Make your goals from a happy place and you’ll stick with them. Always.

08 Oct 2018
T here’s one day every year when you get to see your fitness goals naked and for what they really are. The big reveal falls on 31 December. When you make new year resolutions. Again. 

Fitness goals are like new year resolutions because they are tricky to keep. Research shows that more than 50 percent of adults will make new year resolutions, but only 10 percent of them successfully keep their resolutions for more than a few months.

You say you have a plan.

But the best-laid plans will only work if you act on them. Your plan, based on your smart fitness goals, makes one big assumption: that you control time and everyone else in your life plays along.

So, it’s okay if you haven’t lost 10 lbs of fat or put on 10 lbs of lean muscle before your beach holiday, as dictated by your time-bound goal.

How to succeed in your fitness goals

The key is consistency. Improvise your workout plan to meet contingencies and you might even find new exercise routines that eventually make your progress smoother, and even more enjoyable.

So, take control of your plan, but be conscious of when to step back and adjust when life shows you another way.

But the one thing you must do is to show up. Trust in your process and be open to the outcome.

And here’s the thing about goals: your best-laid workout plan can only be as good as the goal it’s meant to help you reach. In other words, you need to realise why you’re really doing this.

For example, let’s say we set our workout goals as “deadlift 300 lbs”, “get a six-pack”, or “run that half-marathon” by the end of three months. Because we want to impress him, her, them and ourselves. It’s those that are your real goals, in disguise.

Now let’s assume you’ve already become the lean machine who can do all that.

Do write down your goals. It isn’t just so you have a plan of action; it allows you to see if your goals are coming from a happy place, so that you’ll be genuinely motivated to put that plan into action.

It’s easy (and exhausting) to be immediately motivated by envy or dissatisfaction with ourselves or our lifestyles. But it’s much more fulfilling to be comfortable in our own skin. (It’s the new ‘how to win friends and influence people’.) Because, if you are, you’re able to accept others for themselves, too.

Bear in mind that we can only set goals based on our existing knowledge of what's possible. If we knew better (and not just more of the same thing), we would play the long game to score life goals rather than just make isolated, short-term gains like ‘bigger arms’ or ‘nicer legs’.

Life goals? Being happy! Being alive with the energy to play football with the kids, surprise your partner and even make time to reconnect with friends.

Life goals are what psychologists term ‘intrinsic motivation’. How you get there is the subject of another whole article, but here’s the bullet-point version:

  • Try different things and find an activity you enjoy.

  • Participate in designing your own fitness plan if you have a personal gym trainer. What you actively learn becomes part of you.

  • Master the basic moves, always, for a strong fitness foundation, before adding new exercises.

  • Don’t try to “crush” your workout goals. “Go big or go home”? Not true. When you “go big”, you go to “Accident and Emergency”. One step at a time leads to small victories and real wins.

  • Track your progress. A gym trainer can help. Find out how a personal gym trainer can help you.

  • That post-workout, post-shower feeling. If that’s a high you enjoy now, imagine feeling relaxed yet energetic all the time.

As you discover more about yourself, you can pivot your exercise plan to optimise your workouts. Goals are how we learn what works for us, and what doesn’t.

Decide what you really want, then score the fitness goals that make your life meaningful.