Setting Your Exercise Goals
Research shows that a good approach towards creating a successful habit is by setting goals. These goals can of course be highly individual—the key is finding goals that match your personal level, ones that both challenge you and allow you to maintain exercise in the long run.
Last week’s blog post dealt with incorporating exercise and movement in an already busy life. This week we are focusing on establishing goals that ensure we succeed in implementing exercise and maintaining it, even if there is some resistance along the way. Find your starting point with Elsa’s four points to set up your goals!
1. Start with yourself—be realistic
The goal should be based on you and your physical condition. Have a look at yourself and your situation to identify a realistic level for your goal. If you are aware that it is difficult for you to make time for exercise, do not set a daily exercise goal. Alternatively, if you are already walking three miles several times a week, then your goal should be set a bit higher to be challenging and feel stimulating. In other words, it is about finding the balance between what is reasonable and what is challenging.
2. Make the goal measurable
When has a goal been achieved? If the goal is to finish a race at a running event, then it is clear when you have reached your goal. But if you have other, more ambiguous goals it can be hard to say when you have actually achieved what you are striving for. The goal “I want to be stronger” is too vague. Instead, set a measurable goal like, “I will do ten push-ups”. Then you can see both when you are approaching your goal and when you have truly accomplished it.
3. Devise a practical plan
In order to succeed with your goal, it is important to consider when, where, and how you are going to exercise—simply put, that you have devised a practical plan for achieving your goal. You could formulate it as “I will do a group fitness class at the gym, 10 AM on Tuesdays, and jog a mile on the running trail at 6 PM on Thursdays.” It may seem a bit rigid, but being concrete helps you both plan and work out if the goal is reasonable.
Also, begin to make plans for those times when your body is not fully cooperating with you. If the day comes where jogging is a no-go, have alternatives ready—a walk, yoga, or maybe swimming? Even if the original plan is not possible, make sure to incorporate some kind of physical activity.
4. Celebrate your victories
You will experience periods where you are smoothly sailing and everything seems easy. You will also experience periods where it feels overwhelming, for a variety of reasons. But hold on—make use of your backup plans when needed. It is about both celebrating your victories and sticking it out when it is tough. And when you have made your way through a rough patch, this should also be seen as a victory worth celebrating, on the way to building a new routine.
Make use of Elsa
You can use the Elsa app to set up training goals and log your physical activity. Elsa can also help you evaluate the goals you have set through weekly follow-ups and monthly reviews. This allows you to consider how it went. Was the goal too tough and needs adjusting? Was it challenging, but makes you feel you are on the right track? Or have you achieved your goal and even want to set new, more challenging goals?
Feel free to read more about physical activity in Elsa’s program. There, you will also find tips on how to deal with pain when exercising, and how you can find, or regain, your motivation.