In my 14-year career as a fitness coach, I’ve had the privilege of working with a wide range of clients, all striving to achieve their health and fitness goals. Whether you’re a competitive athlete or a quadriplegic soccer mom, the successful habits for achieving your goals are remarkably similar. In this post, I’ll share the top 10 methods to help you succeed.
Write Down Your Goals
Goals are just dreams until we write them down. Learn how to turn your dreams into actionable objectives.
Assess Your Goals: Are They SMART?
Learn how to transform vague aspirations into clear, actionable objectives using the SMART criteria: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely. Explore the significance of each element and how they guide you toward your aspirations.
“I want to get into shape” is an example of not being specific. Take this further: What does ‘shape’ mean for you? What does this look like in your daily life?
Can you measure it? Is it a distance, a weight, a repetition amount, a time? Make sure you can have a way of tracking your progress.
Is it realistic for you? If unsure, start smaller than you think: That way you can set a bigger one once you achieve the first one!
Is this a goal that comes from what you want deep down? Or is this a goal that is brought on or influenced by others? If we aren’t intrinsically motivated and it doesn’t come from the heart, there’s a huge chance that we won’t have the motivation down the road to continue working towards it.
Have you given yourself a time frame for achieving this goal? If you haven’t, set a due date. This makes the goal real!
Try and ask yourself how your goal fits into each of the above categories of SMART. If it doesn’t, then try to re-evaluate or rephrase your goal so that it can fit. Need some help outlining your SMART goal? Click here. Consider working with us, and get expert guidance and support on your health and fitness journey.
Build a Support System
I can’t stress this enough. It really does take a village. Whatever that looks like, utilize that support system! There are so many modes of support now: Partner, family member, coach, trainer, friend, workout buddy, social media, weight loss groups, boot camps, phone apps, etc. So why make the path hard for yourself? Remember that everyone needs help and that is OK (we are all human, after all)! At the end of the day, all that really matters is achieving your goals.
Maintain a Progress Journal
This allows us to find what works and what doesn’t. It’s all in the details. Our lives are busy, and we will forget in one week if X amount of cycling was too much for your shoulder or if eating X before a workout really did make a difference with joint inflammation. Use this to take out the guesswork for easier planning later on.
Plan Ahead for Success
Planning is essential for achieving health and fitness goals and how it keeps you on track.
One week, one month, one day, doesn’t matter! The cliché quote that I love states: “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail”. I couldn’t agree with this more. Goals require 100% attention, especially at the beginning when the biggest changes happen.
The act of revisiting your goal even on just paper, it brings our minds focus back to that visualization and creates space for our goal to take its place in our routine or mentality.
Visualize Your Success
Evoke the emotions of already being at your goal as if you’ve already achieved them.
Studies show that the best visualization techniques include all 5 senses (touch, taste, feeling, hearing, and seeing). When you visualize, it should be through your own eyes, not as a bystander. Try imagining what it feels like, embody that experience and feat, as opposed to observing a version of ‘you’ going through the movements. It’s these precise details that create a successful embodiment of energy for a beneficial visualization practice.
I suggest doing this every day, once a day.
Consistency is Key
Results come from those that work on one habit at a time, a little bit every day. This is so important to understand, because otherwise we can be very unforgiving to ourselves.
I’m sure you’ve known or heard of that person who tries to overhaul their entire life on a Monday? By the time the weekend rolls around, they revert to old habits, (this is what I call ‘Yo-Yo’ mentality). This person may say something like, “I tried everything and nothing seems to work to get my weight off…” Well, until you try it for at least 6 weeks consistently, then you’re not really ‘trying’ anything.
So, do yourself a huge favour and think small. Over time it will become a habit, and then you can add the next small objective.
Imagine if you put away just $10 weekly for one year. It seems like nothing per week, really only $1.40 per day. By the end of the year, you now have $520 that you didn’t even notice you had built towards. That’s pretty good for a rainy-day fund!
Strive for Better, Not Perfect
Perfection isn’t the goal; progress is. Embrace small improvements as steps towards your ultimate achievement.
You skipped a workout today, but you ended up doing stretches at home. So, you split a dessert with someone after you planned to not have any.
It wasn’t perfect, but ask yourself this: Were you better than last week?
Better is progress. We are not going for perfect because that is unachievable. Better is what we are striving for. Celebrate that!
Make It Fun and Exciting
Maybe you aren’t stoked about having to lose weight or drop your cholesterol like your doctor recommended. We can try and make it fun though!
Grab a workout buddy, join an online fitness subscription, or try making a new dish for dinner with your friend or family member. Make your actions towards your health and fitness goals exciting and new. This will keep you interested in the journey.
Forgive Yourself Along the Way
There is an importance in showing yourself compassion during your journey to achieving your goals. We are our own worst critics. I too am terribly hard on myself with any of my fitness pursuits.
Back when I was competing in fitness shows, I always thought I could do better. I would compare myself to other competitors and I would feel terrible about myself, discrediting all the hard work I had put into achieving my goal. At that time in my life, it was one of the biggest feats I had achieved, mentally and physically! I now believe it to be so sad to not have celebrated those accomplishments because I was so caught up in the things I could have done better at.
In your quest to achieve your health and fitness goals, remember that success is a journey, not a destination. By implementing these 10 habits, you can set yourself up for long-term success. Be kind to yourself on your journey: You won’t be able to see clearly all the hard work you’ve done while you are pushing through, but when you look back on it one day, you will be happy that you were able to enjoy the process.