Fitness Conundrum Series: Here’s How Not To Set Goals

Dealing with #7.

Goals and motivation work together. When either of them is off, all of it falls apart. In the beginning, I set no goals or very poor goals. Examples?

  1. Make it to work out today morning
  2. Work out for a week
  3. Get fit

You see the problem with these goals…is though they seem easy to attain they are too vague. They can’t be measured. They don’t sit well with me either. I’m not a morning person…the likeliness that I would work out everyday at 6 am is very low. I did though…went and jumped rope with my friend…on occasion went jogging with her, but that didn’t stick. A combination of factors: motivation, goals, moving house and so on.

Let’s look at goal setting though and what I did wrong. My goals were:

  1. Too vague
  2. Too easy to achieve
  3. Unrealistic
  4. Difficult to measure
  5. Too broad

Thus, setting them was basically, a waste of time. They were too easy to achieve and that promoted laziness. Some of them were vague or broad and that meant I didn’t know exactly what I was achieving. Broad and vague goals are also very unrealistic. They can mean a variety of things and thus may never truly be achieved. Of course, all of these goals were difficult to measure or couldn’t be measured at all. I couldn’t accurately track progress. I’m pretty sure no progress was really being made.

These goals were not going to get me anywhere. I was going to stay stagnant or move in circles (very small circles).

I then made more specific goals.

  1. 250 jumps
  2. 500 jumps
  3. 800 jumps

What was the problem with these goals? They were too constricting. They were limiting and I found myself being okay with stopping at that minimum, not pushing further , even when I was not too tired. 500 was the goal for the day after all?

I have found that the kind of goals I need, should be balanced. Realistic, measurable, direct yet with room to grow. They are open ended yet specific. Goals like what I shall show below are what work best for me.

  1. Increase Cardio Endurance
    1. Have a HIIT cardio routine 2-3 times in the week (the routine preferably should have high and low impact modifications)
    2. Run through the routine once, see what I am comfortable with. Use this pace for the first week. Focus on form.
    3. In the following weeks:
      1. Increase speed
      2. Incorporate some of the high impact modifications.
    4. After 4 weeks, choose a new routine and start over.
  2. Be able to do at least 30 push ups, in proper form. Aim to :
    1. Do 3 sets of 30 push ups using a kitchen counter or desk as support. Do so until the sets can be completed with ease.
    2. Do 3 sets of 30 push ups using a stair case. Do so until sets can be completed with ease.
    3. Do 3 sets of 30 push ups with stair case, however at lower levels until they can be completed at the  last stair with ease.
    4. Do 3 sets of 30 push ups in the low impact position (knees on ground), until these can be done with ease
    5. Do 3 sets of 30 push ups in proper form until they can be done with ease
    6. Goal has been met! Next add weights or increase reps.

I find goals like this work best for me. A general goal broken into sub tasks or milestones, or a goal broken into a series of steps as to how to achieve the goal. These are specific but I find they leave more room for growth. They can be measured (Heart rate or the number of breaks I need to take, maybe even the speed I use). They are attainable and most of all the are realistic. These factors make it more likely that I will attain my goals. It is more likely that I will not waste my time and stay stagnant. I will be challenged yet will not feel overwhelmed, which I find is a very good combination.

Hope this helps.

 

 

 

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