With the Sochi Olympic Winter Games well underway, we can learn a lot from our Canadian athletes about how to set and reach goals. Let’s use this knowledge to apply Olympic-level savvy to your own fitness goals this year.
Often people fail because they don’t set the right goals. Take some time to think about your goals and choose ones that make sense to you that you know will keep you motivated. Here are some basic principles that athletes use to set and achieve their goals.
1) Set precise goals
If you know your goal is to lose weight, try to be more specific by saying something like, I will reduce my body mass index to under 25 by eliminating chips and doing a 30-minute walking program 3 times a week. When your goals are clear and include timing and frequency, you set a plan in action and you know what you have to do in order to succeed. Goals also need to be flexible.
2) Create realistic but challenging goals
The most effective goals are challenging enough to keep you committed but realistic enough to be achievable. If your original goal is too easy, just adjust it a bit so you can continue to make progress with a realistic but challenging goal.
3) Establish short-term and long-term goals
In order to stay motivated, it’s essential to set short-term and long-term goals.. Athletes use this method to achieve smaller goals on their way to reaching their big or long-term goals. Achieving small successes along the way helps keep you motivated!
Focus more on your daily efforts and accomplishments, rather than on the result of those efforts, too far in the future.
4) Keep track of your goals
With so many interactive tracking devices available on the market, it’s now easier to track your progress and reach your goals. In fact, sport psychologists recommend athletes write down their goals and post those goals where they can be seen easily and often, as incentive. Some athletes keep a training logbook to track their progress and goals, others use activity tracking devices. When you see your goals and achievements every day or week, you get that quick reminder about why you’re doing what you’re doing and that helps keep you motivated.
5) Develop strategies to meet your goals
As mentioned above, your goals and how you achieve them need to be specific yet flexible. How do you do that? Consider what strategies you’ll use to meet your goals while still being able to adapt to life’s little surprises. For example, if you say you’ll reserve Saturday morning from 11 to 12 for your walking program, pencil in another day for when something comes up and interferes with your plans.
6) Remember to have fun
Practicing a physical activity that you enjoy is very important. Your motivation will stay high and the activity will give you satisfaction. During the Winter Games, why not take the opportunity to try a new sport? Look at the programming and see if there’s something that inspires you – the 2014 Olympic Games may just help you catch “the bug” for a particular sport.
Torch relay challenge
Help yourself stay inspired by the Olympics by getting your friends or colleagues involved! Organize a torch relay challenge: set a walking goal for you and your group to achieve before and during the Sochi Olympic Winter Games.
Ask for support!
Athletes don’t get to the Olympics on their own. They count on the support of a whole team. You can get support through our Fitness Coach Connects program. With a Fitness Coach and a Fitbit Zip™ wireless activity tracker, reaching your goals and staying motivated is a lot easier. The Fitbit Zip helps you integrate more physical activity into your life and keeps you on track so you can reach your goals. Just call 1 866 833-7690 to see if you qualify.
Gold medal: Celebrate your success!
It’s important to reward yourself for reaching the small, as well as the large fitness goals. Here are some ideas:
What do you do once you reach your goals? Do as athletes do: raise the bar (GRADUALLY!) and set yourself a new set of goals (and rewards).
Get inspired by the Olympic Winter Games and let 2014 be your year of being fit.
Maude Tessier, MSc Kinesiology and Fitness Coach at Shepell-fgi