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How to make your fitness goals, big and small

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Having trouble reaching your fitness potential? Setting mini weekly goals could be the answer, as we discover…

 

It’s great to have long-term health goals, but hitting them isn’t always easy. To find out why, we dig into the psychology of goal-setting and find a solution to one of life’s biggest conundrums: how to stick to a goal.

 

What is a goal anyway?

According to the science bods, a goal is something that you want to achieve. However, to get there, it involves you adopting a new type of behaviour, which is the bit that makes it challenging to achieve.

 

What are people’s top goals?

According to Inc.com’s article on the biggest New Year’s resolutions, it’s health and fitness goals that come out on top. In their survey, 71% of respondents said they want to eat healthier, 65% said they want to exercise more, and 54% said they want to lose weight.

 

Whether you identify with these top 3 goals or you have your own personal one, we’ve worked out how to make it easier to stick to whatever you desire.

 

How to set a goal that you can achieve

First things first, you need to understand why you want it. “Whether you want to feel stronger, fitter or more positive, lose weight, feel great at a future event, get back to fitness post-injury or something else, have a real think about what your goal is, what that looks like, why it’s so important to you and what the specifics are,” says Jess.

 

Next, write it down in a pad or at the top of your Jennis Fitness Tracker. This is really important. “Once it’s written down, you have a guiding light to motivate you when you’re having an off day or life gets in the way,” adds Jess.

 

 

Why is it good to write it down?

“Sometimes I’d really struggle to find the motivation to keep going and going and going again,” says Jess. “But because of my training plan and the goals I’d set, even when I felt wiped out, I’d get out there and do what I needed to do because it was written down and I felt like I had no excuse.”

 

There is science to support this method for sticking to your targets. According to a 2015 US study, you are 42% more likely to achieve a goal if you have written it down. Visualising your goal is crucial too – the more detail the better! So, imagine how you’ll feel when you hit that target.

Once you have down your goal, you have a guiding light to motivate you when you’re having an off day or life gets in the way

Next, break it down into weekly goals

The next crucial step is to break down your long-term goal into mini, short-term goals, which are easy to measure and keep on top of.

 

These easy-to-achieve weekly goals will boost your confidence and make you more likely to hit your big goal in the end. To help you out on this, we’ve included a place on your 4-week planner for you to write your weekly goals.

 

Why? Well, “It’s all about those little victories,” explains Jessica Ennis-Hill’s coach Toni Minichiello. “You want to be able to celebrate yourself regularly, as having to wait too long to feel you have accomplished anything can kill your motivation.”

 

There’s some interesting biology behind this, too. It turns out our brains reward us when something positive happens – like hitting a mini-goal – by releasing the feel-good neurotransmitter dopamine. So, in other words, ticking off each short-term goal will give you a feeling of pleasure. You’ll feel great! 

You want to be able to celebrate yourself regularly, as having to wait too long to feel you have accomplished anything can kill your motivation

How to create small weekly goals

These goals should be manageable, measurable and easy to achieve with a small push and bit of focus. They should also help you along your journey to your long-term goal. Here are some examples to help you out…

 

 

Long-term goal: to exercise more

Examples of weekly goals:

• completing all your planned workouts for the week

• upping one of your Jennis Fitness weekly workouts from beginner to intermediate

• adding one Jennis HIIT Run to your weekly training

 

 

Long-term goal: to eat healthier

Examples of weekly goals:

• avoid crisps / chocolate / whatever your vice is for one week

• have porridge for breakfast this week

• take a packed lunch to work every day this week

 

 

Long-term goal: to reduce your stress levels

Examples of weekly goals:

• meditate for three minutes every day this week

• go out for a walk during your lunch break twice this week

• think of five positive things about the day when you get into bed every evening

 

 

“Whatever your weekly goal,” says Jess, “make sure you give yourself loads of credit when you’ve nailed it. Tell your friends / partner / kids… and once you’ve celebrated, try and maintain that habit and build upon it.”

 

 

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