What is your fitness goal? With the new year coming, maybe it is losing a few of those extra pounds so you can look good when it’s ok again to go to the beach. That could be a great short-term goal, and definitely one you would want to attain, but what is your end-state fitness-wise in the long term and how are you going to get there?
Regardless of your goal, you need a path to the other end – an action plan that takes you from where you are now to your goal – written down on paper and posted where you can see it. Remember, goals have to be both realistic and attainable. Losing 50 pounds before summer is not either, however losing 10 pounds by the same time is both realistic and attainable.
Also, goals have to be specific if you expect to achieve success. A goal of losing weight isn’t specific enough; losing 50 pounds by Labor Day is better because it has a specified amount of weight to lose and an ending date.
However, losing 1 ½ pounds per week for a total of 50 pounds by Labor Day is better yet as it also includes a short-term goal along the way to keep you on track. And 1 ½ pounds per week is not as daunting as 50 pounds. Short-term goals keep you focused; without them in our example, you could find yourself needing to lose a lot of weight in a short amount of time towards the end to reach your goal.
Also, achieving several short term goals along the way provides the motivation to continue. Each week’s 1 ½ pound loss is a building block for the next week. The time and commitment invested to reach each week’s goal, further seats your investment of time and energy to achieving the end-state.
And achieving a short-term goal of a 1 ½ pound loss each week sets you up for the longer goal of keeping that weight off. For example, it takes about 30 days to establish a habit (or break an old one). If your method to weight loss was eating healthy, by the time you get to your goal your new style of eating is an established part of your new healthy lifestyle. Once it becomes a habit, it is much harder to break and go back to your old way of eating.
And that is the real benefit of the long-term goal of getting fit – it becoming part of a larger goal of achieving a healthy lifestyle. Once you attain this goal, your next one for example may be doing a 5KM marathon. Each long-term goal supports the overall goal – living a healthy lifestyle.