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How to Set Realistic Fitness Goals You Can Achieve

Published May 06, 2019
Ben Kissam

Written By: Ben Kissam, BS

Ben has a B.S. in Movement and Sports Science and over 7 years Certified Personal Training Experience.

how-to-set-realistic-fitness-goals-you-can-achieve
<script type="application/ld+json"> { "@type":"BlogPosting", "headline":"How to Set Realistic Fitness Goals You Can Achieve", "datePublished":"May 06, 2019", "description":"There are 7 keys to setting and achieving your fitness goals. Without them, you might lose motivation and give up.", "image": "https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/media/public/2019/05/setting-realistic-fitness-goals-0158.jpg" }, } ] } </script> <article> <div> <ul> <li><a href="#section1">What Is a Fitness Goal?</a></li> <li><a href="#section2">What Are S.M.A.R.T. Goals?</a></li> <li><a href="#section3">What’s a Good S.M.A.R.T. Fitness Goal Example?</a></li> <li><a href="#section4">Other Keys to Achieving Fitness Goals</a></li> <li><a href="#section5">Now, Write Your Own SMART Fitness Goals</a></li> </ul> </div> <section> <p align="justify">Setting and achieving fitness goals can be an exciting process. Thinking about what your body will look like, how toned your muscles will be, or how much your fitness will improve is a motivating thing.</p> <p align="justify">But what’s not motivating—and not fun— is setting goals and <i>not</i> achieving them. </p> <p align="justify">Unfortunately, this is what happens to a lot of people. The reason most people fail to achieve their fitness goals is because they aren’t clear on what they want to achieve or how they’ll achieve it. They haven’t accurately assessed where they are now and which habits will need to change. </p> <p align="justify">And that’s why they fail.</p> <p align="justify">This article is the antidote to goal failure. We’ll teach you everything you need to know about fitness goals, how to set accurate, measurable fitness goals, and offer two keys that make achieving your goals much easier.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section id="section1"> <script type="application/ld+json">{"@context":"https://schema.org","@type":"FAQPage","mainEntity":[{"@type":"Question","name":"What Is a Fitness Goal?","acceptedAnswer":{"@type":"Answer","text":"A fitness goal is a personal milestone you wish to reach related to your health or fitness. Losing weight, achieving a set number of push-ups, or gaining the ability to walk or run a 5k race in a certain time are all examples of fitness goals."}}]}</script> <h2>What Is a Fitness Goal?</h2> <p align="justify">A fitness goal is a personal milestone you wish to reach related to your health or fitness. Losing weight, achieving a set number of push-ups, or gaining the ability to walk or run a 5k race in a certain time are all examples of fitness goals.</p> <p align="justify">Good fitness goals are connected to a desired change you can measure. Saying your goal is to workout four times per week is a good start, but it’s not a good fitness goal. And here’s why:</p> <p align="justify"><ul> <li>It doesn’t say how long each workout will be.</li> <li>It doesn’t say what type of exercise you’ll be doing or which exercise program you’ll follow.</li> <li>It doesn’t answer the most important question, which is: “Why?” <i>Why are you setting a goal to workout four times per week?</i></li> </ul></p> <p align="justify">The most common fitness goals involve <a href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/best-cardio-to-lose-fat" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer" title="losing body fat">losing body fat</a>, adding muscle, getting stronger, or achieving a performance goal (more on this later).</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section id="section2"> <script type="application/ld+json">{"@context":"https://schema.org","@type":"FAQPage","mainEntity":[{"@type":"Question","name":"What Are S.M.A.R.T. Goals?","acceptedAnswer":{"@type":"Answer","text":"A SMART goal is a popular format for setting and achieving goals. The acronym ‘SMART’ stands for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-based."}}]}</script> <h2>What Are S.M.A.R.T. Goals?</h2> <p align="justify">A SMART goal is a popular format for setting and achieving goals. The acronym ‘SMART’ stands for <i>specific, measurable, achievable, relevant</i>, and <i>time-based</i>.</p> <p align="justify">Here’s why each of these is essential for setting and achieving your fitness goals:</p> <h3>1. Specific</h3> <p align="justify">Your goals need to be specific so you know what you’re aiming for. Saying that you want to “lose weight” doesn’t specify how much weight or what healthy habits you’ll adopt into your daily lifestyle to help you achieve the goal. </p> <p align="justify">The more specific your goal is, the easier it is to align your daily habits in that direction.</p> <p align="justify">Ask yourself these questions to help you get more specific about your outcomes:</p> <p align="justify"><ul> <li><i>What</i> do you want to accomplish (weight loss, strength gains, a performance goal, etc.)?</li> <li><i>Why</i> do you want to accomplish this fitness goal (what’s your <a href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/3-simple-tips-for-workout-motivation" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer" title="motivation">motivation</a>)?</li> <li><i>How</i> might you achieve the goal (what type of exercise or <a href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/diet/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer" title="nutritional habits">nutritional habits</a> will you adopt)?</li> </ul></p> <p align="justify">Instead of saying, “I want to lose weight,” you might say, “I want to lose forty pounds by <a href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/diet/keto-101-a-beginners-guide/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer" title="eating healthier">eating healthier</a> and exercising three times a week <a href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer" title="from home">from home</a>.”</p> <p align="justify">Like a car driving around with no GPS on, you can’t reach your end destination if you don’t know what it is. The more specific your goal is, the more likely you are to reach it.</p> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/colored-measuring-tapes-0158.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/colored-measuring-tapes-0158.jp2" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/colored-measuring-tapes-0158.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/colored-measuring-tapes-LR-0158.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="measuring-tapes"> </picture> <h3>2. Measurable</h3> <p align="justify">An old saying goes, “What can be measured can be managed.” Applying this to your fitness goals, you shouldn’t only know where you want to go, but where you are <i>right now</i>. </p> <p align="justify">How far away are you from achieving your goals, and what changes must be made? How much weight will you lose? How many push-ups can you do now, and how many will you be able to do later?</p> <p align="justify">Measuring your fitness goals tells you where you are <i>and</i> how far you need to go to accomplish your goals.</p> <h3>3. Achievable</h3> <p align="justify">It’s important to set goals that <a href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/3-simple-tips-for-workout-motivation" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer" title="motivate you">motivate you</a>, and to do that, you might think dreaming big is the answer. It’s not. </p> <p align="justify">Your fitness goals—whether adding muscle and strength or <a href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/best-cardio-to-lose-fat" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer" title="losing body fat">losing body fat</a>—must be <i>attainable</i> and <i>realistic</i>. The motivation you need to be successful comes from believing you’re capable of achieving the goal you’ve set.</p> <p align="justify">This can be tricky for some people. They ask questions like, <i>“Why bother if my goals aren’t big?”</i> or, <i>“How am I supposed to get excited about my goals if they aren’t exciting?”</i></p> <p align="justify">The answer is balance. Make your goals exciting but still reasonable. Do this by considering real parameters like time, finances, and resources. </p> <p align="justify">You probably can’t lose one hundred pounds in three months, but with hard work, you can lose fifty pounds in a year. That goal is exciting <i>and</i> achievable.</p> <h3>4. Relevant</h3> <p align="justify">Relevant goals go back to an important truth about achieving goals and adopting a healthy lifestyle: <i>your “why”</i> or the underlying reason you do the things you do.</p> <p align="justify">Good SMART fitness goals matter to you and align with your other goals. Consider why you want to lose the weight. Is there a class reunion coming up, and you want to stick it to old classmates by looking good? There’s nothing wrong with that. But if you don’t actually care about what people from high school think, it’s not a relevant motivator. </p> <p align="justify">Instead, what if your motivation is to be healthy and able-bodied enough to play with your children or grandchildren? Is that goal more relevant to you than impressing people you went to high school with? That’s up to you.</p> <p align="justify">There is no wrong answer to the relevancy of your goals. But the more connected they are to what you really want in life, the better.</p> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/calendar-up-close-0158.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/calendar-up-close-0158.jp2" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/calendar-up-close-0158.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/calendar-up-close-LR-0158.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="calendar"> </picture> <h3>5. Time-Based</h3> <p align="justify">Achievable goals always have an end date. Saying you want to “lose thirty pounds” without an end date is like saying “I want to graduate college” but not deciding how long it’ll take you to finish. If you go in deciding it’ll take four years to graduate, you’ll likely finish in four.</p> <p align="justify">A time-based goal has a specific date in mind. Whether that’s a date (December 31), month (June), or quarter (Q3 of 2019) is up to you. </p> <p align="justify">To us, the more specific it is, the better. Knowing that you have 101 days <i>exactly</i> to achieve your goals is much more powerful than “about 100 to 150 days.” Every day counts when you know exactly how many there are.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section id="section3"> <script type="application/ld+json">{"@context":"https://schema.org","@type":"FAQPage","mainEntity":[{"@type":"Question","name":"What’s a Good S.M.A.R.T. Fitness Goal Example?","acceptedAnswer":{"@type":"Answer","text":"Now that you understand the SMART acronym, let’s look at two good fitness goals that use the model.\n\nWeight Loss SMART Goal Example\n\nBy May 1, 2020, I will lose fifty pounds of body fat (scale weight: 215 pounds) by following the 14-Day Diet plan and using Warrior Made’s at-home 30-minute workouts three times per week.\n\nI will lose fifty pounds to improve my quality of life so that I can spend more time being active with my grandchildren without getting tired.\n\nThis goal answers all the questions: what, when, why, and how. It even answers where—in your living room!\n\nPerformance SMART Goal\n\nBy August 31, 2019 (120 days from now), I will be able to walk and run a 5-kilometer race in under 35 minutes.\n\nI will walk and run this 5k race to give myself a motivating challenge to work towards as I lose weight and regain my health.\n\nPerformance goals are for people who want to do something with their body transformations. Maybe you set one to motivate you after you lose some weight, but they’re just as powerful as any weight loss goal."}}]}</script> <h2>What’s a Good S.M.A.R.T. Fitness Goal Example?</h2> <p align="justify">Now that you understand the SMART acronym, let’s look at two good fitness goals that use the model.</p> <h3>Weight Loss SMART Goal Example</h3> <p align="justify"><i>By May 1, 2020, I will lose fifty pounds of body fat (scale weight: 215 pounds) by following the <a href="https://www.warriormade.com/keto/14-day-diet-upgrade/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer" title="14-Day Diet">14-Day Diet</a> plan and using Warrior Made’s <a href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer" title="at-home 30-minute workouts">at-home 30-minute workouts</a> three times per week. </p> <p align="justify">I will lose fifty pounds to improve my quality of life so that I can spend more time being active with my grandchildren without getting tired.</i></p> <p align="justify">This goal answers all the questions: <i>what, when, why,</i> and <i>how</i>. It even answers <i>where</i>—in your living room!</p> <h3>Performance SMART Goal</h3> <p align="justify"><i>By August 31, 2019 (120 days from now), I will be able to walk and run a 5-kilometer race in under 35 minutes. </p> <p align="justify">I will walk and run this 5k race to give myself a motivating challenge to work towards as I lose weight and regain my health.</i></p> <p align="justify">Performance goals are for people who want to do something with their body transformations. Maybe you set one to motivate you after you lose some weight, but they’re just as powerful as any weight loss goal.</p> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/scale-with-hearts-as-numbers-0158.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/scale-with-hearts-as-numbers-0158.jp2" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/scale-with-hearts-as-numbers-0158.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/scale-with-hearts-as-numbers-LR-0158.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="scale-with-hearts"> </picture> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section id="section4"> <h2>Other Keys to Achieving Fitness Goals</h2> <p align="justify">Besides the SMART goals model, these two keys are important for achieving your fitness goals.</p> <h3>1. Surround Yourself With a Tribe</h3> <p align="justify">There’s strength in numbers. Surrounding yourself with like-minded people makes getting fit and healthy much easier. Even if others’ goals are different than yours, surrounding yourself with other people helps you cut out a lot of guesswork and <a href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/3-simple-tips-for-workout-motivation" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer" title="rediscover motivation">rediscover motivation</a> if it dips or wanes.</p> <p align="justify"><a href="https://www.warriormade.com/introduction/warrior-made-tribe/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer" title="Our tribe">Our tribe</a> of coaches and members make the journey much more enjoyable!</p> <h3>2. Focus on Habits, Not Results</h3> <p align="justify">Again, it’s very exciting to think about losing weight, gaining strength, or having a nice body. But you’re much more likely to reach those outcomes if you focus on daily habits, not the glory of one day getting there.</p> <p align="justify">This is why we preach that health and fitness is a lifestyle. Every day, there are small things you can do like eating healthy and doing simple workouts. Over time, your <a href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/greatest-morning-exercise-routine" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer" title="daily routine">daily routine</a> and habits compound into the results you’re looking for.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section id="section5"> <h2>Now, Write Your Own SMART Fitness Goals</h2> <p align="justify">Take five minutes to write one or two SMART fitness goals for yourself. Do you want to <a href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/best-cardio-to-lose-fat" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer" title="lose fat">lose fat</a>? Add muscle? Transform your health or body? And what are you connecting your goal to—what’s your <i>why</i>? Make sure your goals follow all five components of a SMART goal. </p> <p align="justify">Once you’re done, share your fitness goals with us so our community and coaches can keep you accountable and help you reach your goals by the <i>exact</i> day you want to.</p> <p align="justify">Join the <a href="https://www.warriormade.com/introduction/warrior-made-tribe/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer" title="Warrior Made">Warrior Made</a> community and start working towards a total body transformation.</p> </section> </article>

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