Achieving your fitness goals is not something that you can approach without purpose or a plan. Like anything else in life, if the effort is not there, the results will not happen, at least not to the degree you want.
As we approach the end of 2020, so many of us are processing what has been an extremely intense year in a multitude of ways. While warranted and needed, planning our fitness goals for 2021 also needs to be a priority.
Being intentional in our fitness goal setting for 2021 is different than in years past, given the potential flexibility, we will need with our workouts to address the ever-changing status of our gyms.
Regardless of whether or not your gym is open, your comfort level in going to the gym for a myriad of reasons, as well as the practicality of getting to the gym, your fitness goals are completely attainable even from home.
Why are you going to work out in 2021? The beauty in working out is that all of us have a different reason for showing up. All of those reasons are valid because they are important to YOU and your overall health and well being.
If your reason is that you want to fit into those skinny jeans in your drawer without laying on your bed to zip up the zipper and constantly suck in your tummy, you want more energy, you want to sleep better, look better naked, to just START working out or just get stronger, all of those reasons matter and are important.
The planning comes with the practicality of HOW you are going to make that work in your life.
Write down your goal. The big, seemingly lofty goal write it down. Where do you want to be this time next year with your workouts?
Once it is written down, we work on the practical and incremental steps to attain it. Remember we have a whole year to get there, so this achievement is not going to be something that occurs overnight.
Breaking down the big goal into smaller, incremental steps will help you see progress without getting overwhelmed with the HUGE endpoint.
It will also help you track your progress in a more quantifiable way. Being able to track your progress will help you know what you need to adjust depending on life circumstances.
Step One: Establish your quarterly, monthly, and weekly fitness goals.
If your goal is dependent on an actual quantifiable value, like weight loss, increasing the number of times per week you are working out, or even increasing your gains on strength workouts, your goals per period are much easier to establish.
You would just take your end number and divide it down until you know what you need to be aiming for each quarter, month, and week.
However, if your goal is more of a non-scalable victory (think energy gain) you might have to get more creative with how you are tracking that progress.
For instance, maybe you keep track of how much caffeine you need in that afternoon slump period in correlation with your workouts. Or maybe you use your iWatch to monitor your sleeping habits and see how your workouts are impacting the quality of your sleep.
There is nothing more discouraging than establishing a goal that given life circumstances would not have been realistic.
Step Two: Track your progress.
Regardless of how quantifiable your goal for the year is, you have to keep track of it. Our days can be so jam-packed with activities and often so chaotic that we can forget about the little things that happen.
Writing down your progress does not mean that you have to write a thesis daily about how achieving your goal is going. A quick sentence, or a short note will suffice for making sure that you are tracking everything appropriately.
Trainer tip: if your goal is gains on a workout, be it for endurance or strength, use the same workout monthly to track how you are improving.
Here’s a workout you can use for endurance:
- 5 minutes
- 5 burpees
- 10 jump squats
- 15 jumping jacks
If you are looking for strength gains, aim for a weight you can do 2-3 reps on for at least 5 sets. Then aim to increase your reps to 5.
Once you are at 5×5, drop the reps back to 2-3 and add on a round. Repeat that pattern until you can do 10 reps on 10 rounds. Increase your weight and repeat the same pattern until you have achieved your goal weight.
Step Three: Adjust your plan accordingly.
Part of the purpose of tracking your progress is to evaluate if what you are implementing is working (or not). Again, being intentional with your fitness goals and your fitness plan also means changing things up when what you are doing is not working.
If you hit a plateau or you feel like you are burning out with what you are currently doing, then it is time to make a change so you can be successful.
Make note of those things when you make note of your progress so when you are evaluating how you are doing, you are mindful of the circumstances surrounding your development.
Trainer Tip: have an accountability partner.
Your tribe would not be your tribe if they did not support and encourage you. Let them know what you are setting out to accomplish and implore their help to hold you accountable to your goal.
Even if you confide in just one person, having one person in your corner to help push you along the way can make all the difference in the world.
In the course of all of this, remember to check your nutrition. The hard truth is that your fitness goals will be that much more difficult to achieve if you are not being mindful of what you eat.
This means having balance in your nutritional plan, making sure that the majority of the time you are eating high-quality food that is good for you and supports the physical efforts you are making.
After all, we are not taking time out of our chaotic schedules and away from our families to NOT see results, so we need to be cognizant of what we are consuming as well.
Time goes by quickly but a year is a long time. Life can throw curveballs your way and things will happen in the year that you did not intend on happening.
Remember to be patient with yourself and give yourself the gift of grace when it comes to achieving your goal.
We have to adapt around obstacles, as we will surely be given more challenging times than others, but the key is to not quit. Even during those hard weeks, stay focused on your end goal, be accommodating to what life throws your way, and you will still reach that goal.