"Getting in shape" is not a good goal

Most people start a fitness journey with setting goals. Whether someone is just getting starting or they’ve been taking classes for years, here’s the goal I see time and time again: “I want to get in better shape.”
By Monica Hilton
November 19, 2021
"Getting in shape" is not a good goal

Most people start a fitness journey with setting goals. Whether someone is just getting starting or they’ve been taking classes for years, here’s the goal I see time and time again: “I want to get in better shape.”

This comes in various forms: I want to be more fit. I want to lose weight. I want to get stronger.

In comparison to your career, this is essentially the same as saying, “I want to do some work and make some money.”

It’s fairly obvious that in gaining employment, your goal is to exchange your skills for compensation. In the same way, at the gym it goes without saying that your goal is to exert some effort in exchange for improved fitness, strength, etc.

But what exactly does that look like? I mean, EXACTLY. In the moment you’re lacking motivation – to start or to keep going – is your goal of “I’m trying to get fitter” going to get you to move?

Try this instead: When you say you want to lose weight, does that mean 20 pounds? 40 pounds? When you say you want to be more fit, does that mean you want to put on shorts or a swimsuit and feel super-confident? When you say you want to be stronger, do you want to deadlift 200 pounds? Or do a strict pull-up? Do you want the encouragement from working out with others instead of alone in your living room? Do you want to lower your stress or blood pressure? By how much? Do you want to compete in a local competition or marathon?

All of these things are much more specific than “I want to get in shape.” When you can visualize any of these things in your head, how does this change your motivation?

Also, can you assign a target date to any, or all, of these things?

This doesn’t have to stop at physical fitness. What EXACTLY does success look like for you in your career, relationships, finances, etc? Try specifically outlining what life will be like when you achieve these specific goals.

Did you know that in a Harvard Business School study, MBA students were asked, “Have you set clear, written goals for your future and made plans to accomplish them?” Of those who participated, only three percent wrote specific goals and ten years later in the follow-up study, those participants were making 10 times as much money as the other 97 percent combined. (Source: Set Yourself on Fire by Phil Taylor)

Take some time this weekend to clearly outline your goals and let me know how I can help!

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