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Maximise your motivation: setting your fitness goals

Whether you’re a seasoned gym-goer or taking your first steps into fitness, understanding your goals is key to staying motivated. Just like athletes want to increase their speed or agility, keeping your goals in sight not only gives you a sense of achievement after every workout but helps you to choose forms of fitness that you actually enjoy. There’s nothing worse than slogging through a workout you hate for no reason, right?

When it comes to this it’s all about 3 key questions:

  • What do you exercise for?
  • How do you like to train?
  • What goals do you want to achieve in the next 12 weeks?

Here we’ll go through how to crystallize your motives, goals and the types of exercise you enjoy.

What do you exercise for?

Now you’ve got to be honest with yourself here. Dig into what drives you when it comes to exercising. You might fit neatly into one box. Or bridge across a few. Whatever you relate to, note it down.

Aesthetics

  • You want to look great
  • Muscle building
  • Toning
  • Want to improve the look of a particular body part e.g. arms, back, glutes, legs

    Weight-related

    • Weight loss
    • Weight gain
    • Fat loss
    • Body recomposition

      Fitness related

      • Improve your fitness
      • Improve your endurance
      • Improve your speed
      • Improve your strength
      • Improve explosive power
      • Increase flexibility
      • Increase mobility

        Lifestyle

        • Improve your health.
        • Improve your mental health.
        • Injury recovery.
        • Illness recovery.
        • Live a happy and healthy lifestyle.
        • Form of release - stress, creativity, meditation.
        • You want to ‘work’ on yourself.

        This step should give you a clear picture of what motivates you to get moving. Once you understand your motivation you can start looking at new ways of exercising that connect to your ‘why’.

        How do you like to train?

        This is key when it comes to choosing a form of fitness that is sustainable and gives you enjoyment.

        Ask yourself the following:

        1. Do you like to train alone or with other people?
        2. Do you need external motives to keep you accountable?
        3. Do you naturally compete with yourself or do you need someone to set the benchmarks?
        4. Do you find exercise as more of a form of moving meditation or a social event?

          This will dictate whether you hit the gym on your own, rope in a buddy to do exercise with, enrol in a fitness class or invest in the services of a personal trainer to keep you in check.

          For almost every form of exercise, there are options to train solo, with pals, with strangers or with a professional. Seek them out and give them a go - see what fits your lifestyle and mindset best.

          What goals do you want to achieve?

          This will be closely linked to both questions above. So you’ve got your ‘meta’ goal of increasing your fitness levels, strength gain or improving your mental health. And the types of exercise you’re going to engage in to get there. Now it’s about defining the little wins. Let’s take a look at the three meta goals above and how this could look.

          You want to increase your fitness levels by swimming and weekly HIIT workouts. Your goals could be:

          • Swim 1km within 4 weeks.
          • Able to do a full push up in 10 weeks.
          • Get through your HIIT fitness video without stopping within 6 weeks.

            You want to gain strength through weight training. Your goals could be:

            • A 5% increase of your squat 1RPM by the end of 12 weeks.
            • Deadlifting your body weight within 10 weeks.
            • Able to do a handstand press up in 4 months.

              You want to improve your mental health through yoga, walking and running. Your goals could be:

              • Integrate mindful movement into your day for 30 days.
              • Meet up with at least one friend to exercise within the next 2 weeks.
              • Try a new form of yoga every 6 weeks.

                As you can see these goals are small. Things that you can achieve within a time limit. Keep re-evaluating them and tweak them to suit new areas you want to focus on. Making fitness work for you means keeping routed to your ‘why’ and the goals you want to achieve. The result? Consistent results, feeling satisfied and never getting bored.

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