How do I decide what exercise goals are important?

To figure out what goals are important think about the psychological (able to think more clearly, able to sleep better, being more positive, better able to deal with stress and anxiety) and physical (able to climb stairs, healthy weight, looking good and feeling strong) areas of your exercise that are most important. On a scale of one to ten (one describing an area that needs work and ten describing an area as perfect) rate yourself on those areas and figure out where you want to be. The discrepancy is the region of growth you need to achieve your goals.

Start with a visit to your physician for a check-up. Then address any areas of concern first. So if you have high blood pressure, or are over weight, then you will have a good starting point. Anything that affects your long-term health would be very important to address. Secondly, focus on value-driven goals. So it is more important to lose weight so that you can take part in fun activities with your family than it is to lose weight to fit into your high school jeans.

In setting exercise goals think about why you want to exercise; lets call this your long term goal. For example, to lose weight, to have more energy, or so you can be active. Once you have figured out your long term goal you can build short term goals that will help get you to your long term goals. For example, if your long term goal is to lose weight some short term goals might include: eating 2 more servings of fruit a week, drinking 64 ounces of water and exercising 3 days a week. Your goals should be realistic; within your reach. Your goals should follow the SMART principle: specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time based in order for them to give you enough information to follow and keep you on track. 

Perhaps you can best answer this question with a few simpler, more direct questions. For example, please consider some of the following questions:

  • What goals are important to you? This is personal, so you have to decide for yourself, what is important to you? Some examples can be but not limited to, losing weight, gaining strength, relieving stress, toning up, better sports performance, better check up report from your doctor, or simply going through your daily activities with greater ease.
  • WHY are they important to you? Nothing will keep you more focused on achieving your goal than constantly reminding yourself WHY you are working towards this goal.
  • How will you feel if you achieve your goal? How will you feel if you don’t?
  • What does your doctor think? Always consult your doctor before embarking on a fitness program. Get a checkup and his/her feedback on what you can do to improve.
  • Can these goals be achieved on your own? Do you require guidance, assistance, support or more knowledge on how you will achieve this goal?
  • What one action could you start off with that would have the greatest impact on your overall health, fitness, and mental well-being?

Sometimes we don’t have all the answers and that’s okay. Just ask better questions!

Good Luck!

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.