The majority of people exercise for improved fitness and health but our goals are as individual as we are. Fitness should be a lifetime commitment with ever-changing goals. As we age and our family and work lives move to their next phase so do our goals.
What are the most common exercise goals?
Most people start exercising because they want to achieve one of the following:
Others may like to be more accountable and give themselves measurable goals such as:
Whatever your exercise goals, whether they’re measurable or not, you are more likely to succeed if you find what motivates you.
Find your motivation
If you know what motivates you to continue exercising, you will be ahead of the game. Everyone is different but here are a few forms of motivation that may work for you.
Take on a Friend
For the more competitive person, they may be motivated to keep going if they are trying to beat a friend or family member to an exercise goal. A friend may have provided the ammunition by saying ‘you’ll never stick at it or achieve that goal’ so you’re determined to prove them wrong. Others may have teamed up to encourage each other along. You can take it one step further by both signing a commitment contract so you’re even less likely to break it.
If you have a fitness tracker such as a Fitbit, then try keeping a journal of your daily steps or kilometres run so you can see your commitment. Encourage a friend to do the same so you can compare results and keep each other from slacking off. If you don’t have a device, use a calendar and colour in or give yourself a tick every day you exercise. There’s plenty of satisfaction in seeing your commitment to hard work on paper.
Tell people your goal so you are motivated by the fear of shame and failure. Knowing how it will feel to tell a friend that you gave up might spur you into action each day. You may decide to announce your goal on social media and give regular updates or tell a few close individuals.
Tell yourself that you can enjoy the restaurant meal on the weekend, even more, knowing that you have worked hard at exercising all week. After a while, your brain will recognise the exercise as the reward with the release of feel-good chemicals in your brain.
Power of Positive Thinking
If you are deciding whether to get out of bed to go to the gym, think back to your goal. Imagine how good you will feel having achieved your goal or how you will look with a toned body on the beach in summer or fitting into your favourite jeans.
Make it Part of your Routine
You are less inclined to give up exercising if it is as routine as showering or brushing your teeth. If you don’t need to question whether you will exercise today, it has become part of your routine. In the early days make it easy by getting your exercise clothes out the night before so you don’t have to think or overcome any barriers.