Fitness - Setting your Goals

Strategies for setting goals are predominantly relevant for the exercise novice. One main reason for quitting is the failure to meet goals and expectations, for the most part within the first six months of beginning an exercise routine. This is why it is so vital to help people have convincing expectations regarding exercise outcomes, and to appreciate the need to be persistent in overcoming years of leading an inactive lifestyle. The guidelines of having short-term, performance-based objectives that are not too challenging will more likely boost confidence and embolden exercise adherence to their programme than an individual who determines that they are powerless to meet the disproportionate demands of the exercise programme. Dropping out is heralded by feelings of feebleness and low self-control.

Example goals in exercise settings include something like trying to complete

twenty minutes of non-stop running on the treadmill,

attempting to complete three quality sets of a certain upper body exercise like the bench press

reaching a certain heart-rate during fartlek training.

As can be seen, these examples are performance-based goals, as opposed to outcome goals (like a certain amount of fat loss), which are long-term, not short-term goals and are under less will power. Having convincing goals is the key to long-term commitment to any exercise routine. It will most certainly not take a mere two weeks to become super-fit and super-healthy. There will always be some degree of distress due to the fact that when we exercise and raise the heart rate, or increase muscular strength, we are placing stress on our system for which it is unfamiliar. This is why the method of exercise over time to progress fitness is called training.


  • Anshel, Mark H..Applied exercise psychology a practitioner's guide to improving client health and fitness. New York, NY: Springer Pub., 2006. 


  • Blair, S.N., A.N. Dunn, B.H. Marcus, R.A. Carpenter, and P. Jaret. 2001. Active Living Every Day. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.
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