Setting a fitness goal is a simple and effective way motivate yourself into an exercise routine. But what if you find it hard to stick to your goals? What if somewhere along the way you become derailed or unmotivated? Even with the best SMART goals, losing motivation can happen. Here are 6 tips to help you stick to your fitness goals.
The power of writing is so much stronger than you think. Doctor Gail Matthews, psychology professor at the Dominican University in California, confirmed in a study of the art and science of goal setting, that you become 42% more likely to achieve your goals and dreams, simply by writing them down on a regular basis. Without getting too scientific, it’s all to do with the right and left side of your brain and which areas you are tapping into when you think about something compared to when you write something down. When you simply think about a goal, you are engaging the right hemisphere of your brain, which is your creative and imaginative centre. When you write a goal down, you also use the logic-based left hemisphere of your brain, sending that goal into your conscious mind.
We all face hurdles when it comes to health and fitness – lack of time, family commitments, work commitments, laziness, emotional stressors, to name a few. If we let a hurdle grow so high we can’t get over it, it’s going to be difficult to reach a fitness goal. But if we come up with a way to get over the hurdle, it’ll be easier to stay on track. I recently had a client who became overwhelmed with her fitness goals, it became emotionally hard for her and she admitted to becoming lazy. So instead of focusing on her long term goal, we set a short term goal of getting to the gym three times per week, with a plan of the sessions she would complete and she also planned to go at the same time as her son for accountability. We acknowledged the hurdles, didn’t let them get bigger than they should be and came up with a solution to get over them.
If you’re an all or nothing kind of person, this tip is perfect for you! Rather than just focusing on your ‘training days’, plan for your non-training days too and make every day something to focus on. For example, Monday, Wednesday and Friday could be training days, Tuesday and Thursday could be meditation days, Saturday morning you walk to brunch with a friend or go on a bike ride with your kids and Sunday is your food prep and session planning day for the next week.
Nike trainer, Jason Loebig knows all too well how setting a deadline can help you stick to your fitness goals. He says, "you want to be strict about a deadline—doing so creates urgency." With a time frame in place you have an end date for your goal and something to focus on and follow through on. As that date becomes closer your motivation to stick to and achieve your goal should become stronger.
When you reach a milestone or short term goal, celebrate! Now, there’s a small rule to this tip – the reward can’t be something that is going to undo your hard work! Reward ideas include a weekend getaway, a beach day, a mani-pedi, a massage, new fitness clothes or a movie date.
If you’re struggling to stick to your fitness goals, unsure of how to do a specific exercise or would like to try something new at the gym but aren’t sure how, call in the experts and chat to a Personal Trainer. A session with a Personal Trainer can help you find the right exercises for your goals, will ensure correct technique, can be super motivating and most definitely makes you accountable.