Goal setting and progress tracking
If your health and fitness is an important part of your life, as so many of us claim it is, we should be aiming to improve the way we feel, look and move each year. Sure, it all gets harder with every passing year, but it’s not impossible. There are plenty of examples of people in their 40s, 50s and 60s who are as fit and healthy now as they have ever been. They may not have the potential to run as fast as they once could, or jump as high as they once did, but they are looking after themselves better than ever and reaping the rewards.
Why do we need to set training goals?
Goal setting (of both short and long terms goals) is important as it not only helps keep you motivated and gets you out of bed on those cold winter mornings, goals also give you direction and a purpose for your training.
Goal setting also has the ability to spur us on further. By setting short term, achievable goals we will be further encouraged and motivated as we achieve each small milestone. If you have a particular long term goal that you want to achieve, use this as your inspiration and break it down into smaller more achievable targets.
When setting goals it is important to ensure they are “SMART”.
SPECIFIC: Set precise goals. “I want to lose weight” or “I want to be fitter” is too vague. Add in some concrete numbers you would like to achieve from which we can develop a measurable action-plan. E.g. I want to drop 1 pants/dress size.
MEASURABLE: Make sure your goal has a defined end point, so you can see the finish line and know when you have completed it. “I want to fit into last years jeans by December 1st”.
ACHIEVABLE: Goals should be challenging and provide you with something to work towards. However, going from habitual couch potato to elite athlete overnight is highly unlikely. Make your goals challenging – not impossible!
RELEVANT: Your goals should be something YOU want to achieve, not necessarily what your friends/family are training for.
TIMELY: Give yourself a time frame for each goal. This allows you track your progress throughout and provides you the opportunity to break a large goal into smaller more achievable targets.
Remember not to get too hung up on what the scales say. Muscle weighs more than fat. As you train and build muscle, you may well drop 1 pants/dress size or comfortably fit into your old jeans, however, as you have converted fat into muscle and successfully changed your body shape, the numbers on the scales may remain the same, which can be very misleading and disheartening.
Use your clothes, a tape measure or skin fold tests as a guide. Shape-shifters are more than happy to help with this. If you would like to book in for a 1-on-1 or even organise a private 15min time slot before or after a group exercise class, we would love to help you do this.
BARRIERS TO ACHIEVING YOUR GOALS:
NOT ENOUGH TIME:
What is more important than being healthy? If work prevents you from exercising or maintaining a healthy diet, maybe it is time to review your priorities. Research has shown that work productivity and your mood will improve if you’re healthier and fitter.
If you’re health took a turn for the worse, would you be able to work at all? Not likely. Therefore, it is really important we prioritise our health.
LACK OF MOTIVATION:
This excuse should be easily overpowered by your desire to make a change and reach your goals. Stand in the mirror in your underwear and ask yourself “Am I happy with what I see?” Go for a run around at the park with your friends/family and if your lungs are screaming, you will soon find that motivation.
I DON’T KNOW WHERE TO START:
The easiest way to start exercising is to find something that you enjoy. Exercise doesn’t need to be a chore. Go play tennis or kick a ball around at the park. Are you meeting friends for coffee? Can you walk there or drive halfway and walk the rest?
With sports stores & gyms in every shopping centre, personal trainers at every park in Sydney and the internet full of information about every possible type of training you can do, there is no shortage of help out there for you. It is purely a matter of finding the desire that drives you start!
I AM TOO TIRED:
You have to use energy to create energy…
Most of the people I train early in the morning have more energy throughout the day after an early training session, than if they stay in bed and get the extra half hour sleep. I am not saying you must train at 5 in the morning. Simply, start with a 30min walk in your lunch break and see how much better you feel afterwards. It may help you avoid the 3pm slump.