Pedometer Fitness GoalsIt doesn’t matter what your goal may be—to lose inches, to increase your energy, or to simply feel better in the skin you’re in—changing your health and fitness requires a plan of action. Here’s how to set yourself up for success, avoid the goal setting pitfalls and climb your way to the top of the health and happiness game. When you know how to set realistic goals for yourself, there’s no more battle of the bulge, but a walk down easy street.

Know the Big AND the Small Picture

When you know what the ‘big picture’ is—in other words, what you want to ultimately achieve—then, you can build a plan that will allow you to achieve that goal. But, in order to create a realistic plan to achieve your ultimate goal, you need to come up with the ‘small picture’, or those mini-goals you need to accomplish before you can accomplish the ultimate goal.

For example, if your goal is to tone and tighten, as well as lose fifty pounds, then you already know you can’t accomplish that in a week. It’s going to be a process, as it take time to lose your love handles, strengthen your core and transform your body.  Knowing what the ‘small picture’ is will allow you to set realistic mini-goals along the way, so that your focus is on achieving those important milestones, instead of focusing on the frustration that you haven’t met your ultimate goal in record time.

Begin by getting clear on what your big picture goal is, first. Do you want to lose a certain amount of weight? If so, get specific. Come up with a number you want to be on the scale, or a dress size. If it isn’t weight, come up with a statement, such as, “I want to compete in my first 10k marathon this November,” or “I want to increase my stamina and energy.”

Set Realistic Goals According to Your Activity Level Now

smart goal settingOnce you know what your big picture goal is, you can break that down with smaller goals. Let’s say your goal is to run your first 10k. If you haven’t stepped foot in the gym for months (or years) and you can’t remember the last time you took a walk or joined your friend in a cardio class, setting a goal to run your first marathon next month isn’t very realistic. Running a marathon takes not just will power, but physical endurance that requires months of preparation.

Start small (so that right off the bat you feel successful) by committing to running for twenty minutes. What makes sense for your lifestyle—going to the gym three times a week before work, or running outdoors after your work day is over? No matter what your goal may be, think in terms of setting yourself up for success— and you can do this by setting realistic milestones. Do you want to lose weight? If so, monitor your portions so that you can meet your ‘lose 1-2 lbs. a week’ goal with ease!

Give Yourself Weekly Rewards

Set yourself up for weekly goals—and reward yourself at the end of each week that you complete those goals. After eating ‘clean’ all week (staying away from fast food, eliminating processed foods as much as possible, avoiding dessert after dinner), reward yourself with a non-food treat. Treat yourself to a glass of red wine, or get together with your friends for a spa treatment. Whether you make your rewards big or small doesn’t matter, so long as it keeps your drive and momentum to continue the progress going!  In no time at all, you’ll clear out the old, sedentary way of living for a much healthier, active and happier lifestyle!