There’s no time like the present to set a fitness goal, but as with any goal setting, the most important piece is to be realistic. While it may be tempting to make sweeping changes in your life to put yourself on the path to total wellness, most of the time these drastic changes end up being unsustainable.
So how do you set fitness and wellness goals that will stick? Let’s start with some common fitness goals and ideas to get you going, and then we’ll talk about the process so you can create some lasting (positive) changes in your life.
Common Fitness Goals and Implications
A simple Google search of “what are some common fitness goals” would lead you to things like: to lose weight, gain muscle and “tone/sculpt/firm up.” Now, there’s nothing wrong with those desires, but the definitions of those things change from person to person. Gaining muscle and losing weight works differently depending on body type, lifestyle, etc. and to “tone/sculpt/firm up” is just vague.
Let’s say you want to lose weight. Now, it would be amazing to be able to drop pounds in a flash, but trying to lose any more than one to two pounds per week isn’t healthy and generally doesn’t last. So, if you are looking to drop some pounds, set a realistic timeline for weight loss. Most of us prefer to keep it off long-term rather than finding ourselves back at the beginning of this cycle months from now.
On the subject of weight loss as a goal, something to keep in mind is that body composition plays a big role here. If you put two women of equal height side by side, their healthy weight could be very different. Using myself as an example, I am a healthy, athletically built woman standing 5 feet tall. According to this chart, the ideal weight for a woman of my height is between 97-127 pounds. Being honest with myself, I know that I would not be healthy in the lower end of that weight range, but that doesn’t mean someone else my height wouldn’t be.
Fitness Goal Ideas
Weight loss is only one of many fitness goals to choose from. Maybe you just want to add more movement into your day, but you’re not ready to hit the gym. You could make it a goal to hit a certain number of steps or walk a certain number of minutes per day. If you’re tired of feeling stiff all the time, your goal could be to commit to a certain amount of time each day to stretching.
Overall fitness isn’t just about the physical. Sleep and nutrition are other (perhaps even more important) pieces of the fitness puzzle. Setting yourself up for a restful night sleep, including shutting down screens at least an hour before bed is a small goal that can make a huge difference. On the nutrition side of things, making it a goal to include all three macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates and fat) in all of your meals is a great place to start.
Making Fitness Goals Stick
Rome wasn’t built in a day and similarly, you can’t expect to change multiple habits at once and achieve long term success. Not only is that a lot of pressure to put on yourself, but it would be nearly impossible to decipher what is actually working. Pick one thing at a time, create consistency and then slowly add in additional goals if you have them.
Creating lasting fitness goals ultimately comes down to changing your habits altogether. It’s all about the long game so take some time to examine your day-to-day and figure out if the goals you are setting for yourself will fit into your daily life. That’s not to say that they are completely off the table if they don’t, but you need to be sure you’re willing and able to make those changes to fit your goal.
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Katie Ferraro is a lifestyle writer based in Santa Cruz, CA who is passionate about fitness, sustainability, and holistic wellness. When she’s not writing, you can find her exploring the beauty of California.