Setting Realistic Fitness Goals

Getting in shape is hard – and sometimes our own expectations are the most difficult thing to overcome. Let’s face it: while there are things we’d all like to change about ourselves, if we’re going to make a real difference, we need to be realistic and set attainable goals. It’s hard enough dealing with society’s expectations of us without psyching ourselves out.

Here’s the truth: if you set unattainable goals, you’re only setting yourself up for failure.

If you hate the gym and can’t stand the constant sound of feet hitting treadmill tracks, then maybe working out four times a week is not the best goal to set for yourself. If you can’t stand vegetables, you probably shouldn’t start adding kale to everything you eat.

You can attain your desired results, but you have to take realistic steps to help you get there. Here are a few tips and tricks that will help you set attainable fitness goals and set yourself up for success.

  1. Decide what your motivation will be.

So you want to lose weight. That’s wonderful, but before you start, ask yourself why you’re looking to make a change. Do you want to rock a new bikini this summer, or is your main goal to get in better shape so you can run a 5k? Before you can start setting your goals, you have to know what your endgame is. Consider your time frame and whether you can realistically meet that goal in time.

  1. You’ve got your inspiration. Now get planning!

You’re ready to start planning your next steps toward your goal. Now, sit down with a piece of paper and write down three mini goals that will help you reach the main one. For example, if you’re just trying to be healthier all-around, your mini goals could be to eat healthy, go for regular walks, and try to exercise at least a few times a week. If you want to train for a marathon, your goals could be to beat your best time or run more often for practice. Brainstorm a few strategies that will prepare you to meet your end goal.

  1. Be realistic.

  2. This is especially important if your goal is to shed a few pounds. It is impossible to lose 40 pounds in one month. Your results will not come overnight, but if you stick to it, you’ll reach your goals in due time. Nothing is worse than those “miracle diets” that claim they’ll help you shrink 6 sizes in two weeks. Not only is that totally unhealthy, but it’s almost guaranteed that you will gain the weight back. A healthy recommendation is to lose about 1 pound per week. This way, you can lose the weight gradually without putting your health at risk. It will take longer to see results, but it is all worth it once you realize that the weight will stay off!

  3. Get some friends to help you out.

Your friends are your best asset. Text a few of your girlfriends and set up a workout schedule. If you all make plans to hit the gym together, you’ll feel accountable to show up. And the best part is that you’ll have someone to talk to while you sweat it out on the elliptical.

  1. Give yourself a break.

If you’re finding it difficult to stay on track, give yourself a day off! Nobody is perfect, and we can’t be 100% healthy at all times. Feel free to allot yourself one cheat day a week, or to skip the gym and have a movie night with your friends instead.

We tend to put a lot of pressure on ourselves, especially when it comes to our weight. Just remember – you’re doing this for yourself, so if you’re miserable, it isn’t going to turn out in your favor. Just keep your head up and remember to have fun and take care of yourself.