Should I have short term fitness goals?

Of course you should.  Actually you should have a short term goal and a long term goal.  However don't set yourself up for failure by trying to reach something that is too hard to obtain in the beginning.  Small short term goals help you get a sense of acomplishment while long term goals take awhile to reach and can be frustrating when not reached soon enough.  For example short term goals can be losing weight in a week or month.  Setting something small in the beginning will help you focus on the big picture.  So no matter wether it is to lose weight, eat healthy or change your lifestyle baby steps are the best way to go. 

Yes, short terms goals are important.

Step 1: Create short term goals that will help your forward progress towards your ultimate goal. This may be increasing your power at lactate threshold by 5 watts every 3 weeks or shedding .5 of body fat per week. Incremental goals help keep you on track as you move towards your larger objective. Now’s the time to commit them to paper, just as you have a training calendar that helps you stay focused, write out your short term goals next to each week/month in order to stay committed to the forward progress of your larger goal. Make sure those goals are measurable, for example, watts, pace, weight. While some goals are intangible, these short term goals should build incrementally to your long term goal, and they should be quantifiable.

Step 2: Evaluate your goals. Ask yourself, "Are you committed to your goal?" If your answer is no: figure out what is standing in your way of fully committing. If your answer is yes: Write out a few reasons why you are committed to your goal- these will help remind you about your present state of mind when weeks and months from now you are perhaps losing focus. Is your goal Specific? If it isn’t can you make it more specific? Can you quantify it or measure it in some way? Is your goal challenging but realistic? If you can hit your goal tomorrow, it isn’t challenging. If your goal is to ride in the Tour de France this year and you started racing Cat 5 last year, it isn’t very realistic. Push yourself here, but be grounded in both your experience level AND, perhaps most importantly, the amount of time you have to allot to your goal. Goals take work and work takes time- your goals need to be reasonable given your current amount of “free” time, of which many of us have precious little. If you were struggling to get 5 hours of training in last year and your goals are going to require 20 hours of training, you need to scale back.

Robert DeVito

Having long-term and short-term fitness goals is an important part of a successful plan.
Just as, if not more important is the TYPE of goal that you set (Qualitative/Quantitative or Habit/Outcome).

An example of an outcome goal would be to lose 20 pounds. An example of a habit goal is to eat 4 meals per day, drink 96 oz. of water per day, read for 15 minutes per day and exercise 4-5 times per week.

The habit goals, when properly set and executed, will lead you to the outcome.

To me, a long-term goal is anything over 3 months. I like to see people set short-term goals monthly, weekly and immediate (daily).

This style of goal setting tends to keep people engaged in thier goals and focused on thier actions and habits. It is much easier to measure short-term or immediate goals than it is long-term goals. 


Having long-term goals is important because you must know what you are achieving.

Having short-term goals is vital because it keeps you engaged and focused.

Mr. Donovan Green
Athletic Training
Short term goals are important in fitness and life. In this video, Dr. Oz's personal trainer, Donovan Green, describes how you can incorporate short term goals into your routine.

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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.