Setting a realistic fitness goal is a key component of a successful fitness journey. When you set realistic fitness goals, you are more likely to achieve your goals and actually see the results you want. Not to mention, you’re also more likely to stay motivated and remain consistent when times get tough.
Whether you’re losing or gaining weight, starting a fitness journey can be exciting and sometimes overwhelming. That’s why it’s important to have realistic expectations and set some realistic goals to help you stay on track and motivated.
In this article, I will share 5 reasons that I’ve come to learn why setting realistic fitness goals are important for your long-term success and how to set and achieve them.
What Are Realistic Fitness Goals?
Getting fit is a respectable goal, but it can be pretty daunting to know where to start. That’s why it’s important to be sure that your fitness goals are realistic, to avoid frustration or injury.
So, what exactly is a realistic fitness goal?
In my opinion, it’s any goal that challenges you while still being 100% attainable. For instance, wanting to run a marathon next month when you’ve never run more than a mile before might not be realistic, but setting a goal to run a 5k in three months could be a perfect goal to start with. No matter what your next goal is, remember to take your time and keep your eyes on the prize.
Why Is It Important To Set Realistic Fitness Goals?
When it comes to fitness, everyone wants to see results as soon as possible. However, setting unrealistic goals can lead to disappointment and frustration. As a certified personal trainer, I completely understand the emotions behind setting a fitness goal that you want to see right away.
However, I want to remind you of the importance and the benefits of setting realistic fitness goals, and how a realistic goal can contribute to your long-term success along your fitness journey.
So here are five reasons why setting realistic fitness goals is key for your long-term success.
1. Prevent Injury
When we get started with our fitness journey, we’re sometimes overly excited and willing to do whatever it takes to get there. This can sometimes include doing pretty insane or unsafe things to see a drastic result.
For example, you may start a crash diet to lose 40 lbs in a month. Or maybe you might deadlift or bench press 200 lbs when you haven’t worked out in months, or maybe not at all!
When you push yourself too hard, it can have a negative impact on your body. However, setting a realistic goal will help you avoid pushing your body too far and prevent any potential injuries.
2. Creates Consistency & Results
When it comes to setting fitness goals, it’s important to keep things realistic. Not only will this help you achieve your goals, but it’ll also improve your consistency and get you the results you’re looking for.
Simple: if your goals are too ambitious or overly difficult, you’re more likely to get demotivated and give up. But by setting a realistic fitness goal, you’re giving yourself a more manageable challenge that you can work towards without feeling overwhelmed or discouraged.
When you set attainable goals, you are setting yourself up for consistency and positive results.
As you progress through your journey, you’ll find that succeeding in small, achievable steps towards a not-so overly challenging goal, is far more motivating than struggling towards an impossible target. Consistency is key when it comes to fitness goals because it’s the only way to see real results.
So create a realistic goal that will help you see small successes along the way to your major goal.
3. Increases Confidence & Self-Esteem
Setting realistic fitness goals also helps to increase your confidence and self-esteem. If you were to set your eyes on a fitness goal that is completely unrealistic, then you are more likely to get frustrated with the process and feel a sense of discouragement and/or failure, and give up altogether.
However, by setting a realistic and achievable fitness goal, you create more success throughout your journey, thereby creating more confidence and self-esteem within yourself and in your overall abilities. This ultimately creates a recipe for long-term success within your fitness journey and in other areas of your life.
As someone, who has dealt with low self-esteem and confidence, I know and understand how important it is to feel good about yourself, and that’s where setting realistic fitness goals come in.
It’s important to set a realistic fitness goal that will help boost and keep your confidence and self-esteem levels high, and make you feel unstoppable, which will ultimately help with long-term results and success.
4. Keeps You Motivated & Focused
Staying motivated is another key factor that is a result of setting a realistic goal, that has a big influence on the long-term success of your fitness journey. Although motivation does not get you to your fitness goal, it surely can give you an extra boost.
As mentioned in the previous point, if you don’t hit your goals because they are far too unrealistic or poorly planned, you start feeling frustrated or maybe even like a failure. Essentially, you become unmotivated and might even stop working toward your goal entirely.
That’s why it is important to set a realistic fitness goal.
When you set a realistic fitness goal for yourself, you are more likely to be motivated and achieve your goal. When you’re highly motivated, you’re more likely to stick to the plan and pivot when necessary. You keep going in the face of adversity or when things seem to be moving slowly.
Motivation keeps you focused.
So don’t think twice about setting a realistic fitness goal. It can be the difference between your success and failure.
5. Saves You Time & Money
When it comes to your fitness goals, time and money can be pretty important. Setting realistic fitness goals can save you both in the long run.
If your goal is too ambitious or unrealistic, you could end up spending hours upon hours and a bunch of money on products and services that may not actually help you reach your ultimate goal. Not to mention, setting a goal that is too far out of reach, can lead to burnout or even injury.
By setting realistic fitness goals, you will be able to create a plan and stick to it without feeling overwhelmed. You’ll be able to focus on the important aspects of your fitness journey so you can achieve your desired results in the most efficient manner possible.
And not jump to the next quick-fix tea or diet plan. (*insert eye roll*)
How to Set Realistic Fitness Goals
Setting realistic fitness goals is an important aspect of leading a healthy lifestyle and your long-term success. It’s important to consider what you can accomplish, both in terms of your current fitness level, and the amount of time and resources available to you.
The key is to visualize attainable, yet challenging goals that will motivate you. Here are some steps you can take to achieve your realistic fitness goal:
1. Identify Your Fitness Goal
Start by identifying a realistic goal that you want to achieve. Make sure it’s something that is achievable and fits within your lifestyle and commitments. For example, a realistic goal may be something simple like gaining muscle mass or increasing muscular endurance. Now that you’ve identified a goal, it’s time to get specific.
2. Create SMART Goals
When it comes to setting realistic fitness goals, it’s important to follow the SMART goal-setting approach. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Your goals should be specific, quantifiable, achievable, relevant to your overall fitness plan, and have a time frame in which to achieve them. For example, rather than saying “I want to lose weight,” a SMART goal would be “I want to lose 10 pounds in two months by jogging for 30 minutes, five times per week, and eating a balanced diet.”
3. Break Down Your Goals into Smaller, Attainable Steps
Once you have your ultimate goal in mind, break it down into smaller, measurable goals. Short-term goals should be set in intervals. Consider setting goals for one month, 3 months, 6 months, and a year. Ensure that they are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based (SMART) goals, as mentioned previously.
4. Create an Exercise Program That Fits Your Lifestyle
Determine an exercise routine that works for you that as a beginner is realistic. Consider the number of times per week should you workout, what type of exercise you will do, and how many hours of sleep you need. It’s essential to include both cardio and strength training, along with a good stretching routine to ensure a well-rounded fitness routine.
5. Track Your Progress
Tracking your progress is key as it helps keep you motivated and accountable for reaching your goals. You can track your progress by taking weekly measurements, weighing yourself regularly, or tracking how many repetitions or sets of exercise you do each day/week/month etc.. This will allow you to monitor the effectiveness of the action plan that you created earlier and make necessary adjustments if needed.
6. Stay Positive & Don’t Give Up
As with anything else in life, staying positive is essential in order to reach success with any kind of fitness goal. It’s important to remember that even if progress isn’t being made steadily or quickly, every small step counts towards achieving the larger goal! For example, completing one pull up a day is better than no pull ups every day. So don’t give up!
Setting realistic fitness goals is the first step to achieving long-term success. It can be difficult to know where to start on your fitness journey, and it’s important to set goals that are achievable and don’t overwhelm you. By setting smart fitness goals, you can start to build a solid foundation for your fitness routine and gradually work your way up to more challenging goals.
For example, if you are just starting out, you can set a goal of doing a certain number of push ups or pull ups each day. This will help you build strength and endurance in your upper body and give you a good base to work from. As you become more comfortable with your body weight training, you can start to increase the number of how many push ups or pull ups you do each day. You can also start to incorporate high intensity interval training into your routine, which can help you build muscle mass and burn fat.
If you feel like you need more guidance, you can always consult a personal trainer to help you set realistic fitness goals and create a fitness routine that will work best for you. With the right guidance and dedication, you can achieve your fitness goals and start to feel better about yourself.
I hope this was helpful. All the best on your fitness journey!