Setting and Sticking to Sustainable Goals

The holiday season has come and gone and you’re left feeling slightly plumper in jeans that we difficult to button.  As you curl up on your sofa to watch TV, you start to fantasize about all the healthy things you’re going to do once the clock strikes 12 on January 1st. You tell yourself, “This year will be different. I’ll focus on eating clean and the gym will be my new best friend.”

While promising yourself that you’ll make healthy choices is a step in the right direction, setting expectations too high could mean setting yourself up for failure and disappointment.

Set realistic goals

Goals and goal-setting can make or break an individual’s progress in fitness. They can serve as either great motivation, or be complete motivational killer. Here are some tips to help you set realistic goals to ensure you reach them and feel fantastic:

  1. Make sure that the goals you set are specific. Setting clear goals will help with understanding the task at hand, measure results and ensure success.
  2. Set realistic and attainable goals. The goal should be difficult and challenging enough to prove motivating, but not so challenging that it’s impossible to achieve. Setting unhealthy and realistic goals can prove as a real motivation killer because you’ll feel down on yourself when you don’t see progress or don’t reach your goal.
  3. Focus on small, daily goals. Working towards a big goal like losing weight or gaining muscle takes time and dedication. To stay motivated while working towards that larger goal, set reasonable daily goals that will be easy to achieve. Some examples include completing one workout, drinking eight glasses of water, biking to work or cooking a healthy breakfast. When setting goals — even daily ones — it’s important to set a time to get this goal accomplished. If your goal is to bike to work, say you’ll bike three times before the week ends. Or, if your goal is to drink eight glasses of water, commit to doing so before dinner time.
  4. Plan ahead. By planning ahead you’re able to stay in control and committed to reaching your goal. Plan your workouts for the week on a Sunday night or do some meal prep when you’re cooking dinner during the week.
  5. Be kind to yourself. You committed to becoming a healthier version of yourself — be proud! Celebrate all of your successes — big and small — on the journey to reaching your goal.
  6. Don’t compare yourself to others. Comparing yourself to others — in any aspect of your life — only sets you up for failure. You will never be the same as someone else… and that’s a good thing! Eat foods to feel energized and exercise to feel fit and strong.
  7. Remember that 8fit is a lifestyle and not a short-term faddy diet. It takes time to build new healthy habits. Staying consistent and not giving up will lead to amazing results.

Set SMART goals

  • S is for specific: The more specific are, the easier it will be to clearly see what it is you need to accomplish. Often, answering the five “W” questions — who, what, where, why and which — can help you achieve greater specificity.
  • M is for measurable: Can your goal be measured? How will you know when you’ve achieved your goal?
  • A is for attainable: Another way of putting this is “realistic.” Is it possible to achieve the goal you’ve set for yourself?
  • R is for relevant: A relevant goal in fitness means that it has the potential to impact your weight loss, strength, flexibility or cardiopulmonary health.
  • T is for time-bound: Give your goal a deadline.

Always remember why you started this and where you want to get to — anything that is worth having is worth sticking with. You’re in control and you get out what you put in. Enjoy the process and enjoy the feeling of your body getting fitter and stronger, as you get healthier.