Tell me if this sounds familiar: This year, I’m going to go to the gym and lose weight! If this sounds like your New Year’s resolution every single year, then you’re reading the right blog. Every year, I meet tons of new gym-goers who are so excited to start exercising and getting on track with their health. Unfortunately, somewhere along the way, they lose the spark that brought them into the gym and suddenly, I don’t see them anymore. So what happens? Most of the time, I see that people set the bar too high and when their goals aren’t met they become discouraged, they start picking up their bad habits again, and they give up. Here are 3 fool-proof ways to set really good goals and keep the New Year spark burning all year long.
1. Use the SMART Method
The SMART principle ensures that all of your bases are covered when setting your goals by taking out all the guess work. Here’s what the acronym stands for:
Specific: If your goal is to “lose weight” think about the actual amount of weight you want to lose. Five pounds? 100 pounds? Whatever it is, narrow it down to one specific number.
Measurable: It’s been said that you can’t manage what you can’t measure. If you want to “start going to the gym” how many days a week does that look like for you? If you are on a weight-loss journey, how many pounds a week are you looking to lose? A good idea is to track your progress. There are so many apps out there that help you keep track or stick to good ol’ pen and paper!
Attainable: Be REALISTIC with yourself. Crushing smaller goals can help you feel more encouraged and motivated to keep going. If you plan on coming into the gym 5 days per week, but you work a full-time job, have a family with kids, do most of the cooking in the evening, and clean on the weekends, that might be too big of a goal. Start smaller! Try coming 2 days per week until you find a good routine, then you can add more as you go.
Relevant: Simply put, there is just no point in setting a goal of bench pressing 500 pounds if that is not relevant for YOU! Sure, we can benefit from being strong, but if your strength doesn’t serve you a purpose in your everyday life, then you’re not reaping the benefits of the work you put in. Maybe losing weight is relevant for you because you want to play longer with your children without getting tired. Real life situations can help you transfer your goals to outside of the gym.
Time-bound: Is this goal something you’re going to work on for 2 weeks? Probably not. But you want to have a deadline to look forward to, otherwise there’s no accountability. Putting a realistic deadline to your goals can help you stay on track and give you something to look forward to during your health journey!
Now, let’s put this all together and see what a good goal looks like when we follow this principle: I will lose 20lbs by going to the gym 2 days per week and strength training. I will follow this routine for 10 weeks and track my calories and exercises with an app that sets me up to lose 2lbs per week.
2. Build a Strong Support System
Surrounding yourself with people who support you in your journey to better health is a great way to help you stay on track. Invite family members, friends, or partners to hold you accountable to your choices. Having a friend to go to the gym with you can help get rid of any “gym-timidation” and build your consistency. Training with a fitness professional allows you to have a clear program to follow so that you don’t have to do any guesswork– your job is to simply show up to the session and try your best!
3. Keep Your Reminders Visible
Having a physical copy of your goals somewhere accessible to you can really help you imprint your mission into your mind. Putting a sticky note on your mirror or a daily reminder on your phone will create changes in your neuropathways which lead to permanent behavior changes.
No matter what your goal is, you DO have the power to not only meet, but exceed them! Setting clear, concise goals allows you to see exactly what you want to achieve. Even though it might be scary to invite others into your health journey, having a strong support group will encourage you to keep trying your best every day to make these healthy changes and crush your goals. It’s been proven that repetition helps us to remember things so, keep reminding yourself of what your goals are. Leave yourself notes of encouragement to stay motivated all year long.