There are some goals that you are prouder of than others.
For instance, my goal of completing 10 push-ups isn’t something that I would necessarily brag about. My husband actually had a goal of doing 100 in a row when we first met (and I was struggling to finish just ONE). But I am proud to say that I can now successfully do 10 ‘real ones,’ unbroken and with mostly proper form— it only took me one year to accomplish.
The goal I had before the push-ups is much less embarrassing. I wanted to beat my mile time from middle school. It would be on a treadmill, but still a worthwhile goal. It took me almost two years to run a mile in under 6 minutes.
Here is what I learned from working toward both—very different—fitness goals:
1. Writing your goals down is essential, and keeping them top-of mind pushes you.
I added a couple extra push-ups during my strength workouts and before yoga sessions to try to get to 10.
During treadmill runs, I would increase the speed and constantly calculate the corresponding mile times, wanting to be ready for ‘the run.’
2. Having mini-goals along the way is encouraging and keeps the end-goals achievable.
Push-ups: I first aimed to complete 3, then 5, and 7, and finally 10!
Running: I initially aimed to be under 6:30, then 6:15, and then 6:00, progressing the times over 3-6 month intervals.
3. Rewards are motivating!
I committed to splurging on new Lululemon clothes when I accomplished my running goal, and constantly remembered this when I would get tired during training.
I think I would have reached 10 push-ups MUCH faster if I had a tangible reward in mind—I was less motivated.
4. It’s beneficial to have balanced and different types of goals.
Both cardio and strength goals improved my fitness in complimentary ways. I intend to incorporate balance/rest/and yoga-ish goals next.
5. Telling someone your goals and measuring your progress keeps you accountable.
I took photos of my mile times and would frequently reference them on my phone.
My husband would randomly ask how my push-ups were going, reminding me to keep training.
6. Be flexible with adjusting your goals (and timelines).
Both goals had longer timelines and I had to concentrate on reaching milestones along the way.
Lockdowns and quarantine changed my plans (along with everyone else’s), and forced me to come up with new exercise goals.
7. Don’t set too many goals or do too many things at once!
When I was working on achieving my running time, that was the only fitness goal I had. Almost everything I did aimed to improve my speed and mile endurance.
Push-ups weren’t my favorite (and honestly I still dread them), but I was able to focus on finishing them. Now that I’ve completed 10 in a row, I can work on something else!
Keeping your goals SMART—Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound—can really help you succeed. Best of luck crushing them!