Planning is one of the biggest tools that successful people utilize. Whether your end game is getting fit, losing weight or both, goals will be the cornerstone of your success. Without goals, we are less inclined to succeed—athletes have a lesser chance to win, entrepreneurs have lesser chance of business success and college students have a lesser chance of graduating when goals are not established ahead of time.
Wasn’t it Joe Paterno who once said, “The will to win is important, but the will to prepare is vital”? So why would you begin a fitness endeavor without setting some goals first?
Setting goals acts as a natural motivator, and let’s face it; lack of motivation is usually the pesky thing that prevents us from going to the gym as often as we should. For our college student, let’s call her Mary, her goal would be to pass her classes. That’s a pretty good motivator to study for those exams. If you have a goal of “losing 5 lbs in a month”, you’ll feel much more motivated than if you just tell yourself you want to “workout more”. You’ll want to achieve the goal to feel the sense of satisfaction after a job well done, and that’s a powerful motivator. Goals can and should also include incentives (a great motivator!). For example, for every three times you visit the gym, reward yourself with a new workout song purchase from iTunes.
When you succeed at any task, you begin to build confidence. Accomplishing fitness goals you set for yourself works the same way. You should set your goals to be challenging but doable; you don’t want to set yourself up for failure but still need to push past your comfort zone. Why not train to run a 5K in the next month or two? If Mary plans to get an A on that next exam, she’ll push herself as hard as you can. Even if she gets a B+, she’s still above average.
If Mary plays her cards right, she can graduate in 4 years or less. However, failed classes or taking a class she doesn’t need due to poor planning can keep her in school for longer (all while she’s racking up the debt…yikes!). Whether it’s student loans or gym fees, you’ll want to see results more quickly for a variety of reasons. Once you’ve got your action plan and are motivated and confident with your fitness activities, you’ll no doubt notice results more quickly.
Goals are meant to help you feel accountable for your actions, especially when you force yourself to write down what you’ve done fitness-wise at the end of the day. If you decided to skip the gym one day and then wrote down later (on paper or on a tracking website) what you did, you’ll be less likely to skip out later to avoid the unpleasant guilt trip. You can even assess your day based on a grading system from A-F. Share your goals with some friends and family, too, and they’ll help you stay on track as well.
Joe Paterno may have said it best—it’s up to you to prepare yourself for ultimate fitness. Put your goals in front of you today and start getting Hitch Fit! We know you can do it, and you do too!