One of my "50 Biggest Fitness Mistakes Beginners Make," not having clearly defined goals can be detrimental to your success. The biggest benefit of creating goals for yourself is that it gives you something to strive for, and ultimately, keep you motivated. When you first embark on your fitness journey, you have to ask yourself "what do I want to achieve?"
Setting clearly defined goals will in turn, allow you to have a plan of action to achieve them! If you do not have a goal (or several goals) before you enter the wonderful world of fitness, you are more likely to aimlessly plot along, just instinctively doing whatever comes to mind at the time. Now I will say, instinctive training has it's place, and I use it often; but I have been weight training for almost 20 years, so I have a solid foundation of experience and vast knowledge to be able to do this. I believe there is no place for instinctive training for a beginner.
As previously stated, I feel that the biggest benefit of setting goals is the motivation factor. In order to keep yourself motivated, (and trust me, you WILL lose motivation from time to time) it is best to set both short AND long term goals for yourself.
Think out of the box; these goals do not need to be strictly number oriented i.e., losing/gaining weight, lifting more weight, more reps, etc. Get creative based on what you hope to achieve. Maybe you want to be able to run a 5K within 3 months. Maybe you want to improve your resting heart rate, or go from 1 workout a week to 3 or 4! Maybe you want to be able to hike up a local mountain (sorry my Florida peeps, I know, I know..) without keeling over, near death!
Whatever your goals may be, it is important to define them, and then create a plan to accomplish them. Setting short term goals (meaning a goal you want to reach say, every 8-12 weeks) will hold you accountable week by week. Hopefully, if you can stay on track with your short term goals, you will ultimately reach your long term goals (goals that may take a year or so to accomplish). Lastly, and probably most important, is to write your goals and your plan of action down! This way, it is not just an idea in your head, but something tangible you can look at and have as a daily reminder.
Enjoy the journey, and train hard!
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