Achieving your fitness goals – one step at a time

Published on: 27 February 2019
By admin

Goal setting is not for everybody but if you haven’t tried it then I would recommend giving it a go to help you on your health & fitness journey.

Goal setting is a great way to keep on track and stay motivated. It is important when setting goals that we look at the bigger picture. If you know where you want to get to, then you can work out how you are going to get there.

When working with clients I like to ask them 3 questions :

  • What they want to achieve?
  • What is their long-term goal?
  • How would they define success ?

This is a great starting point to work from, we can then build on this to become more specific and set medium- and short-term goals that we can work towards to help them achieve their long-term goals.

It is important when setting goals that they are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time Bound). Setting unrealistic “airy-fairy” goals with no reference points or timeframes can be very demoralising and it is highly likely that you will not adhere to them, leading to failure.

If, for example, I have a client who wants to be able to run 10km and currently they are only able to run a minute or two at a time, then that would be a good goal to work towards. So, let’s look at it in terms of being SMART.

Specific – Making a goal specific means it needs to be precise and clear in relation to the overall objective. So, for my client the goal would be to be able to run 10km in 6 months’ time. Perhaps we could even look ahead 6 months for a 10km event that my client could take part in as a focus for them to work towards.

Measurable – For a goal to be measurable it must be easy to determine if a goal has been achieved. For my client we will easily be able to measure this goal by finishing a 10km event, running the distance on a treadmill or using a measuring device to measure the distance they have run.

Achievable (Attainable) – Goals should be achievable; they can be set high but need to be realistic and within the goal setter’s capacity to attain. My client is currently fit, healthy and free from injury so there is no reason why they would be unable to work up to run 10km, especially as in the past they have been able to run 5km.

Relevant – Goals need to be important to the person setting the goal and something that inspires or excites them. Whilst my client does not enjoy running and they currently find it difficult, they enjoy how the post-run feelings of satisfaction (sometimes euphoria!) and they love the physiological benefits that they get from running.

Time Bound – Goals that have a specific time frame increase the likelihood of achieving the goal. Giving my client 6 months to run 10km will give plenty of time to build up their running distance and their stamina and allow for illness, injury and holidays that might occur during the 6 months. We can break the goal down quite easily into smaller goals that we can hit along the way.

Short term goal – Complete Couch to 5K(2 months)

Medium term goal – Run 7.5km (4 months)

Long term goal – Complete 10km race (6 months)

So what else needs to be considered ?

Once you have decided on your goal I would recommend you break it down into smaller actions that will help you reach your goal, these could be daily or weekly actions.

For my client, to help them achieve their goal of running 10km it is important that they keep fit and healthy, so good nutrition and hydration is important. Regular stretching will be essential too, to decrease the risk of injury, so I might suggest they set the following weekly and daily actions.

Weekly Actions

  • Run 3 times a week following a recommended 10km training plan.
  • Complete one Pilates, yoga or stretch class/session a week
  • Foam roller (stretching with a foam roller) twice a week

Daily actions

  • Drink 2 litres of water a day
  • Minimum of 10,000 steps a day

By completing the daily and weekly goals my client will be in the best position to smash their longer term goal!

A final word about achieving your goals – one way of maximising your chances of hitting a stretching target is to make sure you have support in place. That could be finding a running / gym buddy, joining a targeted Facebook group  or enlisting the help of a personal trainer.

So what are you waiting for?! Grab a pen and some paper and start to jot down ideas of what you would like to work towards. If you think you could do with some guidance on setting and achieving your goals then you can find me on Facebook @EmmaBPersonalTraining , via email at or contact me through my website

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