Making a SMART goal is the first step to achieving any fitness goal
This means that your fitness goal should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-bound rather than something vague like “I want to be fit, tone up and lose weight.”
“I will lose 20 pounds in 20 weeks by eating 1800 calories each day and doing 30 minutes of cardio and 30 minutes of strength training four times a week” is an example of a SMART fitness goal that you can modify depending on your weight and activity level.
After making your SMART goal, commit to attaining it
Work towards it every day and steer clear of the following five reasons which stop many people from achieving their fitness goals.
1. Not following their diet
Not following the set out eating plan can stop you from ever achieving your fitness goal since your body stores excess calories as fat.
This means that if you eat 500 calories more than you need for your activities each day, your body will store 1lb of fat each week regardless of whether you obtained the calories from healthy chicken sandwiches or unhealthy French fries.
Set a food plan
To attain your fitness goal you must therefore follow your food plan and stick to the number of calories you calculated without letting your cravings or mood determine how many calories you consume.
Manage your cravings
In addition, learn to ask yourself if you are eating because you are hungry, stressed, depressed or anxious when you find yourself reaching for food at the wrong time or craving comfort foods like chocolate, ice cream and mashed potatoes.
If you find that you are engaging in emotional eating because you are stressed, depressed or anxious, deal with the issues causing these feelings since they can wreck total havoc on your fitness goals by keeping you from working out and making you consume calorie dense comfort foods.
2. Not working out with intensity
Not working out at the correct intensity can also curtail your chances of reaching your fitness goal. To rise over this hurdle, ensure that you exercise at moderate intensity for at least 30 minutes 4 times each week.
To determine if you are working out at the correct intensity, calculate your target heart rate and monitor it as you exercise. You can also use the talk test which states that, at a moderate workout intensity, you can engage in a conversation but you cannot sing.
3. Not drinking enough water
Not drinking enough water is another simple thing that can stop you from achieving your fitness goal since dehydration reduces the number of calories your body burns by slowing your metabolic rate.
When you are dehydrated, the function of your kidneys which cleanse blood is also reduced.
This makes the liver take on a bigger part of this role and results in its fat burning capacity being reduced by almost 50%.
Your brain is also affected by dehydration which causes a decline of its cognitive function. As a result, you feel fatigued and less motivated to exercise.
Dehydration also makes you weaker, slows you down and reduces the intensity of your workout.
Furthermore, the production of growth hormone which is a potent fat burning hormone, is also reduced when you are dehydrated. Therefore follow the recommendations of the Institute of Medicine and drink 3 litres a day if you are a man and 2 litres if you are a woman (1).
4. Not having discipline
Not having enough discipline to push through the obstacles can also stop you from seeing the fitness results you want. To strengthen your resolve, identify and write down your personal reasons for wanting to be fit.
These personal reasons which can range from wanting to look good in your wedding dress to desiring to reduce your risk of developing diabetes, will strengthen your will power and keep you motivated until you reach your fitness goal.
In addition, hang a picture of what you will look like once you achieve your fitness goal in your home and look at it whenever you are tempted to binge on the wrong foods or miss a workout.
5. Not having a good attitude
A poor attitude will also stop you from achieving your weight loss goal. Therefore ensure that you have a good attitude by believing that you can attain the fitness goal you have set for yourself.
If you do not believe your current fitness goal, modify it until it becomes a SMART but believable goal.
For example if you do not believe you can lose 100 pounds in 6 months, change your goal to losing 10 pounds in 10 weeks.
In addition, understand that it takes your body a minimum of 21 days of repeating the same behavior before it develops into a habit.
Therefore, when you adopt new behaviors like walking your dog after dinner or eating healthy breakfasts at home, give your body several weeks to adjust and adopt the new changes to reach your fitness goals.