How many of us have set fitness resolutions in a wave of New Year’s optimism and motivation, only to find ourselves quickly returning to old habits by March? Whether it’s more plates on the barbell or fewer plates of protein brownies, it sometimes feels like resolutions were made to be broken, especially when life gets in the way.
But setting fitness goals can be one of your most essential training accessories in 2021. Fitness goals make your workouts more focused, keep you motivated and can make it easier to track your progress. Without them, you can find yourself aimlessly drifting through a series of generic, half-hearted, paint-by-numbers workouts. Make those resolutions a reality with our guide to setting fitness goals you'll actually stick to.
WHAT IS A FITNESS GOAL?
Put simply, a fitness goal is a challenge or target you set for yourself. It’s realistic and achievable within a certain timeframe, and it’s relevant to your own training habits and fitness level.
HOW FITNESS GOALS HELP YOU FLOURISH
You want to squat three plates and sculpt your core, but how can fitness goals help you get there? Setting a fitness goal will power your progress by giving everything you do direction, both in and beyond the gym. Not only will your workouts be more specific towards your goal, but outside of the gym you’ll start to focus on doing things that will benefit your goal. If you have a clear ambition to get a comp-ready physique, then you’ll be far more inclined to meal prep and hit those weekly sweat sessions, rather than be content with skipping cardio and double cheeseburgers.
Fitness goals are also trackable. Having a clear goal means you can measure your performance with tangible results, giving a sense of purpose to your workouts as you watch your strength improve and the scales move. Plus, there’s nothing better than the euphoria and fulfillment that comes with hitting one of your fitness goals you’ve been grinding towards.
DIFFERENT TYPES OF FITNESS GOALS
THE NEXT LEVEL GOAL
The Next Level goal is your destination. It’s clearly defined, and it’s achievable, but also challenging. It’s the outcome that you want your other fitness goals to lead to.
THE PB GOAL
The PB Goal is something specific, and easily measurable. It’s something you can quantify, but also something that you continually reevaluate or refine on your journey, whether it’s a number on the scale or a bench press 1RM.
THE EVERYDAY GRIND GOAL
The everyday grind goal is about the things you do everyday to reach your PB goals. Whether it’s hitting your macros or training at 5AM every morning, your everyday grind goal is something you can work on and measure daily.
THE HEALTHIER HABITS GOAL
Fitness goals can become all-consuming. Your Healthier Habits goal is about balancing your dedication towards your fitness goals with your physical and mental health. It’s about avoiding instant gratification and problematic behaviours, and instead about creating sustainable, healthy habits that make your fitness goals fulfilling, rather than fatiguing.
Here’s how these goals might work together
NEXT LEVEL GOAL: Get a photoshoot-ready body
PB GOAL: 17% body fat | Maintain squat and deadlift 1RM
EVERYDAY GRIND GOAL: Eat 4-5 nutritious, healthy meals daily
HEALTHY HABITS GOAL: Don’t let the scale define my self-worth
TIPS FOR FITNESS GOAL SETTING
MAKE THEM ACHIEVABLE
Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither was a bikini body. You need your goals to be ambitious and challenging, but not too out of reach that you become unmotivated. Your goal should be your own goal, something that personally inspires and motivates you, rather than a goal based on what someone else is doing or what you’ve seen on Instagram. It’s also important to understand what’s driving your goal. Some goals are driven by underlying fears, anxieties or body image issues, and it’s important to address these issues rather than assuming reaching your goal will solve them.
MAKE THEM CLEAR
Set your fitness goals in HD and make them crystal clear. Your goal should never be too ambiguous or general. Instead of using buzzwords like skinny, weight loss or muscle gain, think about the small details. What numbers do you want to lift, is there a specific comp you want to reach a certain body fat percentage for? Visualise how the goal will feel, whether you’re on the stage, pushing through the final rep of that squat or doing that photoshoot full of body-positivity and confidence. We’re far more motivated by feelings than thoughts.
PUSH THROUGH ROUGH BEGINNINGS
Before embarking on your fitness goals, it’s important to accept that you’re going to slip up and make mistakes. You’ll plateau, you’ll feel weak, you’ll cheat on your diet. But just like one good training session doesn’t define a lifter, one bad meal won’t wreck your progress.
SHARE YOUR JOURNEY
While it might be daunting, sharing your goals and creating a support system can be one of the most effective ways of making sure you’re successful. From your family to your gym buddy, think about the people in your life who can encourage, motivate and hold you accountable. Then recruit them whenever you’re in need of inspiration!