Goal-Setting for Health and Fitness

After a firm understanding of how to achieve health and fitness is attained, one must then progress to being able to translate that understanding into a plan of action by setting and achieving goals.  The following are a few goal-setting guidelines.

1. The goal must be specific and objective.

There is no way around this.  An ambiguous goal will always stay an ethereal concept that cannot be tangibly reached.  As a result, you can never truly tell if you have achieved it or not.  Your goal must be something that a hundred people can look at and all agree that it has been done.  This means that “get in better shape”, while admirable, is too vague to be of much use.  However, “lose three inches around my waist” is specific and objective.  Every person who sees that you wrote in your journal that your waist was 40 inches in January and now it’s 37 inches in April can see that you have actually lost three inches around your waist.

This also means that in order to understand if you have truly achieved your goal, you must be making some sort of record.  Measuring your waist and writing it down on your calendar/journal/computer will only take a few minutes.  Find a way to be sure that you know what you want to achieve and that you can measure how far you’ve come in an objective manner.

2. The goal must be realistic.

Unfortunately, marketers of many health products tell us that if we don’t lose twenty pounds in the first month, we’re doing something wrong.  The truth of the matter is that according to Mayo Clinic and the AND, a weight loss of one to two pounds a week is optimal.  This is because you have to burn 3,500 calories in order to burn a pound of fat.  That means that in order to lose one pound of fat a week, you have to somehow be burning 500 calories more per day than you eat.  So, if you do the math, that’s 1,000 calories per day if you want to lose two pounds of fat in a week.  If any weight is lost in excess of that, it’s likely to be carbohydrate stores in the body, water weight, or muscle mass.  Because of that, any attempt at weight loss should never exceed two pounds of fat loss per week. Continue reading

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