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This is how you set fitness goals that you can actually achieve, according to top coaches

Fitness goals are important in several ways. They hold us accountable, expanding our definition of "possible" and encouraging us to enforce temporary complaints for longer lasting change. But figuring out how to set fitness goals that you really want to achieve can be part of art, part of science.

Mark DiSalvo NYC-certified strength and condition specialist, explains it this way: A good fitness goal can be "your north star when you have bad days," he says to SELF. In other words, a well thought-out and well-structured goal can give you the extra incentive to keep going when motivation wanes or when life gets in the way differently.

The problem is that this time of year it is easy to get caught up in the onslaught of New Year's resolutions and set goals that are too high, untenable and otherwise unrealistic. Then we do not reach them and feel worse than before. To avoid this negative downtrend, we asked DiSalvo and four other top coaches this year to share their advice on how to set fitness goals. Here are 1

1 of her tips to make a real, positive change.

. 1 Always focus on just one goal.

When it comes to setting a fitness goal, "one of the biggest mistakes people make is trying to do too much at once" Kellen Scantlebury DPT, certified strength and conditioning specialist and founder of Fit Club NY tells SELF. You may want to go to the gym every day to add sugar, and get at least eight hours of sleep per night. When you try to do so much at once, you basically just have to face failure. With so many things to do, "people become anxious, and if they do nothing, they feel like failures," says Scantlebury. This can lead to a negative soliloquy that reduces your chances of achieving any of goals.

Instead, pick one thing that you want to crush, for example: For example, perform a pull-up or complete the first step – each 5K – and direct your efforts to accomplish this before exploring another destination.

. 2 Do it yourself.

It can be easy to scroll through the "gram" and be inspired by images of the super-fit and yet feel jealous. However, it is neither productive nor practical to separate one's goals from what others achieve.

"When we get bombarded with pictures, what fitness should look like, and how we should do XYZ, it can be hard to figure out what's good," explains Tony Vidal, NYC, certified strength and conditioning specialist and master trainer with fitness app POPiN opposite SELF. Certain things top athletes can do – running marathons, doing 100 push-ups, mastering the most difficult yoga poses – "may be great for them, but it's not a measure anyone should measure," says Vidal. In other words, your goal should be – a goal that you personally can inspire and realistically achieve – and not someone else's.

. 3 Make it measurable, specific and time-bound.

If you have a measurable goal, you can track your progress, says Vidal. The more accurate your goal, the clearer the path to achieving that goal, adds DiSalvo.

For example, wanting to be "stronger" is a great starting point, but what does that mean for you? If you say that you want to increase the number of push-ups you can do, the target becomes measurable and if you want to run 20 push-ups in one minute, it is specific to . , In addition, the goal should be time-bound as it will help you focus your efforts, develop a more structured plan for achieving the goal, and generate a sense of urgency that can be motivating. Examples of measurable, specific, and time-bound targets include the ability to raise 10 repetitions at 50 pounds within three months, perform a 5km nonstop course by the end of the year, and pull-up by the summer. 19659023] A good way to remember this is to use the SMART method to make sure your goal is specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely. For more information on setting targets using the SMART method, see .

. 4 Set the bar low – at least first.

Speaking of Accessible: "Your goal should be relatively easy or within reach for what you're doing," Mike Clancy certified strength in NYC conditioning specialist, tells SELF. Why? If you think it's easy, you probably already have some mental obstacles that could hinder your progress, he explains. On the trust scale, you should be at 9 out of 10 if you believe you will actually achieve your goal. The less confident you are, the less likely you are to stick to the necessary steps, says Clancy.

In addition, achievable goals ensure that you begin important victories. "The more success you have on your fitness journey, the more you stick to it," adds Scantlebury. Early success is particularly important as it builds trust to achieve long-term results.

. 5 Play the long game.

We all want instant gratification, but it is important that you are realistic with the time frame that you develop to reach your goal, says DiSalvo. "Permanent changes take a while," he explains.

You know, "That you will never overhaul in a week," Scantlebury adds. Instead, choose a goal that can be reached over several months or even a year. A long-term mentality will help you see your goal as a change in lifestyle rather than a quick fix, and you will be more likely to stick to it.

. 6 Understand what drives your goal.

Sometimes fitness goals are caused by underlying fears, insecurities or body image problems – like running a marathon because you've been bullied in middle school gymnastics classes, or signing up for a CrossFit class ex once said about your weight – and it is important to address these issues rather than assuming that you will achieve your goal.

"Depending on what you want to achieve, it can arouse many emotions," says DiSalvo. If thinking about your goal causes fears and / or mental struggles, you should consult with a psychiatrist .

. 7 Be flexible in your definition of success.

While it's important to pin down your goal, it's also important that you give yourself permission to change it as you continue your fitness journey. Perhaps a goal that seemed appropriate at first sight is actually too difficult to sustain, or vice versa.

"If your definition of success is strict, it will be difficult to sustain it," says Vidal. Set Goals which will reach you and accomplish these if you better understand what you can do. Kollins Ezekh, Certified Personal Trainer, Group Fitness Expert and Program Director at Mayweather Boxing + Fitness tells SELF. There is nothing wrong with moving the goalposts as you will feel more comfortable with the abilities of your body.

. 8 Develop micro targets on the way to your big goal.

Within your larger goal, you should plan for smaller, trust-building goals that are achievable in less time. Suppose you want to cover a nine-minute mile. During training, you should reach a smaller goal, eg. Take half a mile in five minutes to see how much you've achieved and to assess where you are. "It's all about these small victories," explains DiSalvo. "You want to be able to mentally reward yourself." Also, waiting for a long time to feel that you have achieved something can lower your motivation and drive you completely off course.

In general, it's good To be able to set achievable micro targets every two to three weeks, Clancy suggests. This period of time can help you determine if you are realistic about a macro target and provide the opportunity to reduce things as needed.

. 9 Consider the input of a professional.

If you have difficulty assessing your current fitness status, determining a realistic goal, and / or just feeling overwhelmed, it may be helpful to consult an expert certified personal trainer. "A pro can help show you how realistic your goal is, and you can help put markers on the path so you can check in and confirm that you're on the right track over time," says Ezekh.

At Fit Fit Club in New York, for example, Scantlebury will ask customers about various factors that affect their lifestyle, including their history of fitness (for example, have they trained before? Are they a former athlete?) they have experience with lifting weights?), on their diet, their work and their health social history (for example, do they have a demanding, stressful job – do they go out frequently? etc). These questions can not be judged; they are understandable, explains Scantlebury. "Once we understand their lives, we can create a program that suits them."

In addition, Scantlebury conducts several athletic tests, including endurance tests and strength tests, to assess a person's baseline fitness status. Although you can ask yourself these questions and do fitness tests, it can be helpful if you are new to fitness.

10th Be honest with your past and present habits.

When you ask the hard questions, you can honestly judge what works best for you. Were you someone who has broken multiple fitness goals in the past and just wants to take it to the next level? If that's the case, you could probably tackle a more complex target, says DiSalvo, as if you were running a long-distance race at a certain pace.

However, if you're new to the gym, it's fine, and you might want to focus on simpler behavioral changes, such as going to the gym one day a week, says DiSalvo.

"If you want to see measurable progress, you have to be realistic about what you are doing right now," says Clancy. If your routine does not involve any form of exercise, it may not be the most practical or realistic goal, suddenly five days a week Gym.

In addition, it is helpful to think about what has prevented you from achieving goals in the past. For example, if you have a chronically difficult time in the morning, sign up for evening training courses instead of going to these 6 o'clock sessions. If you are honest with yourself, you can identify and eliminate barriers before you begin.

. 11 Plan a support system.

When you think about your purpose, you should also think about who in your life can encourage, motivate, and hold you accountable. Then enlist them if you need assistance. "If people you spend most of your time with support your goals, it will make a big difference," says Ezekh.

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