles you worked after every workout. No exceptions!
  • Make stretching and flexibility training a part of your routine. Take a few minutes in the morning to do a few morning stretches to wake you up, and a few minutes at night to help you wind down.
  • Find breaks for stretching throughout the day, like during commercial breaks or once every hour during work.

3. Perfect your form

You could be working out all the time or doing dozens of reps, but if you don’t have the right form, you might not be strengthening as much as you think, or you could actually be injuring yourself. It’s so important you know exactly how to perfect your form (no matter what type of workout it is), so that you can properly protect your body and strengthen your muscles.

  • If you have it, utilize the free personal training session at your gym to have a trainer give you one-on-one attention for perfecting your form.
  • Actually ask your fitness instructor questions, or hang back after class to discuss postures or movements you’re not sure about.
  • Don’t go up in weight or reps until you know that your form won’t be compromised.

4. Get a workout buddy

There’s a reason why a workout buddy holds you accountable — when you make plans with someone else, you’re much less likely to cancel last minute. Plus, when you have a friend who knows your goals, they can help keep you on track and motivate you, maybe better than you can motivate yourself, sometimes.

  • Team up with a coworker to workout before the day starts, make friends with people in your gym/class, or tell a friend you trust your fitness goals and ask for help staying accountable.
  • Instead of your usual coffee date or happy hour drinks to catch up with friends, suggest a barre class or going for a walk.

5. Do something active every week that calms you

Fitness should not be all about working as hard as you can, as much as you can. You have to be just as serious about your rest days as you are about your workout days, and focus on the mental benefits of fitness just as much as the physical. Instead of sticking to intense, heart-pumping, sweat-dripping workouts, add in an activity every week that makes you feel calm.

  • Instead of a 5th day at the gym, go to a calming yoga class at the end of the week, or do your own flow at home. Focus on Savasana more than you focus on the tricep push-ups.
  • If it’s nice outside or you need some fresh air, don’t force yourself into a studio — take a walk instead! Listen to a podcast, put on your comfy shoes, and take some time for yourself.
  • Try out meditation. It’ll quiet your mind while your body rests, too. If you need some help, check out apps like Headspace or HappyNotPerfect.

6. Walk during your commute

You might’ve heard that a healthy person gets 10,000 steps a day, minimum. We are meant to be constantly active, so sitting at a desk all day (as the vast majority of us do from 9am-5pm) is bad for everything from heart health, to muscle strength, to anxiety. Work on replacing any type of commuting or traveling with walking as much as possible.

  • Close out the Uber app and challenge yourself to walk to your destination
  • If you’re going somewhere too far to walk, get off the train a couple stops early, park in a farther garage, or have your Uber drop you off a few blocks away.

7. Remind yourself of your “why” every day

2019 goals often fail (or are forgotten by February) because we forget the “why.” When we’re waking up for an early morning workout or saying no to the office donut, it can be hard to convince ourselves to actually do it because we just don’t want to, for any other reason besides that we’re supposed to.

  • Instead of feeling like you’re supposed to do something, remind yourself why you want to do something. Tell yourself you want to workout before work because it makes you feel better during the day, or you want to say no to the donut because donuts make you feel sluggish and sick.
  • Journal the ways exercising well and eating right makes you feel
  • Tape affirmations, mantras, or your “why” somewhere you’d see it every day to remind yourself.

8. Drink more water

Yes, you probably already know you should be doing this one, but it’s crucially important for achieving your fitness goals that you not only stay hydrated, but also are drinking as much water as possible. Water literally keeps almost every part of your body at peak performance, and that includes your muscles. When you’re even slightly dehydrated, your muscles can’t work as hard, and you’ll be more tempted to overeat.

  • Find the type of water bottle you like the best and buy multiple. This sounds so simple, and yet is the easiest way to trick yourself into drinking more. Do you prefer tumblers with straws, glass bottles, or steel canisters? Figure it out!
  • Set daily goals for yourself that are easy to follow, like “drink three water bottles full of water before lunch” or “after dinner, I’m going to drink two cups before going to bed.”
  • Add fresh ingredients to your water like lemons, mint, cucumbers, ginger, or fruit. Not only will it boost the nutrients, but it will boost the taste too (and feel bougie AF!).
  • Drink a glass of water every single morning before you have a cup of coffee or a bite of food. Sleeping naturally dehydrates us, and our bodies need water before they need anything else (yes, even caffeine).

9. Track your fitness progress

You might think that you’re not a numbers person or aren’t competitive to hit number goals, but when it comes to fitness, trust me — you might be. Having a measurable goal, and actually measuring that goal, is so much easier to stay motivated for. Also being able to track progress along the way (rather than accomplishing one big goal) keeps you motivated to keep going.

  • Try workouts that use heart rate monitors like Orange Theory or Cyclebar to motivate you to beat the stats from your last class or hit goals.
  • Get your own fitness tracker so you can keep track of everything from your heartbeat to your steps (remember how important those 10,000 are?).

10. Get 7-9 hours of sleep

Say it with me now: Sleep. Is. Crucial. For. Your. Fitness. Sleep gives your body time to recover and rebuild muscles, as well as conserve enough energy for you to exert at your next workout. More importantly, not getting enough sleep will cause your body’s stress levels to spike, which holds on to unwanted fat and causes multiple other health complications. Aim for 8-9 hours, but get no less than 7.

  • Go to bed just 5 minutes earlier every night. You won’t even notice the difference but in just a couple weeks (or less), you’ll be sleeping one hour more than you used to.
  • Use apps like Sleep Cycle that monitor your REM cycles so you can check your quality of sleep and track your average time spent asleep.
  • Perfect a nighttime routine that helps you wind you down. Read for 15 minutes, go through a meditation, or have a multi-step skincare routine. You’re less likely to break a routine you enjoy the next time you’re tempted to watch TV until late.

11. Move a little every day

There are hundreds of reasons why it’s important to move at least a little bit every day. Put simply, movement boosts energy, increases mood, regulates digestion, and improves circulation. Rest days are important, but a rest day is not an excuse to lay on the couch and watch TV all day.

  • Walk to work or your evening plans instead of drive, or take a walk around the block in the afternoon.
  • Consider going on a light jog or dancing around your living room (fun and good for you!).
  • Go through a yoga flow or attend a yoga class.
  • Stretch often throughout the day.

12. Schedule workouts in your calendar

If you put a meeting in your calendar, you’re not going to break it right? If you have a scheduled appointment, you plan the rest of your day around it so you can make it work, don’t you? So why can’t the same be said for your workouts? Hold yourself accountable by treating your fitness time as any other meeting or appointment.

  • Schedule workouts in your calendar at the beginning of each week, rather than wake up each morning thinking, “I’ll workout sometime, today.” News flash: you won’t (I know, that was way harsh, but you know it’s true!).
  • Try signing up for workout classes in advance. The cancellation fee itself will be enough to ensure you show up, and the strict start time will make sure you’re not late or push it off.
  • Honor the workout as you would a business meeting (since both belong in your calendar!). Show up on time, plan ahead, and be prepared.

13. Always take the stairs

Remember the importance of getting those steps in? Escalators and elevators are one of those sneaky reasons our step goals seem impossible to reach. You’d be shocked to know how much of a difference something as small as taking the stairs can make. Climbing stairs builds strength, sculpts muscle, and physically counteracts the damage done by sitting in a chair for a long period of time (aka, all of us).

  • This one’s pretty simple — walk up the escalator (if you can) if there’s no option for stairs (like at the airport), and make a concrete commitment to take the stairs instead of the elevator, every time.

14. Aim for balance

Working out way too hard and way too constantly without proper time to rest and recuperate could lead to burn out and unhappiness. Instead of making goals based on how “intense” you want to be or how “hard you want to go,” aim for balance, so you can be as healthy as possible, both physically and mentally. Listen to your body more often than you listen to your workout plan or fitness routine.

  • Do something every single day that you count as “self-care,” whether it’s getting to bed early, reading for 30 minutes, or doing a face mask.
  • Make sure you’re enjoying your health routine. If you’re feeling bored with your workouts, switch it up. If you feel exhausted, take a break and try yoga. Make yourself inventive and interesting food instead of just bland protein and veggies for every meal, and master healthy cooking.
  • Actually listen to your body. Become a master at knowing if you’ve been too lazy and need to get up to exercise in the morning, or if you’ve been running yourself too thin and you need a day to sleep in.

15. Give yourself a compliment or gratitude every day.

By now I don’t need to tell you the importance of self-love and body positivity when it comes to achieving your goals. The more you believe in yourself and love yourself, the more likely you are to achieve your goals, because you’ll be achieving them for the right reasons. Putting yourself down or feeling like you’re not reaching goals fast enough will make you already failed instead of motivating you to work harder.

  • Start a gratitude journal. Write what you’re grateful for about your body — how your thighs are so strong, how you can run so fast, or even just that you’re healthy and alive.
  • Stare in the mirror and give yourself a compliment. Look for the good in yourself, and tell yourself you’re beautiful for a million other reasons besides the way you look. Eventually, you’ll start to believe it.
  • After every workout, make it a habit to silently say thank you to your body for working so hard and bringing you through the workout. Distancing yourself from your body helps you to think of it more kindly and put less pressure on the way your body looks.
  • The only thing keeping you from being the strongest, healthiest version of yourself is your own belief that you’re not already there. Believe in yourself, and there will be no goal you can’t accomplish.

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This post was in partnership with Nordstrom, but all of the opinions within are those of The Everygirl editorial board.

DIY Corner

End of Three Fitness
DIY Corner

~Whether your only gym or your backup gym…you need a gym in your garage.
Scroll below for Over TWENTY free Garage Gym DIY Projects.~

Or scroll down, for FREE DIY Projects!! 🙂

Welcome to the DIY Corner, where we are working on fully equipping your garage gym where you can join the revolution of fitness nonconformity (a.k.a doing fitness different than most).

These days a garage gym is a very viable option with those who have any amount of free time and truly care about their fitness. Whether you are transferring from an actual gym membership to a garage gym, or if you just decided you want to start working out, this is a great place for you to start.

Making your garage your gym is awesome! If you are puzzled on how to start look at the catalog of items that have been built below. I plan on building plenty more and will update you the second I do. You don’t have to build any, or you could build all of this equipment. Just know the equipment you see below is not for show. I have built, and I use, this equipment on a daily basis. However, I cannot be responsible for your craftsmanship.

Put simply. If you build it, it breaks, you get hurt. I am not responsible.

Garage Gym Athlete: Fitness Without the Fluff

As I said, I have built all, and used all, of this equipment for some time. I am the experiment for you. If you have any questions or if something is unclear PLEASE ask. I am always dying for feedback. Whether you are a crossfitter looking to do it all himself/herself, or just a someone who needs an idea to get started on a garage gym – this is a great place to start. I hope you enjoy these project as much as I did, and do!

Garage Gym Items:

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It’s January, it’s the start of a new year. A lot of us use this time to set ourselves new fitness related goals to work towards for the year – our new year’s resolutions.

But a large percentage of us also lose track or give up on these goals pretty quickly. This is often because the goals we set ourselves are quite vague. This article is all about how to set SMART fitness goals, which are goals that are more specific and relevant to you, and therefore you are more likely to stick to and achieve them!

Do you find it hard to reach your goals? Do you have clients who come to you with vague ideas of what they want to achieve but don’t really know how to go about it? Then keep on reading to learn how to create your own SMART fitness goals.

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So, first of all… why SMART goals?

Goal setting. It can be tough and a little confusing if you don’t know where to begin, and it’s not as easy as simply saying “I want abs”, or “I want to be able to run 5k”.

Creating SMART fitness goals is the easiest way to make sure you have attainable goals. Whether you’re looking to set goals for yourself, or you’re a personal trainer helping a client to set some goals to work towards, ensuring you set SMART fitness goals will mean that you have realistic, achievable goals to work towards.

Setting fitness goals is essential in order to progress and improve, and having goals to work towards can help keep you motivated.

SMART goals can be used for any type of goal, career wise, fitness wise, hobby wise. However in this article we are going to focus specifically on how to create SMART fitness goals.

So if you want to know how to make the perfect goal, keep on reading… because in this article we’re going to walk you through how to set SMART fitness goals and ensure that you or your clients have achievable goals that you can start smashing!

What does SMART stand for?

So first off, when we say SMART fitness goals, what do we mean? Well, the SMART acronym stands for:

Below is a brief breakdown of each of the sections:

SMART ACRONYM

SMART – S – SPECIFIC

Your goal needs to be specific. The more specific you are with a goal, the more likely you are to achieve it. If the goal is too vague, how will you really know if you have achieved what you wanted to achieve?

Being specific with what it is you want to accomplish is the difference between “I want to be able to run”, and “I want to be able to run 5k without stopping”.

(Note that this example is not a full SMART fitness goal example as it is still very vague – but keep reading as later on in the article we are going to show you some examples of fitness goals incorporating all elements of the SMART acronym.)

SMART – M – MEASURABLE

Your goal needs to be measurable. This links in with specific – you should include a specific time frame, or specific numbers, whether that be reps or weight in the case of fitness goals. Being able to measure your success is a crucial element to reaching your goals – it can also help motivate you and keep you on track to ensure you stay heading in the right direction to reaching those goals!

SMART – A – ACHIEVABLE

It’s important that your goal is achievable. Make sure that it’s possible to achieve the goal you set yourself, otherwise you may end up disheartened.

Ask yourself – is your goal realistic? Do you have the necessary time and effort to put into achieving your goal? Have you accounted for any additional factors that you may need to consider, such as cost, knowledge, etc?

You should ensure your goal is realistically achievable within the guidelines of each letter of the SMART acronym.

SMART – R – RELEVANT

An important aspect to your goals is to ensure they are relevant. Relevant to you and what you are looking to achieve. If your goals are relevant to you and your lifestyle, you will be more inclined to work towards them, and feel a greater sense of accomplishment once you smash them!

On the other hand, if your goal is not relevant to you and your lifestyle, and what you enjoy, you’re less likely to work towards it and will find it harder to reach – for example, if your goal is something to do with running but you hate running and you have no events coming up that require you to run, such as a 10k or a fun run, then you probably won’t stick to it.

SMART – T – TIME BOUND

You should set a time frame in which you would like to achieve your goal. This commits you to working towards it, and also gives you something to work towards. Without setting a time frame, you could still be looking to achieve that goal in 8 months time or even 2 years down the line.

You need to ensure that you set a realistic time frame – don’t give yourself days but also don’t give yourself too long, otherwise you will likely become complacent and in turn be less likely to reach that goal. If you do have a long term goal, it can be useful to break it down into smaller goals that will add up to help you achieve the overall goal.

If all of this sounds a little confusing, no problem, we’ve got it sorted! Below, we have included some SMART fitness goals examples to help break down exactly what each point means. These examples also show you how to put everything together to create your SMART fitness goal.

SMART FITNESS GOALS EXAMPLES

Each one of your goals – whether for you or your client – needs to include all 5 parts of the SMART acronym.

Here is an example of a SMART fitness goal, followed by a breakdown of each section so that you can see which part of the goal relates to which letter of the acronym.

Let’s imagine that you are helping a client set a SMART fitness goal.

To start with, think about working through each letter of the acronym and coming up with information related to the goal for each letter. For example, for S – Specific, discuss with the client the goal weight that they would like to be able to deadlift. Also think about how many reps the client would like to achieve. Go through each of the letters and once you have the information for each part, put it altogether into a full statement.

Therefore, a good example of the SMART goal you could help to set for the client is the following:

This example is very specific with what it is that the client wants to achieve – deadlifting 90kg. Including the specific weight in the goal too means that the goal is also measurable, as both you and the client will be able to track the client’s progress and once the client can do 5 reps of 90kg deadlifts, you know that the goal has been achieved.

As we know, the A stands for ‘Achievable’ and this goal is achievable for the client. The client already deadlifts and can currently lift 50kg, so we can assume they know the movement and they know the correct form of the exercise.

The client also goes to the gym 3x per week so they already have time carved out to work on their deadlifts and progress towards this goal.

The client wants to improve on their deadlifts and therefore this SMART goal is relevant to them.

T for Time Bound – this example specifies a time frame – the client has 3 months, until the end of April 2019, to achieve this goal. This time frame is not too short so that the goal is unachievable, and it is also not too far away that the client may become unmotivated and become disinterested in working towards it. It is a good amount of time to achieve the goal and also allows a little wiggle room for any minor changes in circumstances/challenges that may arise.

As you can see from the above example, each element of SMART has been covered within the goal statement of “I want to be able to lift 90kg for 5 reps in 3 months time – by the end of April 2019”. This goal provides more information than “I want to deadlift heavier”, and gives the client something to work towards.

Below is another example. This time instead of setting the goal for a client, imagine you want to set a SMART fitness goal for yourself. You have signed up for a 10k charity run taking place in August, and currently you do not do any running training.

Think about each section of a SMART fitness goal. You need to make your goal specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and include a time frame.

Your overall goal is to be able to run the 10k charity run in August. You could set your SMART goal as:

“I want to be able to run 10k in around 70 minutes by my charity run in August.”

This is a good SMART goal, however as August is 7 months away, it can be helpful to create smaller, shorter term goals that will help you work towards your overall goal and keep you motivated throughout the lead up to the event.

Bearing in mind that, for this example, we are assuming that you currently do not do any running training, some examples of this are:

These examples break up your overall goal into smaller, shorter term goals that help you work towards your longer term goal of completing your 10k run in around 70 minutes. Having these smaller goals can help to motivate you throughout the entire 7 month period. Without these, you may be tempted to put off your training for a few months until it becomes closer to the time, which would then mean you would have to work harder to reach your goal, and there is a higher possibility that you would not meet what you want to achieve.

WHY ARE SMART GOALS IMPORTANT?

Setting SMART fitness goals elicits a deep sense of why the goal is so important.

For example, saying “I want to lose weight” is essentially a surface goal, therefore when circumstances change or potential challenges arise, it becomes harder to stick to the goal because there is no deep meaning behind the goal, and no repercussion of not taking action to reach the goal.

In this example, if a challenge were to arise while you were working towards this goal, you could easily stop working to reach the goal and give up because there is no real incentive to continue. You may think “Ah, I’ll start again next month”.

On the other hand, if you were to create a SMART fitness goal around losing weight, for example “I want to lose 5lbs by the end of February this year”, having this in mind means that if the same challenge were to arise, you would be more likely to work to overcome it and continue working towards your goal because you have incentive and motivation to reach your goal within a certain timeframe, ie. by the end of February.

We spoke to Mollie Millington of ptmollie.com, a qualified Personal Trainer. She told us the importance of setting SMART goals for your clients:

SMART goals are very important to help your client have a clear cut goal that they are looking towards. As you discuss how to make it “smart-er” you may get more insight into their motivation and how they perceive success (which can be very important as you design their fitness program). For example, of they view being fit as a 25 minute parkrun, you can tailor your workouts to develop muscles important for running.

SMART goals will also assure your client that working with you is worth every penny. Having the conversation clears up ambiguity of “get fit” and “lose weight”. If your client is looking to drop 2 stone in 2 months for an upcoming holiday, you can discuss safe ways to lose weight and manage their expectations.

THE BENEFITS OF SMART GOALS

Here are some benefits of setting SMART goals:

Sian Ryan, a qualified Personal Trainer and the PT behind sianliftsweights.com, explained to us the benefits of setting SMART fitness goals.

“There are huge benefits to setting SMART goals compared to the standard goals such as ‘I want to lose weight’ or ‘I want to eat healthier’. SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic & Timely; this makes them clearly defined. When goals are clearly defined, you are more motivated to take action towards achieving these goals and it is easier to achieve success. Having a loose goal of ‘I want to eat healthier’ is not specific, it has no call to action, no smaller steps and is so vast that it can seem unachievable.”

ARE THERE ANY DISADVANTAGES?

Of course, everything has an opposite and so where there are advantages, there has also got to be some disadvantages. There’s always a flip side.

In this case, the disadvantages for setting SMART fitness goals are much the same as the disadvantages that come with goal setting in general.

Some of the disadvantages of goal setting include:

Below, we have elaborated on each of these drawbacks, and we’ve also included ways to ensure that you can minimise the risk of these occurring.

Pressure

Having goals to work towards, especially ones with a time frame included, has the potential to make you feel pressured. You may become stressed with the feeling that you must achieve the goal and you must achieve it on time.

A good way to reduce the chance of this happening is to set yourself realistic time deadlines. Don’t give yourself too short a time to achieve your goal, otherwise this will lead to feeling pressured to achieve it on time. Also, remember that you can be flexible with this deadline. Whilst it’s best to stick to the time you set yourself as much as possible to avoid putting off working towards your goal, it’s perfectly okay to adjust the deadline if your circumstances change, or even abandon the goal altogether until your circumstances are back to normal or you are in a position where you can continue to work towards your goal.

A good example of this is in the case of injury. If you have set yourself a goal of wanting to be able to run 5k by the end of February, but then you injure your hamstring, realistically this can prevent you training and working towards reaching 5k by the end of February. Depending on the severity of the injury, you could push your deadline back either by a few weeks or by a few months.

Feeling pressured by your goals is pretty unlikely, but if you start to feel under pressure at any point, take a step back and re-evaluate.

Sense of Failure

When you achieve a goal, you will likely feel a sense of accomplishment, however, if you don’t achieve a goal, you may experience a sense of failure. This feeling of failure could prevent you from setting goals in the future, because you don’t want to experience it again.

A good tip to work around this is if there is a goal you don’t manage to accomplish, you should take some time to assess that goal. You can match it against the SMART criteria. If the goal was not realistic within the time frame you set, or if it wasn’t measurable, then you should rethink your goal and make adjustments based on where you think may benefit.

Furthermore, you should think about the techniques you used to work towards your goal. Perhaps you only dedicated one hour per week to work towards your goal, when in order to achieve it you maybe needed 2 hours per week. Learning from what went wrong and working on it for next time can turn a sense of failure into something more positive.

Knock Your Confidence

This links in with the sense of failure. If you do not achieve one of your goals, it may knock your confidence.

As the saying goes, if at first you don’t succeed, try and try again.

Don’t let it deter you from setting future goals! The same tip given above can also help here: use this as a learning opportunity and turn it into a positive situation. Think about what you can learn from this experience when setting your next goal.

Priority over other things

This one stems from poor goal setting. If your goal is unrealistic and has a really short time frame, there is potential that you may prioritise trying to achieve this goal over other things, or concentrate entirely on this one goal.

The best way to avoid this is to take the time to set your goals properly, because as long as your goal is realistic, you should not encounter this problem. Follow the SMART criteria when creating your goal and you should end up with a goal that is specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time bound.

USING SMART GOALS TO TIME MANAGE YOUR DIARY

As a personal trainer, you can use SMART goals to help you manage your time and your diary.

Working with your clients to help them set SMART goals means you can better plan your sessions with them as you have a clear objective they want to achieve and also a particular time frame in which they would like to achieve it. This means that you can be more productive with your session planning.

Here is an example:

You help your client set the SMART goal:

You can now plan in sessions in your diary with this client up until the end of March, and can create a plan to help the client work on their pull ups to gradually build up to 5.

You would be able to create a loose plan up until the deadline of the end of March, only needing to make minor adjustments after each session based on the client’s progress. For example, say you have an hour session each week with the client, you could start with pull ups with the use of the assisted pull up machine, then progress to the use of a resistance band, working on a slow eccentric phase, and finally progressing on to unassisted pull ups and working up to 5.

You can also use your own goals to better manage your time. At the start of each month you could set some SMART goals based on what you want to achieve for the month. You could also break these down into smaller weekly SMART goals to help you work towards your monthly goals.

Each day you should then identify the top 3 things that you want to prioritise for the day to help you get closer to your goals and work through these 3 things each day as a top priority. This way, every day, you are one step closer to achieving your weekly/monthly goals, and having them in line with the SMART principles means that you are easily able to measure and track your progress while knowing exactly what it is you’re aiming for, and when you’re aiming to achieve it.

APPLYING SMART GOALS TO OTHER AREAS OF LIFE

The great thing about SMART goals is that they don’t just work for fitness related goals, they can work for goals in all other areas of your life too!

Whether you want to set career goals, financial goals, business goals or even just general life goals, applying the SMART principles to each goal can be super useful and incredibly beneficial.

If you have any long term goals in your life, for example a career related goal that you want to achieve within 5 years, think about whether you could break this goal down into smaller, shorter term SMART goals that you could work on to help you achieve your overall goal within 5 years.

This step isn’t essential, but it can help you stay focused and keep you on track, heading in the right direction to achieving your goal.

NON-FITNESS RELATED SMART GOAL EXAMPLES

Below are some examples of SMART goals that are not related to fitness, just to give you an idea of how you can apply each criteria to your goals in other areas of your life.

First we’ll cover a financial goal: let’s say you have booked to go on a self-catering holiday for 2 weeks in Summer, specifically the 3rd August. You have put down a £250 deposit on the holiday, and need to pay off the remaining balance 6 weeks before you are due to go, which is 22nd June. The remaining balance for the holiday (flights and hotel) is £1750.

You could break this up into 2 separate goals.

Your first SMART goal could be:

This is specific: you want to save £1750 (this also means it is measurable). It should be achievable, as you have 5 months to save up the amount. It’s relevant, because you are saving up the money to pay off the holiday that you have already booked. It’s time bound, because you have given a deadline of 20th June.

Secondly, you’re going to need some spending money. You could set another goal in line with the SMART criteria:

Again, this goal is specific and measurable: you want to save £1000 to cover the cost of food, excursions and souvenirs. It’s achievable – you have 6 months to save up the amount. It’s relevant as you are saving the money to spend on the holiday that you have already booked, and it’s time bound as you have set the deadline as 31st July.

Below is an example of an academic SMART goal:

Let’s say you are enrolled on a course and are studying to become a fitness instructor. You have your Anatomy and Physiology exam in 3 weeks and you want to achieve a good mark.

Your SMART goal could be: I want to get a PASS mark on my Anatomy and Physiology exam in 3 weeks time.

This goal is specific and measurable: You want to achieve a PASS mark. Providing you study and revise for your test, it should be achievable! The goal is also relevant as you will need to pass the test to gain your fitness instructor qualification. The test will no doubt be taking place on a certain date at a certain time, and this is your deadline which therefore makes the goal time-bound.

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AND FINALLY…

So there we have it – everything you need to know on SMART fitness goals, complete with how to create a SMART fitness goal (and a SMART goal for any other area of your life!) with examples and scenarios to help you along the way.

What did you think? We’d love to hear some of your SMART fitness goals! Join the discussion on Facebook and Twitter.

Want to begin your fitness journey? Go ahead and , or take a look at our industry-leading PT courses!

3. Monitor your vital statistics and keep them in check

This is in reference to your blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar and resting heart rate. A lot of guys don’t keep these numbers in mind, and it is difficult to monitor all of these on a very consistent basis. However, these vital statistics become especially important as you get older, and it’s in your best interest to make sure your numbers are good now so nothing sneaks up on you some day. “Health and longevity are extremely important and should be everyone’s priority,” says Duffy.

4. Have a consistent approach

Having a set workout routine is integral to optimizing your results and should be one of your main fitness goals. Once you establish a program that works for you, you’ll become more efficient, and making tweaks to your routine shouldn’t be too difficult as you make progress. If you aren’t sure where to begin, know that just showing up to work out is more than half the battle – you can hash out a more specific schedule as you move ahead. “Whether you’re a seasoned athlete or haven’t trained for the last several years, getting into a serious rhythm always makes things more successful than if you constantly start and stop,” Ettinger says.

5. Improve your flexibility and balance

“Many people lose flexibility and balance with age,” Duffy says. “When your flexibility decreases the integrity of your joints are compromised leading to joint injuries, muscle tears, broken bones, etc.” Flexibility and balance aren’t normally at the top of the list for guys as they try to improve their fitness, but it’s something that certainly comes into play as a person ages. Robins notes that this is a tougher goal to attain because it’s hard to quantify, but there are times when your next fitness goal will require a stronger base of flexibility and/or balance than your body can handle. Make sure all parts of your body are on the same page.

6. Improve our immune system

In a lot of ways, this one could be a goal that flanks a lot of your other goals. Part of the reason you work out is to feel better, so naturally, exercise can work to improve your body’s resistance to a number of diseases. Various studies have found that physical activity boosts your immune system, which obviously helps you now, and maybe even more as you get older.

7. Get out of your comfort zone

As important as it is to stick to a certain routine, it’s great to take a stab at something new every once in a while. “Once a month, I try to do something that puts me outside of my comfort zone,” says Robins. “It’s great to try something that you makes you a little suspect or afraid.” This could be any activity you’ve wanted to try, as long as there’s a certain level of exercise involved. This concept could also apply to the exercises you do during your routine if you want a more consistent challenge. Go running more often if you’ve always been a lifter, or vice versa. “Accomplishing something that you’re not already successful at is the best way to challenge yourself,” Ettinger says.

8. Take a proper amount of time to achieve your goals

We all have friends who burn themselves out quickly – going on crazy diets only to go back to eating junk food within a month, or getting to the gym every day for a couple weeks before giving it up. Be reasonable when you set goals. It’s nearly impossible to make a sudden, drastic change in lifestyle that will stick, and it’s pretty much impossible to get noticeably stronger and faster every day. Both of these concepts apply nicely to anyone’s fitness regimen, so bare in mind that any one day’s workout won’t make the big difference – it’s the accumulation of many of them.

9. Make your fitness goals specific, measurable, attainable and time-bound

When setting fitness goals in the short-term, make sure they’re not too ambitious, while having a set timetable along with achievable numbers. “Having something that you can measure and that is a little bit more tangible makes it easier to continue to work towards your end-goal,” Ettinger says. There may always be an overarching goal, but if it’s something that requires a significant change in your body, you’ll need to have a number of bite-size goals along the way. Making goals with the above criteria in mind will help you make progress in a timely manner.

10. Focus more on establishing healthy habits than on results

You’ve probably seen other doing the exercises you want to complete, exhibiting the exact body type you want to achieve. It’s easy to get caught up in results and what’s going on in front of your eyes, but it’s more beneficial to focus on what sort of habits bring about the results you want. “Don’t look at the numbers involved with someone who has achieved what you want to achieve,” Robins says. “Look at the habits that that person goes through. Habits lead to the achievement of other overarching goals.”

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SMARTER Goals Examples: How to Set & Achieve Your Life Goals

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There are two types of goals – long-term goals and short-term goals.

Short term goals need to be very specific. They should follow a SMARTER format.

Long-term goals, can be vaguer. Be aware though that the more specific the goal, the easier it will be to meet.

Table of Contents

What are Long-Term Goals?

I’m going to be honest with you: I’m terrible at long-term planning. The future? I don’t know. I don’t wanna know. I’ll figure that out later. This doesn’t mean I don’t have long-term goals, though.

Some areas of long-term goal planning can be loose or vague. However, most parts should be specific. Long-term goals don’t mean you have to set your life in stone. What they mean is that you can make short-term choices that move you in the direction you think you want to go in. If you change your mind, there’s no real harm done.

Health & fitness is one area of your life that shouldn’t be vague. Why not? Because there’s no end to healthy living. You’ll always be involved in your health. There’s no sitting back and coasting on some kind of health passive income (I wish). When you set a long-term health and fitness goal it needs to be specific because “be healthy” is a shit goal.

For example, I’m focused on performing 12 proper reps of each of the 6 functional exercises. I’m a long way off, but I have no idea how long this will take so there’s no date on my long-term goal. It’s vague enough to allow me to do whatever needs to be done, but specific enough to drive forward short-term goals.

Your short-term goals will be highly results-oriented. This means your long-term goals can focus more on developing healthy habits and behaviors.

SMARTER Goal Setting Template

So you’re in, you’re going to start setting SMARTER goals. But, where do you start? Here’s a template you can use to set SMARTER goals. Fill in as much or as little detail as you need in each column and then work it into the sentence.

Want more information? Learn about SMART Goal Setting.

What Kind of Life Goals Can I Set?

You can set life goals for anything. If it’s going to take you longer than a year, it’s a long term goal and you should break it into several short term goals.

Adventure Travel Goals

Travel somewhere awe-inspiring for an adventure trip. You can start with small fitness goals to get yourself into great health (and shape) to really enjoy the trip.

Long Term Goal Template: I will _{adventure}_ by travelling to _{where}_ in _date/# years_.

Long-Term Goal Example: I will hike Machu Picchu by travelling to Peru in 3 years.

Short Term SMARTER Goals Example:

The Great Bear Rainforest

British Columbia, Canada

The Great Bear Rainforest is an area (about the size of Ireland) of pristine wilderness along Canada’s west coast.

What to do at the Great Bear Rainforest?

  • Kayak part of the 400km of coastline – maybe see some whales.
  • Take guided hikes through the rainforest and see a wide variety of wildlife. If you’re lucky, you’ll spot a Kermode bear (locally known as the Spirit Bear).
  • For the very adventurous, heli-hike to the peak of a mountain.

Want to learn more? Check out the BC Government Website, Outpost Magazine, The Culture Trip or Lonely Planet for more information about planning a trip to the Great Bear Rainforest.

Les Gorges du Verdon

Alpes de Haute Provence, France

Often called the most beautiful river in Europe, the Verdon Gorge is a 25 kilometer long river canyon.

What’s there to do?

  • Hike one of the many trails along the rim
  • Kayaking, Whitewater rafting and more on the river
  • Climb one of over 1500 routes up the walls

Want to learn more? Check out Matador Network, Lonely Planet or Provence Web for more information about planning a trip to the Verdon Gorge.

Mount Everest

Nepal or Tibet

Everest is the worlds tallest mountain. Over 600 people a year reach the summit.

What’s there to do?

  • Climb it!

Want to learn more? Check out Mount Everest, National Geographic, Forbes or the NY Timesfor more information about planning a trip to Everest.

Milford Track

Fiordland National Park, New Zealand

The Milford Track is a 53.5 km (33 mile) walk. It’s known as the finest walk in the world.

What’s there to see?

  • New Zealand’s tallest waterfall
  • Spectacular valleys
  • Breathtaking rivers
  • Glacier-carved fiords

Want to learn more? Check out In a Far Away Land or New Zealand for more information about planning a trip to the Milford Track.

Zambezi River

Africa (Zambia, Angola, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique)

The Zambezi River is the 4th longest river in Africa. It flows through 6 countries (Zambia, Angola, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, and Mozambique).

What’s there to do?

  • See Victoria Falls
  • Water sports (whitewater rafting, kayaking, etc.,)
  • Spot Wildlife

Want to learn more? Check out Viator, Victoria Falls Guide or CNN for more information about planning a trip to the Zambezi River.

Machu Picchu

Cusco, Peru

Machu Picchu is the site of an ancient city located high in the Andes mountains.

What’s there to do?

  • Hike & Explore

Want to learn more? Check out Peru Hop, National Geographic, Lonely Planet, or The Only Peru Guide for more information about planning a trip to Machu Picchu.

Life Goal: Try Something New

Not all life goals are huge – goals don’t have to need a lot of planning or money. Your goal could simply be to try something new.

Long Term Goal Template: I will _{do something}_ by _date/# years_.

Long-Term Goal Example: I will learn to cook French cuisine by learning all 100 of Julia Child’s favorite recipes (as determined by Food Republic) in 30 months.

Short Term SMARTER Goals Example:

More Try Something New Goal Ideas

  • Buy and cook that unknown vegetable.
  • Explore somewhere nearby. Get in your car and drive 30 minutes then just walk around that area for a few hours. Bonus points if instead of driving somewhere you get on a random bus and see where it takes you. Remember to still walk around a new area for a few hours.
  • Try a new sport – this is something you could do every time the seasons change.
  • Take a dance or cooking class
  • Try an extreme sport – bungee jumping, skydiving, etc.,

Challenging Fitness & Health Goals

Some fitness & health goals will take a long time to complete. What one person can do in a few months, might take someone else a year (or better). Here are some challenging fitness goals that could be short or long term, depending on where you’re starting from.

Long Term Goal Template: I will _{do something}_ by _date/# years_.

Long-Term Goal Example: I will be able to complete 12 reps of each functional movement exercise. I will work steadily towards this, but don’t know how long it will/should take.

Short Term SMARTER Goals Example:

Function Fitness – 12 reps each

Functional movements are ones you do regularly as part of life. Exercises that directly help with those movements are referred to as functional exercises. There are 6 different movement patterns we engage in. A goal might be to master 12 reps of an exercise from each movement. Here’s an example of each:

Squatting – Squats

I would almost bet you money that you’ve used the squat movement several times today. Almost, because maybe you’re not out of bed yet, I don’t know you.

Squatting is something we do all the time – fully and partially.

Check out the benefits of squats (and get a 30 day challenge that will make you a squat master).

Lunging – Lunges

Lunges are functional for when we’re out and about and changing directions. Anyone who interacts with kids has definitely done a quick lunge and pivot when chasing one. Even if you don’t have kids (like me) you probably use lunge-movements pretty regularly without realizing.

Check out the benefits of lunges (and why you should be doing different types).

Hinging – Deadlifts

The hinge movement strengthens the muscles in the back of your body (your posterior chain) which includes the glutes, hamstrings and the large muscles of the back.

Check out the benefits of deadlifts (and how to do them properly).

Pushing – Push Ups

I use a pushing movement all the time. It’s a lot of work pushing people away. Oh wait..

Check out the benefits of pushups.

Pulling – Pull Ups

Pushing and pulling go together like yin and yang.

Learn more about the benefits of pull-ups.

Rotating – Russian Twists

Another motion we do all the time: rotating our bodies. We twist to grab things, to see behind us, and in a variety of other situations.

Check out the ultimate ab workout which includes Russian Twists.

Do an Endurance Event

Marathon, Ironman, Spartan, etc.,

You can’t just decide today to do your first endurance event tomorrow. They require training, preparation, steps.

Most people start with a 5 (or 10) k run. Then a half marathon. Then a marathon. With plenty of training time in between each. Then they might move on to another endurance event.

To learn more about endurance events, check out these 10 endurance challenges by Livestrongand this interview with Sean Conway by Red Bull.

Do a 30-meter (100-foot) Walking Handstand

This is one of those goals that you can break up. WOD Prep has a great Handstand Progression – consider each progression to be its own short-term goal.

Develop a Hot Body

I’m talking Brad Pitt in Fight Club for the men, or Angelina Jolie in Tomb Raider for the women.

Even if you’re not particularly attracted to either of them, you have to admit that they’re rocking some sexy bodies.

I wish I looked as good as Tomb Raider Angelina Jolie. And I dream that every man I [email protected]# in the future will look half as good as Fight Club Brad Pitt.

Fantasies? Only one of them. I could work hard using a series of short-term goals to get myself an Angelina Jolie in Tomb Raider body. It would be hard and it wouldn’t happen overnight, but it’s possible.

Do Front and/or Side Splits

I’ll let you in on my secret goal that I never actually work on – I’d love to be able to do front splits. Now I feel like I have to do it. Fack.

Front and/or side splits are a solid goal. They’re like the ultimate sign of flexibility. Most people will have a far, far easier time with one than the other. I can get pretty far into a side split (when I’m doing semi-regular yoga, I can do a side split) but I’m nowhere near a front split. Ever. I’m actually laughing at the idea of it.

This post by Antranik is a great progress journey that ends with a bunch of links to various splits routines. Check it out if you’re interested in trying to accomplish the splits.

More Fitness & Health Goal Examples

There are an endless number of health and fitness goals you could set for yourself. Let’s take a look at a couple additional examples of short-term health and fitness goals you could have.

Goal Area: Weight Loss

If you’re looking to lose weight, the Keto diet is a popular choice. The keto diet is all about carbs – you’ll eat very few of them if you choose this diet. Not sure Keto is for you? Check out a comparison of 13 popular diets.

The Paleo diet is a popular lifestyle choice that’s all about eating as our ancestors did. Most people consider it to be a low-carb diet because you won’t be eating grains. Not sure Paleo is for you? Check out a comparison of 13 popular diets.

Goal Area: Walking

Not all goals are extreme. Maybe you live a very sedentary lifestyle and you need to just walk more. It’s okay to set a walking goal!

Goal Area: Paleo Eating

Paleo is a popular diet and lifestyle. It’s about eating like people did many, many years ago (before the agricultural revolution). Check out this post about the Paleo diet for more information. Not sure if Paleo is for you? Check out a comparison of 13 popular diets.

Call A Friend

What are your life goals? Are you forcing your family to take part? Got a friend to nail it with you? A friend or family member can be helpful because they’ll offer you a support system (and keep you accountable).

Nobody interested in the same goals as you? Let This Bitch (& the community here) be your support system.

Share your goals & update us with how you’re doing in the comments below! We’d love to hear about it.

Achieve the Life You Want

Once you get used to having life goals and achieving them, it’s almost addictive. You feel this huge sense of success whenever you accomplish something. People without goals, miss out on that.

Start setting SMARTER goals. Start getting what you really want.

Example of fitness goals

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