The Only Way to Hit Your Fitness Goals

Goals. Goals. Goals. Say it a thousand times and it doesn't even sound like a real word anymore. Everywhere you look is some article, expert, book, show or (ahem) blog urging you to set goals and realize your potential. Whether it's your finances, your weight, your parenting skills or your level of organization, there is always something you are supposed to be improving. Ack! Pressure. Take a deep breath and think this through, girlfriend.

goal [gohl] noun: the end toward which effort is directed; aim.

The definition of a goal is an identifiable and possible end result. If you cannot achieve your goal it is:

hope [hoυp] noun: desire accompanied by expectation of or belief in fulfillment.

Which one would you rather pin your future health on?

In an effort to improve my own odds of not dying of heart disease and stroke, I have committed to using the Heart & Stroke Foundation's Healthy Weight Action Plan program for 6 months. Why should I worry about it? Oh, no big deal... except 1 of 3 Canadian women will die of heart disease and stroke. I don't want it to be you, but I sure as heck don't want it to be me.

So I am setting some healthy goals. I am on week 3 of my Healthy Weight Action Plan and I've been receiving encouraging weekly emails to keep me on track, give me recipe ideas, coach me on how to use the software and just remind me (just as I remind my clients by texting or emailing them to touch base) that I am working toward something very important and I should keep it top of mind.

So what am I working toward? I'm glad you asked!

When I signed up I chose an overall weight goal of losing 5 pounds. I could have gone for more but I am already relatively lean and active, plus still breastfeeding (oh my God, yes, I am still breastfeeding my giant man child...) and I know my body. It will relinquish a few pounds on its own when I wean my son, plus it is pretty close to where it likes to be. I may end up losing more than that in the end, but I have learned from coaching hundreds of clients that it is better to set a smaller, more reasonable and achievable goal than to go for the gusto, expect to accomplish everything you ever hoped for (see above) and then feel like a failure when you can't tackle it all at once.

So perhaps, in my head, I'd prefer to be about 8-10 pounds leaner. My goal is 5. When I reach the goal of 5 pounds I will consider the way my body performs and feels at that weight and decide whether I need the other 3-5 or not.

Goals are good. Goals keep us moving onward and upward. However, as we discussed above, it is only a goal if:

  • you can achieve it (It has to be reasonable and possible or you can never achieve it.)
  • you commit to it (It has to be spoken aloud, written down or otherwise identified in concrete terms.)
  • you set up a framework for it (It has to have a timeline and a process of steps that will lead to the end goal.)

I'm not going to get out of debt, stop procrastinating, potty-train my son, streamline my business processes, lose 5 pounds and end world hunger right now. I think my blood pressure went up 10 points just writing that line... But I can lose 5 pounds. Right now I'm okay with that. It's a goal - maybe a small one, but one I am capable of reaching. And that's going to feel pretty good. Really, it's more about the achievement than the 5 pounds.

Once you've got your goal - for example, I am going to lose 5 pounds in 6 months - you can begin setting up those steps, or behaviours, to achieve the result you are targeting. More on that next week, plus a peek into the small goals I'm setting to achieve my overall healthy weight goal.

Got some general fitness and health hopes that you'd like to turn into real, concrete and achievable goals? By the way, maintaining your already healthy weight can also be a goal! Check out the Healthy Weight Action Plan and get started today on your new, healthier lifestyle.