Kickstart your fitness with these simple cardio-free workouts – download for FREE!


Tips for Setting Fitness Goals

Last week I shared some of my past mistakes around warming up. This week, let’s talk about mistakes I’ve made in goal setting! I love setting new goals at the start of a new year, and I especially love setting new fitness goals. I’ve seen some of my old lists, and some of them are pretty wild. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it might be more useful to set goals that are actually reasonable. If setting some goals helps motivate you, that’s great. I’m going to share some dos and don’ts, and a few strategies for setting goals.

What to Avoid in Setting Movement Goals

  • Don’t overdo it. I’ve started a year with way too many things I hoped to do, listing multiple different athletic events I wanted to do, and it just ends up being too much. This can lead to feeling burned out, disappointed, and frustrated.
  • Don’t spread yourself too thin. Sometimes, I’ve set goals that were just too disparate from each other. While you can run and also powerlift, setting a goal to add 30% to your squat 1RM and also run a marathon within the same year might be trying to put your apples in too many different baskets. (That is what that saying is, right? Is it eggs and baskets? I don’t know, hopefully you get the idea.)

What to Do in Setting Goals

  • Leave yourself some wiggle room. Injuries happen, illness happens, sometimes work or kids or whatever gets in the way of your training. Set goals that allow some space for this. Leaving yourself some wiggle room is also helpful in case you change your mind about what you want to focus on six months from now. (Not that I know anyone who does that. I certainly have never messaged a coach to say I wanted to sign up for a new kind of event I’ve never done before and then signed up before he even had a chance to respond.)
  • Prioritize what you think is important. If you have multiple different movement goals, think about which ones are most important to you, especially if some of them are events or competitions. Some runners will talk about A and B races, where the A race is the one you have serious goals for, and B races are the ones you’re doing for fun. This can be a good approach to other competitions if you’re doing a lot of different things. Some people find that approach challenging, as they just go all out for everything, so knowing yourself is helpful, too!

Techniques for Goal Setting

There’s a lot of different strategies for setting goals, and they all have their pros and cons. 

  • SMART Goals
    • Technique: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. This approach provides a clear framework for setting goals, making them more actionable and attainable. SMART goals were developed in the business world and have gradually become standard in many different realms. These can provide a helpful format, but SMART goals can also be too narrow and restrictive for some types of goals. Sometimes the obsession with making the goal measurable can end up making it challenging to use.
  • BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goals)
    • Technique: Think big! Set ambitious goals that push your limits. While BHAGs may seem daunting, they can be incredibly motivating and inspiring. BHAGs may not be ideal for annual goals because the point is that they’re giant, pie-in-the-sky goals. 
  • Micro Goals
    • Technique: Break down large goals into smaller, more manageable steps. This approach helps you stay focused, celebrate small victories, and build momentum over time. So for example, if your goal is to compete in strongman, maybe the micro-goal is to come to Strongman Saturday twice a month.

Setting fitness goals is a powerful motivator, but you want your goals to be a source of inspiration, not aggravation. Avoid overloading yourself, and embrace goal-setting techniques that suit your lifestyle. Whether you prefer SMART goals, BHAGs, or micro goals, the key is finding an approach that keeps you moving forward.

Remember, it’s okay to reassess and adjust your goals as you evolve throughout the year. Happy goal setting!

Excited to crush your 2024 fitness goals? Our coaches are here to guide you! Schedule a no-sweat intro today and let’s chat about the exciting journey ahead. For current clients, consider a goal review to ensure your aspirations align with your path to success.

fill out this form to get started >>

Take the first step towards getting the results that you want!