How to Set Goals (& Achieve Them)
Even though the Highmark Walk moved into a fully virtual walk, that doesn’t mean we have to stop planning for physical activity! While many of us are spending a lot more time inside lately, getting in some exercise (and maybe sunshine!) is actually really good for us. And setting goals for ourselves will definitely help motivate and excite us as we make our way to May.
In the last article, we talked about how easy it can be to fit activity into our lives. But if we want to see results from the changes we make to our lifestyles, we need to plan and set goals for what we want to see and when we want to see it.
Why should I set goals for physical activity?
Think of goal-setting as a way to focus your efforts to create meaningful change in your usual routine. Goals give us incentive; a reason to aim high. But a lot of us end up setting goals for the wrong reasons or that are too lofty and otherwise unrealistic.
So how can we make better goals that will actually leave us not only with results, but also positive feelings along the way?
Make them yours!
If you’ve been spending your free time scrolling through Instagram posts from influencers on the latest fitness fad, let me stop you there. What they’re doing to achieve their appearance or general well-being might work just fine for them, but that’s not likely going to be the case for you.
Your goals need to be yours. They need to motivate and excite you, whatever they may be.
How do you know if you’ve reached your goal if you don’t have any way to measure your progress? When we’re specific with our goals, we can more easily determine if we’re meeting them or surpassing them.
Saying, for example, that you want to “be healthy” is a great start, but it doesn’t exactly illustrate what that means or what that will look like. Is being healthy losing weight? Feeling energized? Building an exercise routine? You can take these ideas and further break them down, helping you to see the steps you’ll need to take to get to your main goal.
Make them attainable
Falling short of reaching your goal can be demoralizing, so you want your goals to actually be within your reach. Shooting for the moon may be tempting, but it’ll be much better for your motivation and success in the long run to keep the bar low--well, at least at first.
Making your goals attainable simply means that it’ll be relatively easy for you to reach them. Meeting smaller goals along the way will make you feel more confident in yourself, and you’ll be able to set more challenging ones. In the end, little successes along the way will make you feel good about your physical fitness journey, and you’ll want to stick with it.
Focus on one at a time
Don’t look too far into the future when you’re tackling your goals. While you may want to try and kill two birds with one stone, focusing on one goal at a time will better set you up for success.
If you have too many things on your plate at once, it’s easy to get anxious and miss a step. When that happens, we can end up feeling like failures which may lower our chances of meeting any of our goals. Channel your efforts into crushing just one goal before moving onto the next one. Your motivation will thank you later.
Celebrate your successes, even if they don’t seem like much
The most important part about setting goals for physical fitness is to give credit where it’s due and celebrate the progress you make. Meeting even the smallest goals will give you the motivation you need to incorporate more activity into your lifestyle for good.
Speaking of motivation, did you know physical activity can have amazing effects on our mental health? Stay tuned for the next article where I’ll tell you all about the great mental wellness benefits of exercise.