Having goals are an important part of life. Without them, we lack motivation and focus. However, it is important to create goals that are actually attainable—and are not too far out of reach. In terms of health and fitness goals it is essential to do this, as failure can lead to feelings of defeat, hopelessness and ultimately giving up. For more positive results when setting goals, make the following changes:
1. Don’t focus on a specific number of pounds you want to lose.
The scale can be deceiving, because it doesn’t differentiate between the weight of fat and muscle or being bloated vs. being dehydrated. The truth is weight fluctuates frequently and the scale isn’t always accurate.
Instead: Find a goal that will enhance how you feel, like an improvement of strength or stamina. Examples include stretching every morning or adding a few minutes to each cardio workout.
2. Don’t aspire to look like a fitness model.
Comparing yourself to unrealistic (and potentially photoshopped) images of celebrities or models is enough to make anyone feel self-conscious and provide feelings of hopelessness. Putting pressure on yourself and feeling negative is not an efficient motivation strategy. The fact is, not all bodies are built the same way—nor will they respond to the same diets or exercise regimes.
Instead: Find physical activities that spark joy. Research from the Annals of Behavioral Medicine/ITC suggests that people who report enjoyment during exercise are more likely to remain active in the future. For example, if you enjoy dancing, try taking a Zumba class with a friend.