Turning over a new leaf and prioritizing your health and fitness is challenging, but it appears pretty straightforward at first. You just have to set your goals and work towards them — there isn’t much to it.
However, the problem is that too many people set themselves up for failure with this very first step. They set unattainable goals that only serve to demotivate and disappoint them.
If you want to achieve your health and fitness goals, you need a strategy for success, which starts with knowing which goals to avoid.
So, let’s look into the worst health and fitness goals you could have and go over a few things you’ll need to do to come up with measurable, achievable goals.
1. Vague goals
There’s nothing worse for your newfound health and fitness motivation than setting vague goals like “I want to be healthier,” “I want to look like Kim K.” What does that mean? How will you achieve these goals? How would you even measure them? Try as you might, you’ll never look exactly like your fitness role model — no two people have the same bone construction nor the same body fat distribution.
To reach your goals, you need to know what you’re doing — meaning that you need to be specific. Define what healthier or more fit means to you. Take your current health and fitness levels into account, then determine which steps you need to take to improve.
2. Outcome goals
The next type of goal you’ll want to avoid is the outcome goal. Some examples of that include wanting to go from size 14 to size 8, lose 20 pounds within a couple of weeks, or overcome your insomnia. Commonly, vague goals can be a subcategory of outcome goals because they both prioritize the end results.
It’s not always a bad idea to have an outcome goal in mind when you get started on your health and fitness journey — it’s what motivates you to take the first steps. However, it is a bad idea to be dead focused on them since you cannot always control the results (or how fast you achieve them).
You might have a busy month at work which prevents you from working out and dropping a few pounds during that time. You might catch a cold and find it challenging to stick to your restrictive diet. You might even sprain your ankle and be bedridden for a month, causing you to gain a few pounds.
If you are dead focused on your outcome goals in these situations, you’d already failed.
Instead, focus on the process. Use your vague and outcome goals to determine the things you can do to improve.
Do you want to go from size 14 to size 8? To lose weight, you’ll need to do a few things like start working out or eating healthier. How can you do that? You can join a fitness program like Elite Edge, commit to working out at least an hour each week, eat until you’re no longer hungry (not until you’re stuffed), start cooking at home more often instead of eating out.
3. Avoid goals
If you want to achieve success, you’ll need to steer clear of the “avoid” goals. You know the ones — stop smoking, don’t order deliveries, stop eating candy bars, no more nighttime snacks, no more eating carbs.
While these goals seem healthy and straightforward, they’re the most difficult to accomplish. They trigger your rebel side, getting you to want to do these things even more now that they’re forbidden. What’s worse, they leave no room for slip-ups and mistakes.
Once you’ve set a “no more nighttime snacks goal,” it’s easy to give up on the whole thing the first time your cravings get the better of you.
What you want to do is encourage good behaviors instead of avoiding bad ones. If you simply cannot get around your nighttime snacks, instead of going for a chocolate bar, get a healthy chocolate-flavored protein blend. If you usually take a smoke break in mid-afternoon, get a tea or coffee break instead. Focus on shaping positive behaviors rather than simply avoiding the negative ones.
4. Performance goals
Finally, you’ll want to avoid setting performance goals that focus on external validation — get a promotion, outperform a competitor, or earn a gold medal at your next competition.
Much like outcome goals, you can rarely control your performance goals. Your boss might see your coworker as a more suitable candidate for the promotion, and your competitor might be better prepared than you; a blister you received while wearing new shoes two days ago could prevent you from earning a gold medal at the competition.
Instead of looking for external validation, start working on self-improvement and give yourself some room for errors. Set a goal to improve your bench-press form instead of trying to out-bench-press a competitor. Instead of trying to win a gold medal, focus on performing to the best of your ability at the given moment. If you want to get a promotion, focus on becoming more efficient and cooperative.
Setting the proper health and fitness goals can help you become your best self. Avoid being vague, prioritizing results, clinging to bad behaviors, and seeking external validation. Only focus on the things that are within your control and constantly work on self-improvement.