Workout Goal setting is a very underestimated yet valuable skill set. When used properly, it can propel you forward toward your ideal fitness level.
Many people will make a health and fitness-related New Year resolution, however, they often lack the formal implementation of goal setting to help plan and organize what it will take to get there.
Goal Setting To Achieve Amazing Results
In this article, we will uncover the secrets to harnessing the power of strong fitness goals, no pun intended. By the end of this read, you should have a clear idea of how to implement goal-setting into your workout routine and achieve higher levels of success than you could have ever expected.
There are no quick fixes but the following strategies are easy to implement once you understand a few principles.
Let’s get started:
1. Make It Personal
First, we begin with the end in mind. The desired outcome needs to be clearly defined and personal. Simply stating your goal is to be stronger isn’t good enough and will rarely lead to what you truly desire.
You need to be clear with yourself as to why you are embarking on this arduous journey in the first place.
Start by asking yourself a couple of tough questions about your intentions. for example:
- Why do you want to be stronger?
- When did you realize you wanted to be stronger?
- What were you doing when you last felt weak?
Don’t be afraid to be hard on yourself to get the answers you need. You’ll thank yourself later.
Perhaps you want to get stronger because your kids are growing quickly and you want to be able to continue to pick them up, play with them, and keep up with their active lifestyles.
Maybe you want to be stronger because a muscular build will give you the confidence you need to go after that promotion at work or ask out that special someone on a date.
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2. Establish a Baseline
Next, once you’ve understood what your motivators are, you will need to establish a baseline. This will quantify your current fitness level.
Depending on what you are trying to achieve, you will want to collect some information about your current status. For example, you may want to know:
- Resting heart rate
- Blood pressure
- Endurance (i.e. how long can you hold a plank)
- Strength (i.e. the max weight you can biceps curl)
- The average number of steps in a day
Another beneficial baseline test is the Functional Movement Screen, which evaluates your body’s ability to perform active movements properly.
These tests are typically performed by physiotherapists, kinesiologists, or athletic therapists. During this test, the assessor scores your ability to properly perform movements such as an overhead squat, in-line lunge, active straight leg raise, and more.
You will achieve a better score if you avoid using compensatory movements or abnormal movement patterns.
3. Let’s Make A Deal
At this point, you know where you’re going and where you are now. You can now start documenting your goals and engage in a contractual agreement with yourself to ensure you deliver the results.
You will be responsible for holding yourself accountable, especially if you put it in writing. This would be a great time to invest in a fitness diary so you can make note of your exercise goal and track your progress.
You’ll want to make sure your workout goal-setting follow the SMART format (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound).
Adding specificity to your goal will help make sure you are focusing your energy on what you are trying to accomplish.
Be sure to add as many details as you can. Instead of saying “get stronger”, you might say “get stronger legs so I can squat 100 lbs at least 10 times…”
There should be a clear and simple way to quantify your progress along the way. In the last example, you know that not only are you trying to get to 100 lbs but also need to be able to do it 10 times to be successful.
You also know that when you perform this exercise, you will have an idea if you are approaching your goal, remaining status quo, or regressing.
To keep yourself motivated throughout the journey, you need to make sure the goals you set are realistic and there is a moderate to a high likelihood you will be able to achieve it if you put in the work.
You should not confuse this with making easy goals. You should feel like your goals are challenging enough that you will need to exert yourself to get there.
A goal of squatting 1000 lbs isn’t a good one if you are currently unable to properly squat your body weight. Make sure your workout goal is realistic and can be done without incurring any workout injury!
The fitness goal you select should be relevant and in line with the primary motivator you already identified. Squatting and lifting make sense if your goal is to pick up your kids.
You need to give yourself enough time to realistically achieve your goal and you can’t just leave it open-ended. When you add the pressure of a deadline, it will hold you accountable for putting in all the work that needs to be done to achieve your outcome.
For instance, if you think it will take you 6 months to squat 100 lbs a total of 10 times, you should hope to at least be halfway there by 3 months.
By the end of this process, your goal might look something like this:
In 6 months, my goal is to be able to squat 100 lbs at least 10 times while utilizing proper form for each repetition.
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4. Necessary Steps to Achieve Your Workout Goal
Once you’ve written down your SMART workout goal, you need to take this even further and identify the actions or steps you need to take (no pun intended if your goal is walking).
For this part, you should use time frames to help guide you. The following questions can help the process along.
- What do I need to do today to bring me closer to my fitness goal? (I.e. join a gym, schedule a Functional Movement Screen, and collect my baseline information)
- What do I need to do this week to bring me closer to my goal? (I.e. go to the gym 3 times and focus on strengthening quads, glutes, and implementing a good stretching routine)
- What do I need to do this month to bring me closer to my workout goal?
You get the idea. Make sure you write out as many of the actions you can think of and use this list as a recipe.
The road to better fitness isn’t a straight shot on the autobahn; it’s more of a rocky drive on a winding back road.
Overall, with perseverance, dedication, and sticking to the plan, you will get there and you will be proud of yourself.
While you’re on this journey, feel free to invite some friends to join and keep you motivated but don’t let your success depend on them being there every step of the way. Their primary motivators may very well differ from your own.
It can also be very helpful to enlist the help of a health and wellness professional to help you get on track.
To help find the healthiest version of you, visit http://www.myphysiosays.com
Sam Desroches is a registered physiotherapist, practicing for the last 11 years in an outpatient rehabilitation clinic. His expertise includes functional movement assessments and active based rehabilitation. Sam writes on the MyPhysioSays.com blog about a variety of wellness topics, including therapeutic exercises, and pain management.