5 Fun Fitness Goals for When You're Looking for a New Challenge

By , SparkPeople Blogger
This time of year, I enjoy reflecting over the past 12 months and thinking about what I'd like to do differently next year. But I'm not the type of person who sets resolutions. I do think goal setting is important and necessary, and that many of the things people strive for come January 1, are worthwhile. But to me, there is something very "serious" about New Year's resolutions that makes them different from other goals.

I liken resolutions to "going on a diet" and goals to "making small, healthy changes I can live with." One is serious, even restrictive and the other is less formal and more of an idea than a rule.

Similarly, I think too many people wait for the New Year when they could just start right now. What's wrong with eating better on January 30 or quitting smoking in November? Sure, you might feel less guilty about eating a plate of holiday cookies when you tell yourself "I'm starting over in January," but really, you're only doing a disservice to yourself in the meantime. Often, "resolution-ers" hype up their goals so much or set so many that they're unable to stick with them for very long. Maybe yours has been different, but that's been my experience at least.

So instead of setting lofty resolutions that I know I'm not going to stick with, I like to think about—even write down—some overall changes or goals that I'd like to strive for each year. And I like some of those changes to actually be FUN!

I don't necessarily do all of them at once or even start them on January 1, but I use it as a guide to keep improving and striving for something better throughout the year. Some are things that I stick with, like my goals of doing real "boy" pushups (instead of modified ones) and running more regularly. I not only mastered the pushups, but I also ran my first 5K last year! Neither of these goals required me to severely change my habits or overhaul my life—they were fun and laid back, and that's why I think I was successful in reaching them.

So whether you set your own resolutions or not, I propose that you add some sort of fun, adventurous or even ambitious fitness goals for 2009. You don't have to call them resolutions, and you don't have to go crazy to reach them. But it can break up the monotony of all the "usual" resolutions that you're aiming for and keep you motivated to stay fit. Here are a few fun fitness goals that you could strive for in 2009:

  • Do the splits. I know it seems crazy, but I hear people talk about this all the time! With regular stretching and maybe some yoga, this could be within reach for many adults.
  • Do real pushups. This was my goal last year and it was really motivating. Once I reached it, it was a real feeling of accomplishment. Already mastered pushups? Then train for another fitness feat, like pull-ups, the Pilates teaser or a yoga headstand!
  • Complete a 5K. Whether you run or walk, there is nothing like the experience of completing a race. Get a free training program!
  • Learn a fitness skill. Swimming, karate, self-defense, and boxing are all fun and potentially useful fitness pursuits. Join a class for adults to improve your skills and exercise at the same time.
  • Play in a sports league. A goal like playing soccer once a week can really break up your treadmill routine and remind you of years gone by. Find an adult sports league in your area and relive your youth sports dreams while getting exercise at the same time.

The point I'm trying to make is that no matter what you call them, goals and resolutions don't have to be all about drudgery. Let's make fitness fun again!

Do you have a fun, silly or adventurous fitness goal for 2009? Share it below!