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Learn how to set realistic goals and take things one step at a time so you can achieve your resolutions

by Tina Ornezeder | Staff

On January 1, we are all excited to tackle our goals for this year. Everything should be different: I want to lose weight, eat healthier and get in better shape. These are just a few of the most popular resolutions. But after the first few weeks of the new year, our motivation tends to slump. Don’t freak out and don’t give up! We have five easy tips for you on the right way to set goals and stay on the ball.

1. The S.M.A.R.T. way to set goals

Getting off to a good start is crucial to achieving your goals. How do you set goals? You should give the S.M.A.R.T method a try:

S – specific: Make your goal specific for you! Think about what “run more,” “get more exercise,” and “eat healthier” mean to you personally and write it down.

M – measurable: Define interim goals on the path to success. For example, if your goal is to work out 3x per week, put a star in your calendar for every day you went running or were more active at work.

A – attainable: Before starting to work towards your goals, ask yourself if they are realistic. Keep in mind that it is better to take small steps than ten at once.

R – relevant: How relevant is your goal for you? Ask yourself this question at the beginning. If you feel that your goal doesn’t get you one step closer to your big picture, then choose a different one right from the start.

T – time-bound: Set a date on which you wish to reach this goal! Work towards this deadline and (when you reach it) reward yourself with some new sports apparel, a wonderful vacation or dinner at your favorite restaurant. I believe in you – and you should, too!

women in sportswear high five smart target setting

Taking the S.M.A.R.T approach to goal setting will keep both your motivation and enjoyment levels high.

2. Take things step by step

“You can reach your goals if you go step by step. Take your time and remember: don’t pressure yourself!”

You want to go for a walk every day, prepare your meals for work, go climbing once a month, cut out sugar, do bodyweight training three times a week, sleep an extra hour every night… Let’s be honest: that’s too many goals all at once. There is no way you will be able to meet all of these. Instead, try going step by step. Next month, try taking the stairs rather than the elevator. In spring, cut sugar out of your diet for a month. In August, plan to prepare your meals for work, and in winter try to do three bodyweight workouts a week and go to bed earlier during this dark time of year. So, how does that sound? I’m sure your goals now seem a lot more attainable and you no longer feel like, “Where should I begin?!”

You can reach your goals if you go step by step. Take your time and remember: don’t pressure yourself!

3. Use the power of your mind

Okay, this motivational tip does sound kind of esoteric. But it’s true: use the power of your mind to keep yourself motivated. How does it work? Visualize your goals. Imagine how you will feel once you have achieved your goals. Does it feel good? Then keep going. Repeat your personal mantra to yourself several times a day. It could be something like “I can do this. I’m strong,” or “Today’s bodyweight training is going to be a huge success. I can hang on. It’s making me stronger!”
Remember that the key to achievement and success is in your head! So believe in yourself! If you do, your actions will follow your thoughts.

4. Exercise with like-minded people

You are relaxing on the couch, the living room is comfortably warm, and you don’t really feel like working out? Get your friends involved!

three runners on the street setting goals exercise with like-minded people

Use crowd pressure to your advantage - running with friends can motivate you to stick to your goals.

If you set up one group workout session per week (or more, if you like), you will have no problem overcoming your weaker self. I’m pretty sure you won’t cancel on your friends just because you would rather take a nap.
Plus, going for a run or doing bodyweight training with your friends or coworkers is simply more fun and it brings you all closer together.

5. Try out new things

“The main thing is to have fun! Don’t copy other people, but listen to yourself.”

Do you want to get more active? Are you thinking about going running but deep down inside you know that you don’t really like this activity? Then don’t torture yourself – there are lots of different activities you can do. Ride a bike, take a walk, go hiking in the mountains or do a bodyweight workout once a week. The main thing is to have fun! Don’t copy other people, but listen to yourself. Try out fitness activities that you like to do and that make you feel good.

What resolutions have you made for this year? What personal goals would you like to achieve? Tell us more about them in the comments below and share with us your tips & tricks for keeping your motivation up!

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