With 2023 arriving, how well are you keeping to your New Year’s resolutions?
Because we all do it, don’t we? We start the year with the best of intentions, only to find ourselves slipping back into old habits by the time February comes around.
So whilst having a set fitness goal is great in theory, you also need to know exactly how you’ll get there — what techniques do you need to use? How do you stay in the right mindset, especially when the going gets tough? And how can you make sure you’re setting yourself up for success, and not aiming to go too far, too fast?
All will be revealed, in this guide to setting — and crushing! — achievable fitness goals this year.
First, why bother setting goals?
The first secret to succeeding in your set fitness goals is knowing why you want it.
It’s so much harder to stick to a new routine if you have a true motivator behind you, one you can come back to in your mind whenever you fancy skipping a workout or eating out for a fourth day in a row!
And that requires knowing exactly why you’re setting goals in the first place, as opposed to just following the crowd and doing it ‘because everyone else is’.
Truth is, experiencing killer fitness results sometimes requires a total lifestyle overhaul. You probably need to make some pretty big chances in your everyday life.
And you certainly won’t achieve your dream goal overnight!
Because of this, the prospect of transforming your body and mindset on a long-term basis can seem pretty daunting. But putting goals in place along the way can help create smaller milestones instead of one huge task.
Breaking your new fitness journey in small, manageable chunks and setting intermediate goals will help hold you accountable for the results you’re seeing. They will also help you smash through any sudden periods of not having enough motivation.
Instead of giving up going to the gym, slipping on your comfiest hoodie and ordering pizza, the thought of your next goal will help give you the boost you need to keep going!
7 steps to set actionable, realistic fitness goals
Now we’ve established the importance behind setting goals throughout your 2023 fitness journey, it’s now time to put them into place!
Being realistic is key from the outset. If you’re too hard on yourself, you’ll be creating a struggle for yourself before you’ve even got started!
So, let’s start right there...
1. Set the bar low
This may seem counterproductive, but hear us out. Setting the bar low and creating goals which are easily within your reach is crucial when just starting out.
After all, if you’ve never run further than a couple of miles at once, does it make sense to set your first goal to be completing a full marathon? Definitely not.
You should be at least 90% sure you can achieve the first goals you set, as confidence is guaranteed to give you the push to get to your end result. Setting easy-to-reach goals to begin with will provide instant boosts in confidence whenever you achieve them. In turn, this will spur you on to create tougher goals moving forward — thanks to that juicy confidence you’ve now got in yourself to make it through!
2. Decide on goals which are your own (no one else’s!)
Whilst it’s super tempting to head straight over to your favourite Insta-babe’s account and begin trying to replicate her 2023 fitness goals, it’s essential that you make your goals specific to your own abilities, wants and needs.
Establish precisely what’s within your range, and set goals accordingly. You should be working to achieve goals tailored to you, not spending your time trying to achieve the goals of someone else.
Sure, they may already have the body shape you want to achieve, but who knows how they got there! It may (and probably did) take them years.
So, walk before you run and you’re certain to achieve steady results.
3. Measure and keep track!
If your goals aren’t measurable, how can you accurately track progress?
Ensuring your set fitness goals are measurable is key to long-term improvement, and will provide direct feedback as to how you’re performing.
And this doesn’t have to be complicated! Simply saying to yourself ‘I’m going to do 20 push ups by the end of this week’ is more than enough. When you finally hit that magic number of 20, you can slowly increase — and each time you manage to smash a new target number, this is a direct indicator of progress to keep you feeling as motivated as possible. Nice!
4. Stay focused on one set fitness goal at a time
We get it, you’re excited, you’re motivated, you’re seeing results — so you want to keep on adding to that targets list!
Push-ups? Smashed ‘em! Protein shake? Almost every day! New running shoes? Purchased!
But hold up. You’re much more likely to establish sustainable new habits if you focus on one new development at a time. Whilst there’s nothing wrong with pushing yourself and working hard, too many goals can feel very overwhelming — and you run the risk of burning yourself out and becoming stressed.
With too many things to achieve at once, you could become anxious and even start talking yourself out of achieving them. But if you solely focus on one goal at a time, there’s much less risk of feeling weighed-down.
Take things week by week — if you’ve set a goal to get at least 8 hours of sleep per night and have consecutively achieved that throughout the week, you can begin introducing a different goal to spend your next 7 days focusing on.
5. Be prepared to make long-term changes
As briefly mentioned earlier, making truly authentic fitness changes and experiencing brilliant results simply won’t happen overnight. If you’re only prepared to dedicate a couple of weeks to setting and achieving fitness 2023 goals, you may as well not waste your time.
Sorry if that sounds harsh, but it’s true!
Being prepared for the long-game is crucial to not only achieve the most effective results, but to give yourself the best chance of consistently maintaining them.
Begin approaching your goals as lifestyle changes as opposed to just ‘things I have to do’, and you’re far more likely to develop a positive, encouraging mindset built for long-term success! You got this!
6. Don’t be too rigid as the weeks go by
Whilst it’s undeniably important to keep your goals specific, it’s equally essential to maintain at least some degree of flexibility.
For example, if you’ve set yourself the goal of running 10k in 3 months time but find yourself still struggling after the 2-month mark, don’t be stubborn. Have the flexibility to alter your goal to a more realistic figure, and you’ll be far more likely to achieve it.
Being ambitious when setting goals is great, but too much ambition can set you on an instant road to failure. If you feel like you’re failing at everything you set to achieve, you really risk jeopardising your entire fitness journey. After all, if your confidence gets knocked, it can be a tough gig to get back up again.
What’s more, if your definition of success is super rigid and immovable, you’re only making things more difficult for yourself. Don’t be afraid to make some flexible changes if you’re struggling, and you’ll feel an instant weight being lifted off your shoulders — a weight that probably didn’t even need to be there in the first place!
7. Be honest with yourself
One of the biggest mistakes you can make when setting goals is not being honest with yourself about existing bad habits. If you’ve got yourself into a routine of eating junk food a little more often than you should — own up! We have all been there!
Being fully transparent with yourself about the changes you need to make will provide a true representation of what needs to happen for you to reach your set fitness goals. The same goes for when you speak to a nutritionist, trainer or friend who’s going to help you along the way.
If your existing routine involves very little exercise, don’t suddenly sign up to a personal training plan which has you working out 6 days a week! And if your diet currently consists of very few fruits and veggies, don’t suddenly cut-out all your favourite foods and begin full veganism. These goals simply aren’t realistic when aligned with your current habits! And, actually, might end up doing you a bit of harm.
Whether good or bad, being honest with yourself about where you could be going off-plan is key. This will not only give you a blueprint for why you’ve not been able to achieve your goals in the past, but will also provide proper ammunition for setting killer goals and crushing them better than ever before!
Time to get started!
Once your initial goals are in place, the only thing left to do is to put them into action.
Maintaining a positive mindset as much will help see you through, but that’s often easier said than done.
That’s why our primary take-home message is to simply be kind to yourself.
Applying too much pressure and pushing your body and mind to the limit simply isn’t sustainable, and is only going to make things tougher for you as you go on. Instead, being realistic, honest and flexible — and keep on smiling! — and you are sure to get exactly where you want to be.
So what are you waiting for? Don’t wait until Monday — start now!