How to Set Fitness Goals

My adolescent years were spent abhorring exercise. I reluctantly quit dance and tennis because of a persistent injury but even once I was able to return to activity, I was too cool for it. By freshman year of college, I begrudgingly did 20 minutes on the elliptical on the weekends, but you’d be hard pressed to find me doing any more than that.

A few years later, I’ve done a complete turnaround. I get antsy when I can’t go to the gym and I do a dance of joy whenever I can lift heavier than I see a guy doing. This was a slow transition, but one I’m happy I made. I don’t turn to fitness just to make aesthetic changes in my body, but rather because I enjoy it and it makes me feel good.


Health and fitness goals are such staples of new year’s resolutions that they might suffer from being too broad to actually be achievable if you don’t already have an established plan. “Lose weight” or “go to the gym every day” are fine, but there’s not much to work towards and the lack of specificity in these goals is almost sure to lead to abandoning them. Here I have a few of my own health and fitness goals I’ve used over the years to help give you some guidance if you feel you need it.

Try new things. One of my personal resolutions this year is to mix up my fitness routine. I have access to a gym with so many different classes, and yet I don’t go to any of them because I’m intimidated. My first foray into group classes is going to be boxing (which I’ve wanted to do for ages but have always been too scared to try) and I bought boxing gloves so I can’t back out now. Take advantage of whatever free trials or sample classes you can get or try out new classes at your gym if you have a membership. The worst thing that can happen is that you were out of your element for an hour. Not only is trying new workouts good for you physically, it’s also a good mental challenge if you’re an introvert like me.


Aim for weight. For those of you who already favor resistance or strength training but want to turn it up a notch, try aiming for a specific weight on an exercise. Personally, I want to squat equivalent to my bodyweight. I’ve been strength training for about a year but I’ve shied away from squat racks and the more “bro” section of the gym, so this is my way of pushing my comfort zone. Yours might be to deadlift the heaviest kettlebell or use the biggest medicine ball. Pick an exercise, pick a weight, and work your way up to it.

Feeling over numbers. Especially after putting on some holiday fluff, it can be tempting to try and hit a goal weight in the new year. 2017 saw some setbacks for me in terms of eating disorder recovery and I can’t say that I’m proud of how often I became obsessed with the number on the scale. While I do want to lean down a little bit, I’m not pushing it. I want to focus on feeling energized and nourished on a daily basis, but I realize this is certainly easier said than done. I’m using a fitness journal to keep track of my food and workouts and I’m not letting myself get on a scale unless I have to (like at the doctor’s office). I’m not expecting every day to be perfect, but I am trying my best every day.

Let me know in the comments if you have any tips to sticking to or creating new fitness goals – I’d love to hear them!

One thought on “How to Set Fitness Goals

  1. Great advice! I definitely think that staying off the scale is a key factor in reaching fitness goals. I believe you should go by how you feel and look rather then set a number for yourself. Muscle weighs a lot!

    Happy New Year!


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