How to stick to your fitness goals

woman squatting with band
woman squatting with band

When starting a new workout routine, it’s so easy to start and then fall off. Especially if you’re setting broad, vague goals that are harder to achieve. In this post, I break down exactly how to set and stick to your fitness goals so that you can finally get strong and hike those dream trails!

Write it down

When you write down your goals, you’re committing to them! Take out a piece of paper, open a Google Doc, or the notes app on your phone, and write down what your goals are. Do it now and once you’ve done it, move on to the next step.


Make sure your goals are realistic

This one is the most important step of all. It’s so easy to say I’m going to lose 100 lbs this year (as an example), or I’m going to go from 0 to hiking the John Muir Trail this year. Although not impossible, that’s a huge leap. Often why we drop off from our goals and never make it to the finish line is because our goals are too broad, they’re too vague. This makes it seem like this overwhelming thing that you can’t achieve.


Remember, you can get there! Start with realistic goals. Perhaps instead of jumping to lose 100 lbs, start with 20. Or instead of jumping to thru-hike 221 miles if you haven’t hiked before, start with a 10 mile day hike, then a 20 mile round trip backpacking trip.


Below we’re going to combine the first two steps so you have a game plan.


Break it down into actionable steps

In the first step, you wrote down your goals, and in the second step, we talked about making sure your goals are realistic. Now let’s break them down into actionable and bite sized steps.


This will give you a ladder to climb to reach your big overall goal.


Grab where you wrote down your goals and think about how you can put them into action. What do you need to do first? Join a gym? Get exercise equipment at home?


If you’ve never done cardio before, don’t jump to 45 minutes. Start with 20 minutes and build up. Same with strength training. Start with 2 to 3 days per week and build up to 5 days per week. Break it all down.


Losing 100 lbs is great! But first, let’s lose 2 lbs, then 5 lbs, then 10 lbs, then 20 lbs, and so forth.


Hiking 20 miles in a day is also a great goal! But first, let’s hike 5 miles, then 7 miles, then 10 miles, then 12 miles, then 15 miles, then 17 miles, then finally 20 miles.


And write down what you need to do to get there! To improve your endurance and build up to hiking 10+ miles, what do you need to start with. Do you need to start doing cardio for 20 miles and strength training for 20 minutes 3 days per week? Then build up to 45 minutes, and so forth.


This way, you can check off each step as you get closer to that goal!


There is no right or wrong way to do this. It’s your goal, it’s your body, your fitness, so break it down the way you need so it fits with your life and what your dreams are.


Create a timeline

Let’s set some dates to the last step! Now you’ve broken down your goal into bite size and actionable steps, put some dates behind them!


Now be realistic. You’re not going to go from 2 miles to 10 miles in a week. Again, you’re unique! Make sure the timeline fits you and your life! If you’re too ambitious, you won’t achieve your goals and then you’ll get discouraged and not stick with your goals. It’s not a race, it’s a marathon. Set goals, actionable steps, and a timeline that works for you.


Commit to no more excuses

You heard me right. No more excuses!


We all have the same 24 hours per day. Yes, we have homework, full time jobs, kids, etc. But when you commit to making no excuses and commit to intentionally moving your body and your goals, you can make this happen!


As you start working out and commit to sticking with it, it will become a habit and become easier to not make excuses.


If you do believe that you have no time, for 3 days I want you to write down every single thing you did all day from the second you got up to when you went to bed, and how long you did that activity for. You’ll start to notice, where you’re wasting your time. And how you can spend that time exercising! Perhaps you can give up that hour of scrolling on Instagram and instead spend that time exercising.


Sometimes it’s also better to act before you think. When your alarm goes off at 5am for you to get up and workout, don’t think about it and how more comfortable your bed is, just get up, put on your workout clothes, and get to the gym.


Get a workout buddy

Sometimes you just need someone to hold you accountable. Grab one of your hiking buddies and commit to holding each other accountable. Go to the gym and work out together, or hold each other accountable digitally! Do daily check ins with each other. Having someone holding you accountable is going to keep you going even on days when we want to stay in bed.


Reward yourself

When you reach a milestone, reward yourself! Like the first time you can hike 10 miles, or when you hit 45 minutes of cardio, when you lose 2 pounds, etc!


Do something that won’t undo your hard work. Like treat yourself to a massage, a spa date, take that trip you’ve always wanted to go on, go shopping, or whatever will help you celebrate your achievement.


Remember to celebrate the small wins and the big wins in life! Celebrate all the wins.

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