I know many people set fitness goals this time of year and many have also given up on setting goals because they’ve learnt from experience that new year’s resolutions just don’t work. It’s true that they rarely work but that doesn’t mean that making resolutions or setting goals is the problem; it isn’t. The problem is the way we set goals that pretty much sets us up for failure. The good news is that this can be easily fixed!
Here’s how to set goals so that you will succeed:
1. Change your goal
Forget performance-related goals (e.g. run a 5k) and make enjoying exercise (while you exercise, not just after) your main focus. This means being mindful & tuning in with your body to make sure you exercise at an intensity that feels good. Your new motto is ‘if it doesn’t feel good I’m doing it wrong’. When you enjoy it, you won’t want to give it up!
2. Set your bar lower
Do not aim to exercise every day! 2 to 3 times a week is enough to begin with. Taking on too much too soon is the main cause of failure. In the beginning, anything you do is good, even once a week, so celebrate every step you take and make ‘something is better than nothing’ your motto. When you learn to enjoy it, after a few months or weeks, you will naturally want to exercise more often!
3. Allow yourself to be a beginner
If you’re unfit, even extremely unfit, accept it and start there, one step at a time, at a pace that feels good (see point 1). It is what it is. Again, trying to do too much too soon always leads to failure. Forget what used to be or what should be or could be. You cannot change what is by wishing it away but you can start again, one step at a time. Slow and steady wins the race is your motto here!
That’s it. I promise you, if you follow these three simple tips you will succeed. You might stumble a few times but with this mindset, it’s far easier to pick yourself up and get going again because you always make peace with where you are and start there.