Being and staying consistent with fitness goals is the single biggest key to success. This, more than motivation, helps you reach higher highs than ever before, and lets you keep making steps forward.
In this comprehensive guide, we will be exploring goal-setting strategies that are incredibly effective, methods to maintain consistency within your training and new ways to track progress along your path.
These lessons aren't only for creating a healthier, fitter you, they can be applied to any part of your life to let you achieve your dreams.
Table of Contents:
- The Power of Goal-Setting
- SMART Goals: Setting the Foundation
- Long-Term Vision: Aligning Goals
- Goal Adjustments: Staying on Track
- Maintaining Workout Consistency
- Routine Building: Your Fitness Framework
- Accountability: Staying Motivated
- Variety and Enjoyment: Preventing Boredom
- Tracking Progress
- Keeping Records: Your Workout Journal
- Measuring Performance: Progress Assessment
- Celebrating Achievements: Small Wins Matter
- The Science of Consistency
- Study: Goal-Setting and Exercise Adherence
- Conclusion: Building Lasting Health Habits
The Power of Goal-Setting:
As health and fitness coaches, one of the first lessons we taught our clients was to set SMART goals, which is a super powerful acronym for success.
Each letter of SMART ties to a different part of goals and they all have their place.
- Specific: When you set goals, they should be well defined and clear. If you leave room for ambiguity or confusion it is often easy to get lost in the details and give yourself a reason to fail.
- Measurable: Your goals should follow set criteria that will allow you to track progress along the path and give you flags (either green or red) that let you know if/when you have achieved them.
- Achievable: Any goal that is set should be attainable given what you have access to with resources, talents and any constraints, either financial or time.
- Relevant/Realistic: Anything that you achieve should align with your overall ideal goal.
- Time-Bound/Timely: If you don't set a time frame or deadline to add accountability and urgency, people are more likely to stop working towards goals and put them on the back burner.
When you set SMART goals, your chance for success increases because you have created a clear, precise roadmap to follow, making it easier to stick to the plan.
If you are looking towards the future, and we don't mean tomorrow or next week, you are more likely to stay dedicated to your journey. This focus on the future allows for a better understanding of WHY you are taking this challenge head on. You can and should set short-term goals as well, that help build towards that future vision, but they shouldn't be the end all be all.
As with any journey, sometimes you have to make pit stops or adjust how you approach your overall goals.
Adjusting goals allows for flexibility within your path, which makes sure that everything you do remains challenging, yet attainable. This means that you can move the goal posts further ahead to strike harder, or move them closer to help build success and store momentum for the way ahead.
Maintaining Workout Consistency:
Maintaining your workout consistency isn't always easy, in fact, it can be incredibly hard, especially in the beginning. To help fight against dropping off, we recommend our patent pending (only joking) R.A.V.E method.
If you have routine, accountability, variety and enjoyment all together, you'll have R.A.V.E results.
If you haven't been to the gym before in your life or it's been a while, creating a structure training routine makes it easier to stay committed for the long haul.
When you create (or find) a routine, it is important that your lifestyle works well with it. We highly recommend asking yourself these questions when designing your program.
- How many days a week can regularly fit into my schedule?
- How long on each day can I spend focusing on my goals?
- Does my budget allow for what I am looking to do? If not, how can I reach the goals in the same way?
- How can I track what I am doing?
While we can't answer all of these questions for you, we do have a basic powerlifting program that is free to use/download that may help you get a good start. Follow THIS LINK to get it now!
For those really wanting to dominate their journey and keep moving forward, finding accountability is an underrated addition to plan.
Getting a partner to train with regularly or joining a gym that has classes you can get involved in to stay motivated helps massively with accountability and success. Classes in particular help build community and foster friendships which not only last a life time, but they will be there and progress with you.
Another option is to hire a coach/trainer to build a plan for your progress. This creates double accountability by having both a person to keep track of what you are doing AND it is a financial investment, and no one likes to waste money.
Variety and Enjoyment:
Incorporating a vast array of exercises into your training cycle is another way to create R.A.V.E results that stall boredom and build consistency through dedication.
While variety in training isn't needed for everyone, if you start to feel lost in the gym or like you aren't having fun, throwing in new variations often helps re-spark that fire within your veins.
Other times, if you try different variations of the same workout and don't feel anything in your soul, it may be time to change training styles all together and start a new path towards the same goal. Remember, your fitness adventure isn't solely about the destination, it's about the journey first.
For those who are incredibly serious about hitting fitness goals, it is important to track your progress daily, weekly or monthly to ensure you're actually making progress.
Here are a few tips on what you can do to make sure that your progress isn't stalling along the path:
Keeping records of your training will help keep you on the right path. This can be something as simple as tracking your sets and reps or a combination of how you train, what you eat and if you have body goals, either weight or different measurements.
There are thousands of ways to keep track of this information, from spreadsheets on Google to high tech apps on your phone to the low tech option of just writing down in a journal.
Personally, we use a Google spreadsheet with our training data in it, which is simple, free, and incredibly flexible. There are world class powerlifters at our gym who use the golden method of pen and paper, STILL, and hit world class numbers.
It doesn't matter WHAT you use at this point, just that you do something that matches up with what you want and something you will use as you continue your journey.
When you track your progress, another bonus you will have is measuring your performance and progress.
By regularly assessing your goals and fitness level by taking a look at the data you have collected, you will know that you're getting closer and closer to what you have set out to do.
Don't worry if it seems like there is a little set back in the short term however, take a look at the larger picture and see that you are 100% further than where you were just a few short weeks ago.
One final thing we will hammer into your head is celebrating any achievement that has come across your plate.
While we aren't saying go crazy, celebrating the little things helps motivation stay strong. It also lets you work towards something just a little bit smaller than the big goal. If you hit a low weight, reward yourself with a fun activity or a meal that you have been really looking forward to.
If you hit your biggest goal, have a day set aside to celebrate that success, then hit the ground running towards the next big target. It's what we have used to keep ourselves moving and grooving.
The Science of Consistency:
If you don't believe us about how important consistency is (which would be crazy, because you've made it this far) here is what some of the experts have to say about hitting your goals.
Scientific research supports the importance of consistency in achieving fitness goals. A study published in the "Journal of Sport and Health Science" (2018) explored the relationship between goal-setting and exercise adherence. The findings revealed that individuals who set specific and attainable goals were more likely to adhere to their exercise routines and maintain consistency.
Conroy, D. E., Elavsky, S., & Hyde, A. L. (2018). Doer's and don'ters: Volitional strategies in the pursuit of exercise goals. Journal of Sport and Health Science, 7(3), 243-251.
As another cornerstone for success, consistency is simply a MUST.
Setting your goals clearly and SMART...ly and establishing a set routine while tracking your progress will allow you to build habits that lead to a lifetime of health and fitness success.
Remember, it's the next step is the most important one you can take on this journey, so enjoy the ride, and keep walking towards the end destination.