4 Tips for Setting Fitness Goals for the New Year
Each year as the New Year rolls in I stop to think about where I am in my fitness and health goals and where I’d like to be in the next year.
Though my goals aren’t weight related, they do tend to be physical fitness related. I enjoy running races and participating in events that I haven’t done before; for instance, this year I would love to do a mud run. They seem fun and it’s a goal I believe I could meet. I am also signed up for a half marathon on January 19th and I’d like to do one or two triathlons this summer.
When I make goals, I stick to these four rules for a better chance of meeting them.
I make attainable goals. If you haven’t run a 5K, don’t sign up for a marathon before trying a variety of shorter races. If you want to lose forty pounds, focus on losing it in sets of ten. If you set yourself up for a huge goal that may or may not happen, you’ll likely get frustrated and stop trying altogether. Instead, if your end goal is a large one (run a half marathon or lose forty pounds), break it into smaller chunks. Say, “I’m going to lose ten pounds in the first two to three months.” Or, “I’m going to run a 5K by March and a half marathon by July.” Then…
I celebrate the successes. I have been ‘celebrating’ my longer runs by sitting in the tub after pounding the pavement; this, to me, is motivation enough. I’m going to celebrate the actual race by going to dinner with a friend after and staying overnight near the race so I can celebrate with other runners. If you want to do the half marathon but instead sign up for a 5K, celebrate accomplishing that goal. Make a day of the race: after running, stop by a booth for a massage (yes! Most big races have these!). Go out to lunch. Wear your medal. Celebrate the ten pound weight loss, not just the forty. Buy yourself something you’ve wanted, no matter how small. Take yourself to a movie. These smaller successes will keep you working toward a larger success.
I make fun goals. Too often people dread exercise, health and fitness, and I think it’s because it seems more like a chore than a pleasure. Instead, make it fun! If you want to lose weight, sign up for a subscription to Cooking Light and test out new recipes each month. If you want to lose weight, rather than focus on the weight loss, sign up for a mud run. Running three miles three times a week will accomplish two things: it will help you lose weight AND if the end goal is a fun run, you’ll have something to look forward to during training.
I go social. If you feel you need motivation to hit your goal, join an exercise or weight loss group. Sign up for a fun, healthy cooking class. Check out Dailymile.com, where people training for everything from 5Ks to Ironmans talk about their fitness goals and keep track of their activities. Find people on Twitter who are doing the same thing you are doing – or who are where you want to be- and read their words of encouragement. I use DailyMile and Twitter for these purposes – to connect with others who are interested in fun ways to stay active.