Setting goals in fitness is not as much about your physical condition as it is about your mental determination. When we set and visualize a goal, our energy is high and our motivation is bursting. However, over time, trials of everyday life and work-related stress often diminish that overzealousness, and we end up exercising even less that we used to. But why does this happen, and how can we prevent it?

How do we define goals?

Your goal shouldn’t be chasing a number on the scale. Instead, think about the first time you catch someone looking away because they were checking you out. Think about carrying grocery bags 5 blocks back to your place without breaking sweat. Instead of pursuing physical values such as weight, BMI, or how much you can curl, focus on regaining confidence and feeling better about yourself. Don’t try to ‘import’ someone else’s goals, but ask yourself what is important to you. That is the reason why cookie-cutter programs don’t always work – rather than committing to make a goal their own, people follow someone’s idea of being fit, completely disregarding the role of their own lifestyle.

Keep success flexible

Even though you’re encouraged to make your goal specific, it’s also important to let yourself modify it as your transformation progresses. A goals that once seemed considerably challenging often turns to be near impossible to maintain, or other way round. The definition of success needn’t be rigid, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong in moving the goal markers as your physical abilities improve. For example, if your goal has been to run the infamous 6-minute mile after two months starting from zero, after a month and a half, you’ll see if you need to make it three.

Wear adequate clothing

In most cases, the concept of goal can be broken into smaller stages, while the regular progression can become the goal itself. For example, short distance running goals can be achieved by simply by building your fitness over time. However, in order to follow the progression, you need to be adequately equipped. Fitness clothes made of cotton are highly unsuitable for any type of intensive training, as once they get wet, they stay wet. Fitness clothes made of cotton are highly unsuitable for any type of intensive training, as once they get wet, they stay wet. On the other hand, clothes made of technical fabric with synthetic wicking material, such as various types of thighs with mild compression, provide a comfortable fit all day long.

Use micro goals as rewards

As a part of pursuing your main goal, you should fit in smaller goals for the sole purpose of reward and building confidence. If we take the 6-minute mile as an example, as you’re struggling to reach it, make a smaller goal, like doing a half-mile run under three minutes. These micro goals both show you where you are, and tell you what have you accomplished. In general, it’s best to set micro goals that can be achieved every two to three weeks. That amount of time is just perfect for you to estimate if your main goal is realistic, and whether you need to make some adjustments.

Meet with a personal trainer once a week

Even if you used to be an accomplished athlete back in the day, lots of things have changed in sports science and workout techniques since you’ve been in high school. Instead of trying to catch up with the same old workout, hire a personal trainer for once a week sessions. He or she can estimate your strengths and weaknesses and prepare an exercise programme that ensures maximum progress from your current state.

Finally, perhaps the most important component of setting realistic goals is rewarding yourself with every milestone you reach. It’s still, however, important to maintain the goals flexible, as well as to divide the macro goal into several smaller ones which are easier to manage.

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