Sunday, March 25, 2012

Setting Effective Exercise Goals

As people start a new workout routine, many set goals. Goals are a great way to keep you on track, if they are done right. Follow these tips to set yourself up for success.

Personalize your goals. Set goals that are just for you. Don't set goals based on others. What is good for one person, may not be so good for you.

Set realistic goals. Healthy weight loss happens slowly. This means losing about 1-2 pounds a week. If you set a huge, unrealistic goal you will feel disappointed and discouraged. Setting unrealistic goals may lead to you becoming frustrated and then giving up.

Be specific. "Exercise more" is too general and can be hard to follow, and easy to give up on. Set a measurable goal like "exercise 4 times a week." A more specific goal can be easier to follow.

Make short term and long term goals. If you just set one big long term goal, it may seem impossible to hit and leave you feeling discouraged. If you set many short term goals, they can lead you to your long term goal. Instead of making you goal "I want to lose 50 pounds", try something like "I want to lose 5 pounds each month."

Document. Writing your goals down can give you a reminder and keep you thinking about your goals. Also, you won't forget them!

Tell others. Telling others about your goals can give you more encouragement. This can leave you accountable to achieving success.

Set a date. Set a date to when you want to achieve your goals by. If you say "I want to lose 10 pounds", you could spend the next 20 years trying to lose 20 pounds. Instead, say "I want to lose 10 pounds by the end of May." This will give you a timeline to keep you on track.

Evaluate. It is important to evaluate your progress. Think about what worked and what did not. Your goals may need adjusted if they are not realistic or you need to take on greater challenges.

It feels great when you accomplish a goal, so make smart ones!

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