Your Fitness Goal Setting Guide

Fitness goal setting could be one reason why one person looks fit and healthy and the other battles constantly with their weight or lacks self-confidence.

When I work with clients, fitness goal setting is one of the most rewarding goals to achieve - because you can see and feel the difference. Being fit opens up a new horizon of opportunities for you.

fitness goal setting

Here we provide you with a five step guide to achieving your fitness goals.

  1. Practice 'no limit' thinking to develop a clear vision
  2. Write down goals and clarify your long-term fitness goals
  3. Develop an action plan to achieve your long-term goals
  4. Develop short-term fitness goals
  5. Create a fitness goal setting plan for short-term goals

1. Practice no-limit thinking

Imagine yourself in great physical health and fitness 3 years from now. How do you look and feel? What would be your ideal weight?

How much exercise would you do each week?

Use these goal setting activities to paint a vision of the overall health that you would like to have.

2. Set long-term fitness goals

Your 'no limit' thinking has allowed you to dream big and create a vision of your ideal physical fitness and overall health.

What changes can you start to make to your diet and your exercise plans to move you in the direction of your ideal health and fitness?

Download this fitness goals setting worksheet (PDF file).

Step 1: On the goal setting form write down your values that underpin this goal. This is an essential goal setting strategy that provides long-term motivation.

Step 2: Write down you long-term fitness goal.

Step 3: Set SMART goals for your fitness success. That means that you need to make them specific, measurable, action-based, realistic, and time-bound.

For example lets say you set the goal of:

  • "I want to lose weight." This is a general goal, and can be made more specific such as "I want to lose 10 pounds in the next 2 months."
  • "I want to get healthier" could be rephrased with a more specific goal such as, "I will walk for 30 minutes, three times a week".

According to theory, the advantage of a specific goal is that it gives you something clear to aim for and is easily measurable.

3. What actions support your fitness goal setting?

Now that you have a vision and a long-term goal diet or fitness goal, it is time to develop a set of actions that support your fitness goals.

This worksheet highlights the importance of supporting actions which are your bridge between today's dream and tomorrow's reality.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What can I do that moves me towards my long-term fitness goal?
  • Do I need to exercise more? If motivation is lacking can I boost my motivation (e.g. I have clients who hire a personal trainer or make an appointment with a friend for a morning walk.) Some people like to use inspirational goal setting quotes or motivational posters.
  • Do you need to manage your time better? Does work and family crowd out your fitness goals?
  • What can you do that ensures that you make time for exercise?
  • What can you do to eat a more balanced diet? Rather than eat take-away can you get up 5 minutes earlier to prepare your lunch?

The answer to these questions (and I am sure you can think of many more!) forms the basis for setting your short-term fitness goals - the building blocks to long-term fitness success.

Write those actions in the goal setting form that you downloaded.

4. Write down your short-term fitness goals

Fitness goals are rewarding to achieve. Whether your goal is to attain an ideal weight, to become healthier, or just to fit into last year's jeans, it is important to prioritize your goals in terms of importance.

Any goal setting plan requires that you break your overall goals into a set of actions. Each of the actions that you have written down on the goal setting form are the basis of your short-term goals.

This set of actions is systematic from the beginning to the end. These goal setting templates may clarify your short-term fitness goals.

5. Your fitness goal setting plan

Each short-term fitness goal has clear actions that support it. What resources do you require to support each of your actions? Do you need new skills, more time, and/or resources such as money?

Are there any obstacles that you may face when working on your fitness goals? Are there ways that you can boost motivation when the going gets tough in your fitness goal setting?

Write down the resources or potential obstacles that you may face in this setting fitness goals plan (PDF file).

As an example, see my short-term goal setting plan (PDF file) for lecturing at university.

These goal setting forms are useful to your fitness goal setting.

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