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Fitness Goals for Beginners

The year 2022 is OVER (👀) and 2023 is here. The new year marks the time most people make new fitness goals and I doubt you and I are any different. But, if you’re a beginner then deciding what a SMART fitness goal looks like for you can be difficult. That’s why I’m here to break ‘fitness goals for beginners’ down into easy and inspiring steps.

What are SMART Fitness Goals for Beginners?

The acronym ‘SMART’ is the best friend of any fitness goal for beginners. SMART stands for – specific, measurable, achieveable, realistic/relevant and time-bound. It may sound complicated at first but it isn’t. You’re just setting a specific goal that you will realistically be able to work towards and achieve, within a set period of time.

An example of a simple SMART goal for a beginner looking to start running could be, “I want to run 5km, without stopping, by the start of March 2023“. They could then develop it further to say, “I will achieve this by running 3 days a week. Starting off with walk/runs in Week 1 and working towards running 2 miles non-stop by the start of Feburary 2023. I will then continue until I am running 5km without stopping by the start of March 2023“.

The below will help you start writing your own SMART fitness goal!

1) What do you want to achieve?

This will cover the specific and realistic/relevant sections. Basically, you need to answer the ‘what’ and ‘why’ questions. What do you want to achieve with your fitness goal and why do you want to do it?

Start off generally. Do you want to increase your cardiovascular endurance? Increase your strength? Be more flexible?

Then think about why. Do you want to do this because you’ve signed up for an event? Want to feel stronger? Want to feel happier?

Then, really drill down and be specific. Write exactly what you want to achieve. For example, “I want to be able to do an unassisted bodyweight push-up. This is because I have wanted to be able to do one for ages and it will make me feel stronger.

2) When do you want to achieve your fitness goal by?

This covers the measurable and time-bound sections. Similar to before, you need to answer the ‘when’ and ‘how’ questions. When do you want to achieve your fitness goal by and how are you going to do it?

Think about your lifestyle. You don’t need to dedicate your whole life to be able to achieve a fitness goal but you do need to be realistic. How much time in your week do you have to dedicate to this? Do you have any barriers (medical conditions, accessibility, cost etc)? Have I done anything similar before?

Reflecting on this will help you in deciding when it is realistic for you to achieve your fitness goal by. And, don’t worry about potentially needing to change this in the future – that’s okay!

Once you have your end date, you then need to work backwards and decide exactly how you’re going to achieve your goal. Basically, you’re breaking your big goal down into smaller goals to help you measure your progress.

This may look like, “I will do an unassisted bodyweight push-up by the end of Feburary 2023. I will achieve this by doing elevated push-ups (on a wall or stair). Once I can do 3 sets of 8 reps, I will move to knee assisted push-ups. At the start of Feburary, I will then pair this with negative push-ups (doing the down motion but not the push up motion). I will continue this whilst trying unassisted push-up until I can do one.”

3) Time to review – is your goal achievable?

When you combine your work from the sections above, you should now have your SMART fitness goal! But, is it really achieveable for you? Take time to look back and reflect. Setting unrealistic and unachieveable goals can hinder your motivation and long-term progress. This is even more important when it comes to fitness goals for beginners.

4) Get started!

Finally, it is time to start working towards your SMART fitness goal! Make sure you continue to review and re-visit your goal whilst your progress. It is 100% okay to be flexible – things unexpectandly change in life! Just try to ensure that you keep a positive mindset and ensure your goal is supporting that.

Good luck on your 2023 SMART fitness goals!

Me standing at the gym with my arm up in the air enthusiastically.

Looking to read more about motivation? Check out my “The Science Behind Motivation” series!

Got a question? Feel free to leave it below or come over to my Twitch stream and ask away!

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