How to achieve your fitness goals

How to achieve your fitness goals

When the motivation runs dry, how can you ensure you'll stay determined to reach your goal? We've put together four proven ways to help you to stick to your plans, and ensure that you stay active all year.

A hand holding a tree diameter tape, measuring around a tree trunk.

1. Make your goals measurable and accountable

We’ve all been there. Recovering from New Year’s celebrations and rocking a pudding belly from one too many mince pies, it’s all too easy to simplify our ambitions for the year into broad labels like 'spend more time outdoors', ‘eat more healthily’, or ‘do more exercise’. 

The problem is, without making our goals measurable, we’re unable to clearly identify our ideal end results, track our progress, or hold ourselves accountable.

Instead, if you are serious about your ambitions, set yourself one broad goal, and several mini-goals along the way. This means you’ll know that you’re on track, and will get that extra satisfaction for hitting each milestone along the way. 

One benefit of quantifying your goals is that you’ll be able to see where you should be on your journey to success. If you start straying from the path, you’ll be able to recognise it more quickly and readjust. Also this should allow you to commit to events and challenges in advance, giving you a reason for continuing when you’d rather give up.

For example, if your goal is to run a half marathon in December, book yourself onto a 10k run halfway through your training. There's a brilliant 10km at Westonbirt Arboretum, or if you're feeling brave try the Kielder Marathons!

Off-road running event in the Forest

2. Challenge yourself along the way

adults on a run on a woodland trail

3. Give yourself the support that you need to succeed

Often the reason for failing to achieve your New Year’s resolutions is down to a lack of support in place to guide you through the challenge.

When motivation begins to run dry (and it definitely will) having friends or guides around you to hold you accountable and push you can make all the difference.

Before you reach that stage, we suggest joining a club or group, signing up for a support programme or finding someone you know with similar aims to hold you accountable. Why not try reaching out to a friend and trying a parkrun? parkruns are free weekly 5km timed events which take place across the country every Saturday. They are open to runners of all ages and all abilities at many of our most popular forests.

In the first few weeks after committing to behaviour change, you’ll be most aware of the things you’re sacrificing in order to achieve your goals. You’ll likely have internal conflict between what you want to achieve and what you like doing already, but at this point it’s important to clearly identify your distractions, and address them head on.

If, for example, you’re finding that you’re missing your favourite TV show because you’re out on a run, weigh up which you think you’ll look back on with more pride. And of course, be honest about the fact you can watch it on catch up at another time!

If there’s a distraction which you identify as something you truly cannot live without, try using it as a reward mechanism for achieving your mini-goals. By consciously addressing your distractions, you’ll go a lot further to achieving your longer-term goals.

tea and coffee enjoyed at a forest cafe

4. Identify your distractions

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