What’s your Fitness Goal?

By Corley McBeth, DPT

Far too often people associate being fit with being thin. But saying “I want to lose weight” isn’t a great goal, especially not as it relates to fitness. For starters, it’s not specific enough and there is no set time frame (more on that later). But more than that, it misses the mark because it fails to convey a positive association or action related to strength, vigor, or stamina. “Losing” is an action verb, but there are plenty of better options such as “run”, “lift”, or “finish”. The focus when it comes to fitness should be on something you want to achieve and ideally relate to movement. Climb Mount Rainier? Hike Mount Si? Complete your first marathon? Run your first 5K? Try yoga for the first time? The use of affirmative language is important. Say what it is you want to do, not what you won’t do. Your energy should be on the desired movement outcome. We need to shift the focus away from the scale and back to those things that bring us a greater sense of accomplishment and internal (as well as external) strength.

Once you’ve identified your fitness goal, make it measurable. Figure out a time line and consider breaking your big goal down into smaller goals. Setting a goal that you can achieve in a shorter amount of time will help you build confidence and consistency. Dates help to keep you accountable. “A goal without a date is just a dream”. Good goals are also specific and concise. And they are also realistic. While goals are meant to help stretch you outside your comfort zone, it is also important to not aim impossibly high. Try to find a happy medium by stepping just outside your comfort zone.

Be sure to write your goals down, and review them frequently. Seek out support you need along the way (your Movement Systems Physical Therapist would be happy to help guide or cheerlead!). Aiming for consistent progress toward meaningful goals of health and fitness will ultimately lead to a higher quality of life.