Exercise – Set yourself goals

If you are unsure how to best achieve your particular fitness goals, ask an expert. For example, see your doctor, visit your local gym or sporting clubs, hire a personal trainer, or participate in our 6 Week Challenge. For more practical & useful ideas on physical activity download our e-book today!

Set small, specific mini-goals – You are more likely to reach your ultimate goal if you break it down into small and specific mini-goals. Suggestions include:

  • Set a reasonable time frame. For example, if you want to lose 20kg, then a realistic weight loss of 1kg of body fat per week means that you need to allow yourself around 20 weeks.
  • Consider your exercise routines as mini-goals. For example, one mini-goal might be to exercise on all or most days of the week.
  • Mini-goals should be set for every week or every fortnight. The more mini-goals you achieve, the more motivated you will become.

Monitor your progress regularly – make your mini goals measureable. Decide how you are going to monitor your progress & record every detail in a training diary. Suggestions include;

  • Measure your progress in concrete ways. For example, if you weight train, write down the weight and repetitions for each exercise. If you are exercising to lose weight, keep track of your weight loss.
  • Choose appropriate ways to measure your progress. For example, bathroom scales don’t distinguish between muscle and fat. It may be better to take your measurements with a tape measure.
  • Write down your progress at set intervals such as once a week.
  • Find as many different ways to monitor your progress as you can. For example, if you are exercising to lose weight, you might like to record your exercise sessions, daily diet and weekly measurements. Include incidental achievements like feeling more energetic or fitting into a smaller pair of jeans. Give yourself plenty of ways to succeed.
  • Celebrate your progress.

Adapt to changing circumstances – Life can interrupt your training schedule. Think about ways to cope with interruptions, for example, you may not be able to exercise in your usual way when on holidays, but you can always walk or use the hotel fitness facilities.

  • If you get injured or ill, don’t abandon your fitness goals. Instead, adjust your ultimate goal’s time frame. Come up with micro-goals to keep you on track while you recover. For example, you may be too ill to exercise, but you can improve your diet. Write down these micro-goals in your training diary to keep up your motivation.
  • You may find that you achieve your fitness goal earlier than expected. Go ahead and set another goal.
  • If your fitness goal seems beyond you, set your sights a little lower and stay motivated.

Don’t be too hard on yourself – Sometimes, you may find that your fitness goal is too ambitious. For example, maybe you are losing 0.5kg a week instead of 1kg. Suggestions include:

  • The first few months of a new exercise program are always the most challenging. Adjust your short-term goals, persist and have faith that things will get easier with time.
  • Celebrate your achievements, no matter how small. Making a commitment to a healthier lifestyle is a tremendous achievement, even if your fitness goal is a little harder to reach than you first thought. Flip back to the start of your training diary and appreciate how far you’ve come.
  • Have a secondary fitness goal in mind. For example, if your ultimate goal is to lose 20kg, a loss of 15kg may be your secondary goal. Achieving this secondary goal is still a great success.
  • Don’t give up. You’re worth the effort.

& Remember

  • Break down your ultimate/long term fitness goal into small, specific and achievable mini-goals.
  • Keep a training diary to monitor your progress.
  • Always see your doctor for a medical check-up before embarking on any new fitness program, particularly if you are over 40 years, overweight, haven’t exercised in a long time or suffer from a chronic medical condition.