Short of committing to a long-term and total life change, fitness goals can often seem like an exercise in futility. We often make fitness goals, whether they’re part of new year’s resolutions or made throughout the year when we’ve had enough of the consequences of our bad habits.
Whatever the reason, most of us get stuck in the cycle of making a goal, sticking to it with varying degrees of success for a season, falling off the wagon, settling for our old ways, and then hitting a breaking point and making new goals all over again.
What if reframing your fitness goals could actually help you reach them and stick with them for the long-term?
5 Ways to Reframe Your Fitness Goals so You Actually Meet Them
1) Make your goal holistic.
One of the mistakes we make with our health and fitness goals is focusing too narrowly on what we want out of our exercise. We want to lose fifteen pounds, but if we don’t see the scale moving, we give up. Have you ever considered the other ways that being active and fit benefits your body? Running, for example, can help improve your memory and reduce chances of heart disease. Exercise, in general, reduces depression and can help reduce stress and anxiety.
When you think about how exercise and fitness benefit your whole body, not just your weight or muscle mass, you will be much more inclined to continue working out despite a lack of progress in one area or another. Holistic fitness takes into account your whole self, not just a single area of the body or area of improvement. It considers how being out there and active impacts everything. When you think about it that way, it’s much easier to see results and appreciate progress.
2) Have a higher purpose.
One of the things that prevents us from reaching our fitness goals through the years and allows us to fall back into bad habits is a lack of higher purpose. We exercise only to lose weight to look good or we only do it because we know we “should.” Guilt is not an effective motivator in the long-term.
What makes something stick is a deeper value. For example, exercising and getting into shape now because you know that someday, you want to be able to play with your grandchildren without getting out of breath. Or because you don’t want your spouse to worry about your health or whether or not you’ll be around!
Having your eyes set on important health goals over superficial ones allows your fitness goals to actually take priority in your life.
3) Consult your physician.
Another way to reframe your fitness plan effectively is to consult your physician. This is recommended universally, but few of us actually do it. When you take the time to talk with your physician about your health and fitness goals, you can actually determine what is going to work for you. What’s going to be effective in the long-term and give you the results you're looking for? Which combination of nutrition and exercise will make the biggest difference? These are the questions your doctor can help you answer.
4) Find the social element.
In reframing how we approach health and fitness, we have to consider the social element. Health clubs, sports teams, and running buddies can all make a solo effort suddenly worthwhile. You can build lifelong, meaningful relationships with these teams and partners. The social element can be enormously beneficial both in terms of results and accountability. Don’t miss out on it!
5) Look for unconventional results.
It’s all-too-easy to become discouraged when we’re not seeing the results that we want to see from our exercise regimen. Maybe the scale won’t budge or you just can’t get in any more reps that you were able to than when you started. Progress just seems slow or non-existent. In the end, this is what will lead most people to give up and slip back into their old ways.
What you have to start doing is looking for victories where you can find them: even if they’re in the places you least expected.
Do you feel better than you did before you started? Are you waking up with more energy? Sleeping better? Finding yourself with more clarity and focus? Look for the results that extend beyond your main goals. When you can recognize even the small changes, you’ll be able to better appreciate the whole process.
What has been effective for you in making your fitness plans stick for the long haul? Let me know in the comments.