Set a Goal

Susan Dawson-Cook and Judy Gillies - 2009 La Jolla Roughwater SwimEvery January 1, most of us write up a list of resolutions, follow them for awhile and then return to  our familiar and often not-so-healthy living patterns. But a dead end doesn’t have to be a forgone conclusion for your 2010 goals. By establishing goals that are realistic, measurable and time-specific, you can set yourself up for success rather than failure.

Realistic fitness goals are ones that can be achieved without causing bodily harm. It is important to embark on exercise programs conservatively, starting out easy and gradually increasing intensity and duration. And if weight loss is on your agenda, make sure you plan to lose no more than one to two pounds per week and set realistic goals  for your body type.

Establishing measurable, time-specific goals greatly increases your possibilities for success. Countless individuals have approached me during an initial personal training session saying they want to “lose weight” and “get stronger.” These goals are so non-specific, they don’t motivate participant or  trainer. When no one knows where the client is going to end up, it is as if the client and trainer are wandering through a forest without a compass.

Before you meet with a trainer or start an exercise program, write down a list of specific goals. Below are some examples of basic measurable goals.

1 –  “I want to lose 25 pounds by my daughter’s June 15th wedding and to be strong enough to clean my house without feeling achy and tired the next day.” 

2 – “I want to lose 6 inches off my waist by the end of May so I can fit into my favorite bathing suit.”

3 – “Within the next three months, I want to improve my flexibility so I can reach items on the higher shelves in my kitchen and get up and down off the floor with more ease.” 

4 – “I want to do a strength and aerobic training program that will prepare me for my hike into the Grand Canyon this May.”

 5 – “I’m planning to compete in a triathlon in October  and want to start a training program that will help me prepare.”

6 – “I want to exercise enough that I can become less dependent on medications to regulate my (fill in the blank – blood pressure, blood sugar levels, moods).”

7 – “I’m always getting injured whenever I (golf, play softball, racquetball, tennis). I need a program which will adequately prepare me for the demands of my sport.” 

 Once these basic goals are established, write down what you will do on a daily, weekly and monthly basis to work toward your long-term goal so you can stay motivated along the way. A trainer can help you accomplish these objectives in an effective and safe manner. Establishing realistic, measurable goals is the secret to success, the way to transform your “I sure wish” dreams into a sure thing.

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