Fitness goals don’t have to feel like an uphill battle – the approach you take to your progress can make all the difference.
As big a part of my life as the IT world is, it’s not the only thing I think about. I also happen to be an avid fitness enthusiast! I believe exercise and wellness are big parts of leading a happy, healthy, and successful life, and I’d like to pass that on to you.
In this series, I’ll share simple and effective tips and insight for leading a healthier life. Keep these in mind, and you’ll be surprised by how soon you feel a difference!
This week I’ll be sharing a few thoughts on the importance of setting your own personal fitness goals, rather than constantly comparing your progress to someone else.
With so many structured workouts floating around out in the fitness world today, it’s easy to fall under the impression that every single person who takes part in a specific workout regime will see the same results. While that may be mostly true in the long run, expecting yourself to keep pace with another person along the way is only going to set you up for a lot of frustration and disappointment.
Everyone has their own unique body chemistry and genetic makeup, factors that have a big impact on everything from your metabolism to the way your body reacts to stress and strain. You may share a body type with some of the folks you hit the gym or attended classes with, but the effect of your workout routine will look a little different in each of you.
That’s what makes setting personal fitness goals so critical. You can all have the same end goal in mind, but it’s the smaller goals along the way that will make the biggest difference and keep pushing your progress forward. Making sure you are setting realistic goals and not setting yourself up to fail is just as important.
If your end goal is to lose weight, settle on a specific number you want to see on the scale rather than a generic goal. From there, set a small weekly goal to strive for. If you want to start training for a marathon, set a monthly distance goal that you want to be able to hit as you work your way up to a full marathon or half-marathon distance.
Whatever your end goal is, the key is to go into your fitness endeavor with the mindset that you’re only human – you can accomplish a lot if you put your mind to it, but you need to remember to be kind to yourself along the way. Beating yourself up over every little setback or shortcoming won’t get you any closer to your goal. In fact, that’s a great way to find yourself giving up on your goal completely.
A great way to meet those smaller goals and keep yourself on track is to find a more specific way of measuring your progress. For someone trying to lose weight, you might find checking your measurements instead of your weight will give you a more accurate picture of where you’re at. Muscle weighs more than fat, which can cause your bathroom scale to give you a result that looks more negative than it actually is. Go ahead and check your weight, but be sure to break out the tape measure at the same time to get a better read on your progress.
Keeping a fitness journal to record your little milestones is a great way to keep yourself motivated, too. Make a note of the day you had to punch an extra hole in your belt or realized your jeans are officially a size too big, or the fact that you took the stairs instead of the elevator and managed to stroll into the office without being winded. You can also write down new foods or recipes you tried that ended up being really good to use as the basis for more changes to your diet going forward.
Any little thing that makes you feel good about the choices you have been making and the work you have been putting in are worth keeping a record of. Positive improvements are positive improvements, even if they happen to be things only you can feel or see. Celebrate your small wins and watch them lead you to the big wins, and before you know it you’ll be crossing that metaphorical – or maybe literal! – finish line. And all because you focused on yourself and your personal goals instead of trying to meet someone else’s.