There's no feeling greater than achieving a goal you set for yourself. The sense of accomplishment of getting something done more than makes up for all the hard work you had to put in to make it happen.
Unfortunately, many people are resistant to setting exciting goals for themselves because they've had the experience of not meeting their fitness goals in the past. It's understandable. No one wants to fail.
So, how can you set fitness goals that you’ll actually achieve? Read on to learn about seven super common pitfalls when it comes to setting goals. Avoid these mistakes, and you’re well on your way to making lasting change and achieving the incredible results you dream of.
MISTAKE #1: TRYING TO MAKE TOO MANY CHANGES AT ONCE
Are you trying to change everything in your life at once, from your diet and your sleep habits, to your budget and your relationships? Hate to break it to you, friend—but you can’t become a new person overnight.
Old habits and patterns take time, energy, and effort to shift, so take small steps towards change instead of trying to make giant leaps. Set your alarm fifteen minutes earlier every week. Make one diet change at a time (like drinking enough water, or cutting out soda). Try to workout once a week in the first month of your journey, then twice a week in the second, then three times a week in the third, etc. Give yourself permission to take it slow—and the changes will be more likely to stick.
MISTAKE #2: LOSING SIGHT OF DEEPER MOTIVATION
Ready to lose the weight? Ready to fit back into your favorite pants? Ready for your abs to see the light of day again? Before setting big diet and fitness goals, dig a little bit deeper. Ask yourself why you want to create these changes in your life—and then hold on to that core motivation when the going gets tough.
MISTAKE #3: CREATING AN UNREALISTIC PLAN
Exercise for 90 minutes, seven days a week. Track 15,000 steps per day. Only eat lean meat and low-glycemic veggies. If your plan of attack looks something like this (and you’re not an Olympic athlete), you might want to take a step back. Starting with an unrealistic plan will only lead to frustration, disappointment, and—ultimately—failure. Instead of trying to become a pro athlete overnight, make a few small changes, and build from there. True progress takes time.
MISTAKE #4: NOT HAVING ACCOUNTABILITY
If you’re planning to make some changes and pursue a healthier lifestyle, you need to find a community first. Ask a health-conscious friend to be your accountability partner, join the CrossFit community at Fit Factory, reach out to members of our group fitness classes, or start working out with a personal trainer. We’re not meant to go on this journey alone.
MISTAKE #5: SETTING UNLIKELY EXPECTATIONS
If you haven’t laced up your running shoes in a decade, don’t sign up for this year's marathon just yet. When you set unrealistic goals (like losing twenty pounds in a month, or completing a triathlon when you haven’t worked out in years), you’re setting yourself up for failure and disappointment—because change doesn’t happen overnight. Focus on small steps, and celebrate every mini-milestone. And then, before you know it, you’ll be crossing that finish line.
MISTAKE #6: NOT FORMING AN ACTION PLAN
You might have a laundry list of goals (lose fifteen pounds, look great in that swimsuit, deadlift 400 pounds), but if you don’t have an action plan, you’re not going to get anywhere. Instead of focusing just on the results, focus on the daily actions that will help you achieve those results. For example: work out with your personal trainer three times each week, prepare a batch of paleo meals every weekend, and only drink alcohol once a week.
MISTAKE #7: HAVING AN “ALL OR NOTHING” ATTITUDE
Have you ever eaten an entire box of donuts on the third day of your diet, and then quit your diet altogether...because you “already failed.” That perfectionist perspective will keep you from reaching your long term goals, every single time.
We all make mistakes. We all skip workouts, eat the giant bowl of pasta, and drink the second glass of wine (even though we swore off double drinks last week). But one slip-up doesn’t have to define you. Instead of quitting when you make a mistake, simply recognize what happened, take responsibility for your actions, and choose to make the right choice next time.
So, as you think about what you want to accomplish in the coming months, stay away from these common mistakes. Instead, approach your biggest goals with intention, lasting discipline, and a little extra dose of grace. We’re rooting for you!