Habits of Fit People: Set a Fun Fitness Goal

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By: , SparkPeople Blogger
12/4/2009 2:54 PM   :  187 comments   :  29,573 Views

You want to be a fit person, right? That's why I'm sharing my own habits for keeping fit and staying healthy in the ongoing Habits of Fit People series.

Here's one that works for me: Shooting for a fun fitness goal. So why does something like this matter?

Sure, exercise itself can be fun, especially when you really enjoy doing something so much that it doesn't even seem like a workout (for me, that's tennis). But to keep at it day after day, week after week, year after year…you see where I'm going here. Over time, what was once fun can seem monotonous and your motivation to exercise can drop faster than a skydiving elephant!

All of this changes when you set a fun fitness goal. I'm not talking about "exercise 5 times a week" either. Set a goal that inspires you to train so that you can reach it. This way, your desire to reach your fun fitness goal will motivate you to keep exercising consistently. So what kind of fitness goal is fun and motivating enough to help you stick with a workout routine?

In the past year, I've been setting goals related to running: To run my first 5K, to run a 5K faster, and to run a 10K under 55 minutes. After setting these goals, I set a deadline (signing up for the race) and made my goal public by sharing it with others. Even on days when I didn't want to work out or my warm bed was calling my name on a dreary morning, I remembered my goal, my timeline, and all the people whom I told about it. Setting these goals even helped transform running—an activity I once considered boring and dreadful—into something that I really enjoyed doing. This is what helped me get out of bed and onto the road to reaching my goal. I just ran my first 10K on Thanksgiving Day, but now that I've accomplished my goal, I need something new to reach for or else before I fall back into a workout rut.

Are you looking for a fun fitness goal to pursue? Here are some ideas:

Running: Train to run a mile, a 5K, 10K or longer race. If you've done one or more of those, train to beat your previous time in one of those events. Sign up for a race that allows you ample time to train based on your fitness level, and commit to your training schedule so that you'll be ready by race day! With races all over the world throughout the year, you're sure to find one that suits your needs. Visit active.com to find races in your area.

Cycling: Many cycling events and races are also available in a variety of distances. Or you could set a goal like biking to work three days a week for three months, for example.

Flexibility: I can't tell you how many women have told me that they wish they could do the splits! Who knew! Why not set a goal and work toward it? Who says every goal has to be practical? What's wrong with aiming for a good party skill? Other flexibility goals could be to touch your toes or master a specific yoga pose that requires greater practice, strength and flexibility.

Strength: You could try the 100 Pushups Challenge, set a bench press goal, master the pull-up, or enter a power-lifting contest. All of these will help you work out consistently and develop more strength. These are great goals if you tend to slack on your strength training.

Start a Streak: One of the best kinds of fitness goals is a streak. Can you exercise every day for at least 10 minutes this month? How many weeks or months could you continue your streak? Once you get going, it's hard to stop—especially if you track your progress.

Skill Development: I've never learned how to properly swim and one of my goals is to take adult swimming lessons someday. Maybe you want to learn how to play tennis or golf. These fitness pursuits and fun and fulfilling, and when you take lessons, you'll be inspired to keep practicing (i.e. exercising) to improve your skills. You could even enter a tournament as motivation to stick with your new sport. I love playing tennis, and wanting to improve my game inspires me to run faster and further during the week to build my speed and endurance on the court.

Whatever goal you choose, set a deadline and share your goal with others. These two keys cannot be overlooked! A timeline creates a sense of urgency so that if you slack off you might not meet your deadline. Telling others keeps you accountable; you'll think twice about giving up so that you can save face!

There really is nothing like setting a goal, working toward it and then accomplishing it. It gives meaning to your workouts, which can keep you motivated. On Thanksgiving Day, not only did I run my first 10K, but I also beat my goal time. Had I been running without this goal in mind, my workouts would have been aimless. I would have found plenty of excuses to stop early or not run at all on some days. But all of my hard work came to fruition when I crossed that finish line. Every single step I took in the weeks prior got me there. I'd be lying said that I didn't feel a little emotional about the whole thing. Really, I felt proud of myself! And I felt proud of every person who entered that race, too, as if we were all in it together. We should all get to experience this sense of pride and accomplishment. I felt like I could do anything I set my mind to! And when it was over, I had to ask myself, "What's next?"

I am ready to tackle the next goal that will lead to an even fitter me! I'm thinking about new goals that will help me build strength now that I've been focusing so much on endurance this past year. One hundred pushups, real pull-ups, or as Coach Nancy keeps insisting, a half marathon? Time will tell!

What fitness goal will you reach next? Make it public and tell us below!


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Comments

  • 187
    My goal is to RUN a 10k in the next couple weeks? Made it 5.1 a few days ago. Not bad for a over weight 48 year old that started training for running for the first time in my life 6 months ago.
    Next year? Half Marathon? Thinking about it. - 9/28/2014   10:56:39 AM
  • 186
    My goal for now is to be able to do a full zumba class on my wii. It's "easy" to complete a class with other people. Not so easy when it is just me and the wii. So far I have completed to full classes this week. I want to do this at least 5 times a week, for a month. - 5/29/2014   7:35:43 AM
  • 185
    With 168.5 pounds lost and over 1/2 way to my goal wt. I am finally able to exercise. I am exceeding my 10 minute per day streak, living with my knee issues and striving to be more flexible. Thank you SP !!! - 12/3/2013   11:41:25 AM
  • 184
    my goal is to exercise at least 10 mins a day when I visit my son for 2 weeks and to keep entering my food on sparkpeople for that 2 weeks. - 11/14/2013   10:35:22 PM
  • 183
    It's fate!! I was in a rut!! A couple of weeks ago, I was inspired by my daughter to do a 5K. I began the 5K your way walking program. Since then, I have begun a "10 minutes a day" streak ( on day 6 today) AND started training to do the perfect push-up! Pull -up's are next! I am super-motivated now!! - 7/22/2013   9:27:38 AM
  • 182
    I am very frustrated! I have fractured several vertebrae and am extremely limited in any activity. I eat healthy but not being active results in my being depressed! - 7/1/2013   12:11:39 PM
  • 181
    I want to walk 10000 steps everyday for the next month. This runs until the end of June. June 30th. I have recently procurred a FitBit and will do this to see what results it will bring. I have a few friends on my FitBit group and will post this there as well to make sure I accomplish this goal of mine. - 5/26/2013   8:28:00 AM
  • 180
    I am going to start working on my goal that I have had for a while. Run a 5k. Walk/jog to start, using SparkPeople program. I am aiming for February for the full run 5K. - 5/9/2013   11:16:48 AM
  • 179
    My goal is to run a mile by my birthday - 5/1/2013   6:39:08 AM
  • 178
    My goal is to become more flexible and to stay motivated. - 4/18/2013   10:16:18 AM
  • 177
    My goal to be more flexible. - 4/1/2013   5:54:39 AM
  • 176
    I want to walk a 5k. I have never done this. I want to reach this goal so I can then reach a running 5k goal. My ultimate goal is to run a half marathon with my husband who can run 8-9 miles three to four times a week. I am still working on the time frame! - 2/20/2013   2:11:21 PM
  • 175
    I've selected running 10miles and stretching 2x a week - 1/25/2013   7:36:51 PM
  • 174
    I'm running a marathon at Disney World a week from Sunday!!!

    I'm actually looking forward to being done training for it--it's hard to lose those last 10 lbs (that I've been battling for 3 yrs) and have enough energy to go running on the "hours" scale.

    I'm giving myself until Feb 1 to heal from the marathon, then I want to complete the Insanity series and work towards running a 5K in under 27 minutes (I've done one in 29 min, so that should be doable). - 1/2/2013   9:13:38 PM
  • 173
    Just found my comment here - my goal was to get to the club every day for at least 10 minutes on the treadmill. Well, am not getting there every day, but have been at least 5 days a week - and it is becoming so much easier. It is right near WalMart and Safeway - well, we do not have much choice here in Pendleton.

    Now am ready to start thinking about another goal.
    - 12/21/2012   12:57:26 PM
  • ALEXREVERIE
    172
    I absolutely love this article; it really resonates with me, because I have been my happiest when I am working toward a structured goal (doing a backbend with no assistance was my proudest achievement, and I worked my way up to it all on my own!). I do feel like goals, despite what zenhabits.com might say, are keys to fulfillment. Now I just have to work on setting social goals for myself so that I don't feel isolated in all my achieving... ;) - 11/27/2012   2:08:28 PM
  • 171
    My goal the past couple of weeks is to get to the club every day and do 10 minutes on the treadmill. The atmosphere there is so inviting and the staff is so encouraging. Have finished a couple of weeks with only one day missed.
    barb - 11/22/2012   2:33:01 PM
  • 170
    I committed to a walking 5k in November so that is what I am working on right now! Thanks for this Great Article. Saved to my Favorites so I can read it again in November~~ - 9/10/2011   8:29:30 PM
  • 169
    I love the idea of setting goals. I just started Water Zumba and my goal is to attend classes on all 4 days per week this summer. This is fabulous because I can still sleep in, get my work out fun early enough in the morning to have the rest of the day to enjoy my summer. It is a win-win situation plus this is something new and exciting. - 5/16/2011   6:37:44 PM
  • 168
    I enjoy hiking, but I've never had the stamina to hike to the summit of Mount Chauve (a small mountain in the area). My next fitness goal is to hike up Mount Chauve. - 3/1/2011   9:44:58 PM
  • 167
    I LOVE this concept! New goal-splits. It's been probably 10 years, but it won't take me long to be able to do them again. Maybe I should say "splits-both ways" to make it a little more work lol - 1/12/2011   10:26:01 AM
  • 166
    I like the idea of aiming for a Streak. Mine tend to be more 5 out of 7 days than every one, but it's still motivating & attainable. I won't be doing 100 push-ups or a marathon anytime soon, if ever. Picking something fun, motivating & a good fit for each individual is going to vary with each person.
    I finally started this weight loss program because I want to get back to being able to hike, Volkswalk, & show my dog. With short dogs, you need to be able to see 'em down there without...well...body parts obscuring the view. Being able to run even short distances helps too. I'm not as concerned with how I'll look; I just want to function better again! - 11/29/2010   3:39:17 AM
  • 165
    In about a month, sometime between June 13 and June 24 I'd like to climb Sunday Peak. It is in the Sequoia National Monument part of the NFS Greenhorn District. I don't know if this is reasonable with being over 300 pounds and having just started to build cardiovascular fitness. The top is about a mile and a half from the parking lot of my old Girl Scout Camp. I guess I could figure out the distance and incline and try to get to that point on the treadmill, but the elevation is about 7000 to start and over 8k at the top. I also don't know if my knees and ankles can handle the downhill stresses, as my right ankle is fused and my left knee is painful even on reletively mild hills. - 5/17/2010   10:18:48 PM
  • BAKHB1
    164
    So what kind of fitness goals do people make who are 60 yrs. old, overweight by 50 or more pounds and fighting post-menopauseconditions? I'm trying to eat healthy and swim but not much works in terms of losing pounds. Many of the suggestions here such as running or mastering the "pullup" or 100 push ups don't seem very realistic for Seniors or those with weight problems due to physiological reasons. It makes a person feel like such an outsider when reading these suggestions. Also, heat intolerance is a condition many elderly people suffer from. Suggestions? (Already doing the swim thing). Please don't forget about those of us who aren't 20, 30 or 40 yrs. old. We have special challenges but are still trying to do whatever we can to lose and become healthier. - 5/2/2010   8:25:12 AM
  • 163
    my goal is to become a person who looks like she has been in shape her whole life. I want muscular arms, hard abs, and smooth legs with no cellulite. - 4/4/2010   9:04:22 PM
  • GR8FLGRDNR
    162
    These are great. Not a runner, but I can find some other goals to work toward. Thanks for the inspiration. - 3/31/2010   3:13:56 PM
  • 161
    I would love to have a really awesome goal but right now I am just trying to make sure I find time to exercise a bit everyday and keep eating healthy. My life has gotten extremely busy with me taking four grad classes while teaching full time and taking care of my family. - 3/30/2010   6:59:21 PM
  • 160
    When I had a Girl Scout troop, I had them set goals all the time. It helped them to really see what it was they wanted and how to achieve those things they wanted. Worked every time. I'm a list maker. Not just grocery lists, but To-Do lists. I use them for my goals as well. I sometimes attach dates.

    Right now, my fitness goal is to work out at least 30 min/day for 5 days/week. More is better, but life and family happen, so 5 days seems reasonable. If I get in more than 5 days, I'm thrilled. I figure the weight loss will take care of itself as long as I'm working out as that's my problem....not working out. - 3/11/2010   9:20:11 AM
  • 159
    I've started a streak on 10k runners group - to do 2 miles each day - walking or running, so I'm at the end of my first week having done 10 miles. Not quite there, but at least 6 miles more than usual.
    I'm going to work towards doing a 5k faster - although it's in the back of my mind to do it, I've struggled with the motivation aspect, especially as the weather has been terrible recently. I'm off to update my spark page - thanks all - 3/7/2010   12:41:18 PM
  • 158
    I like the idea of starting a streak. My goal is to exercise at least 10 minutes every day for one month. - 3/6/2010   9:46:59 PM
  • LOREJAE
    157
    I am glad that there are others that have more than one goal set. There are a lot of things I want to accompolish, so am setting my short goals, for long term health and fitness. I lost my husband in March of 05, I knew I had to make changes in my life. I met a gentleman in 07, but, was not ready to date him or anyone, because in order to be ready for any relationship, I knew I had to get my life in order. In o8 we started dating and in June of 09 we got married, I am glad I took the time, and got my life in order. I am very happy now and my husband and I have joined the YMCA together, and I have started Yoga. Lorejae 03-04-2010 - 3/4/2010   8:53:56 PM
  • BECKYBEFIT
    156
    My goal is to run 4 miles in 45 minutes or less by the end of March. I hope my goal is realistic though; 42 minutes is my best 3.3 mile time. I know by "runners' standards" my times are still slow, but I've only been running for 3 weeks.

    To help me reach my goal, I'm running my first 5K in 7 years on St. Patrick's Day!! My best time (when I ran in high school) was 28:42. I would be happy with 33:42 but wonder if I can even make that!!

    Gotta start somewhere!! - 3/4/2010   12:55:07 PM
  • 155
    HI-- I met a great goal
    I can work out on my old FLYER- and STEPPER
    When I first got them I could not do 30 seconds----now I can do them daily for a total of 60 or more minutes!

    My new goal is to learn several line dances and take a vacation to the beach when I reach 190 and walk on the sandy beach!!!
    That is 17 pounds from now----DOABLE!!!!!!!!!!!!! :) - 3/4/2010   12:49:43 PM
  • 154
    The problem is staying motivated. I believe a workout buddies/support group is essential. - 3/4/2010   12:12:41 PM
  • 153
    I have never been good at setting deadlines as I feel like a failure if I don't reach them, but with that said March 1, 2010 I set a challenging goal for myself and that was to complete at least 30 days of the P90X. I figured 30 days was realistic at this time versus the 90 days - 3/4/2010   10:06:20 AM
  • 152
    I committed to run a 5K on May 15th at a public meeting, now I'm really committed.... - 3/4/2010   10:04:59 AM
  • 151
    Thanks for the article, I have started a goal to continue to exercise until my 52nd birthday this month. And then continue on after that. - 3/4/2010   9:39:28 AM
  • LOSSMYWAY
    150
    just love it. Thanks - 3/4/2010   7:20:01 AM
  • 149
    I want to walk up the stairs from ground floor to second floor without huffing, puffing, losing my breath! Now, less losing my breath but still feel like my legs too heavy to move on, haha - 3/4/2010   6:18:09 AM
  • 148
    I want to do it all! Okay, I'm a "type A". I already ran a 5k, but slowly. I think I'll work on that first (and maybe the pushups too ... and maybe the splits too ... ).

    It all sounds like fun! - 3/3/2010   10:19:38 PM
  • 147
    I'm going to learn to do the splits, and I'm taking the 100 pushups challenge to improve my upperbody strength. - 3/3/2010   9:20:29 PM
  • 146
    My goal is to do a "real" push up, so I will work on my upper body strength training. Then we'll see about the 100 push up challenge. - 3/3/2010   4:41:26 PM
  • SMILE75X
    145
    When I saw her doing the splits I instantly said I want to the splits. Even before I saw that it was one of the suggestions. I have never been able to them. I was always jealous of my long and lanky little sister who could do them. My new goal is to the splits before I die. I don't care if it takes me until I 90 (40-some years away), I will do them. - 3/3/2010   1:37:39 PM
  • 144
    I have signed up for my first 5K run/walk. It's been in the back of my mind since my brother did it. I started my running today. Didn't go as far as I would have liked, and in fact, have no idea how far I did go, but am looking right now at being able to lengthen the distance I can go at one time. Once I master my full course, then I will worry about how far it is...LOL! Once the weather gets better, I will begin using the track that's available. Two times around is a mile. I'm looking forward to daylight savings time so I can do more outside! LOL!! - 3/3/2010   1:19:03 PM
  • 143
    I want to start a streak to do any kind of exercise for any amount of time everyday. I know this will kick start my weight loss. - 3/3/2010   10:47:44 AM
  • MOLLIEKINS
    142
    I was in the varsity tennis team in high school - many, many years ago! But I remember the thrill of playing and returning hard hits. So I will aim for that - by enrolling in my community college CE tennis class which finishes with a competition. - 3/3/2010   10:38:16 AM
  • 141
    My goal is to run a mile, once around McKinley Park. - 3/3/2010   10:34:59 AM
  • 140
    I want to go rock climbing! I'd like to get strong and fit enough to learn how on an indoor rock wall at a gym I'd like to join when I save up enough money, then work my way up to an outdoor climb! - 3/3/2010   7:33:57 AM
  • 139
    OK...I'm thinking. I have never had an athletic day in my many, many years. I'll get back to you...cause it makes sense. You've written a very encouraging, pragmatic way to begin this part of my life...but I need time to think. I will be buying a bike this spring...that's a possibility and apparently, secretly...I've thought about golf before!!!!!! - 3/3/2010   6:29:54 AM
  • 138
    I'm glad I found this article...it's just what I needed!! I'm starting an exercise streak goal for now. I also want set a larger goal of getting back into mountain biking..maybe even enter a bike race!! - 3/1/2010   11:22:00 AM

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