Goals! Why are they so important when starting any fitness program? Goals are what helps you stay focused and keeps you on track giving you a benchmark or way point to shoot for. Are you trying to lose weight/body fat, build muscle, or get strong, but you can’t ever attain your goals? Are your goals even obtainable or realistic? Maybe it’s as simple as they are not FUN or Exciting. Open ended and boring goals will set you up for failure right from the beginning. For example for weight/fat loss, setting a goal of losing X number of pounds by X date. Although this information is necessary for tracking your progress, it is a boring goal to work toward. It leaves little incentive for motivation. Setting a number goal is not effective because scale weight fluctuates over time and on your good loss days you’ll be happy but on the days you see little to none or even a positive number, you become discouraged and may eventually quit. All because of a “Number”!? What’s that “Number” going to do for you? What’s it going to prove? That you can reach a number? Sure, it’s great to see the scale drop numbers when you have a lot to let go of, but this doesn’t need to be or shouldn’t be your main focus. Instead try to make a goal that challenges you. Something like, “I want to be able to do 10 pushups correctly by the end of ______”. Or “I want to run a 5k or obstacle run by ______”. Enter a local race and give yourself some time to train hard for a few months. Once you have set a date, you now HAVE to work for it.
I don’t care who you are, if you are just working toward a number on the scale you will almost ALWAYS quit. There is nothing to motivate you. And you might say “Yes there is, I’ll be X number of pounds lighter”. . . . . . Really? That’s really going to keep you motivated to not miss your workouts and to keep your nutrition on track for months? That’s really going to make you push hard through those though days? NO IT WON’T! But knowing you have a race or a challenge coming up in your near future will. When you commit to a goal you are much more likely to work harder to reach it. Having goals that reward you and not just measure you are more motivational. If you get on the scale a few weeks after starting a weight loss program and the scale doesn’t show much movement, think what it’s going to do to your confidence. I’m sure you would lose faith in the program and give up on it. You also have to understand your EXPECTATIONS! If your expectations are too high then you will also discourage yourself. That’s where realistic goals come into play. Saying you want to lose 50 pounds in a month is NOT realistic for the average person. That would be over 10 pounds a week and is not a healthy recommended rate of loss. But we are conditioned to believe this is possible because of Reality TV. I’m here to tell you, Reality TV, lies. Would it be interesting and fun to watch if they worked at realistic rates of 1-2 pounds a week? NO, people would tune out. Ratings would drop. Shows would cancel. That’s because it’s a SHOW! They make it exciting to watch. So this skews your mind on what you expect when you start your program. Put those shows out of your mind. Let’s get back to REAL reality.
If you are signed up for a run, it’s not long till you cross that finish line for the first time. You’ll look back to see and feel what you JUST accomplished. It’s an amazing feeling. Before you know it, you’ll have run your 5th or 6th 5k/obstacle race. You will be focused on working hard and having fun trying to reach your race deadlines that you will forget about the number on the scale. When you FEEL your accomplishments and not just see a digital number changing, you will gain more confidence to keep going. We encourage all our clients not to focus on the scale as it only discourages you the second the number goes up slightly and kills any progress you have made. So next time you try setting goals for yourself, make it something fun and challenging. Commit to it by setting a date or signing up, and then work hard and DO IT! But Please Do yourself a favor and DON'T Let your goal only be a number on the scale!